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Become a TopDutch Citizen

You are TopDutch. But sometimes people decide to make it official. There are a lot of reasons for applying for a Dutch citizenship, and a few ways of getting there. Below you can find an overview of the procedure.

When do you need a Dutch passport?

There are a lot of reasons you might want Dutch citizenship. Maybe you’ve lived here most of your life and feel more Dutch than your official nationality? Maybe you’re married or have kids with a Dutch citizen and want to have the same citizenship as your family? Maybe you want the practical benefits that come with Dutch citizenship such as being able to vote in Dutch elections, being a member of the EU, unlimited right to live, work and study, or visa free travel to 171 countries. Whatever reason you choose, there are three routes of application, depending on your circumstances. 

How can you get a Dutch passport?

There are three main ways of acquiring Dutch citizenship:

  • Naturalisation (naturalisatie): After living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for 5 uninterrupted years, plus other conditions. 
  • Option (optieprocedure): After living continuously in the Netherlands since birth or as a young child, plus other conditions.
  • By birth rights/ law (van rechtswege): Born to, and acknowledged by, Dutch parent(s) or adopted by Dutch parent(s), under most circumstances. 


The most likely method for expats is through naturalisation. You can apply for naturalisation regardless of your current nationality, however there are certain requirements:

  • You must be over the age of 18.
  • You must have lived continuously in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 5 years (with some exceptions, see below). All of the past five years, plus the time it takes to process the application and confirm your new nationality, you have been holding a valid Dutch residence permit.
  • You’ve proved your linguistic and cultural integration through such exams as the civic integration exams or staatsexamen NT-2.
  • You are not currently involved in any criminal procedures here or abroad, nor have you been found guilty of a crime, here or abroad, in the past five years.

Exceptions to the five year time period:

  • If you have been married to a Dutch citizen for three years, and lived with them continuously for that period. If you were living together in the Kingdom of the Netherlands before you were married, you may also count those years towards the three years of marriage. If you were living together outside of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, only the time you have been living together whilst married counts.
  • If you are officially stateless (e.g. an official refugee) you can apply for Dutch citizenship after three years.
  • If you previously held a Dutch citizenship, you can apply straight away; either through option or naturalisation.
  • If you have lived in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for over 10 years, and the past two years uninterrupted, you may apply at the end of these two years.
  • Other chances can be found in the website of the IND.


Essentially, for those who were born without a Dutch citizenship, but were born and/or raised as Dutch. For example, if you were born in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but as a foreign national, and have been living in the Netherlands for your whole life. Full details can be found on the website of the IND

Birth rights

There are three types of qualifiers for citizenship by law. Those born before 1st January 1985 to a Dutch father, those born after the 31st of December 1984 to a Dutch mother or father, and minors adopted by Dutch citizen(s). If you fulfil these, you are automatically considered a Dutch citizen, however if you want a Dutch passport you will have to apply for one of these.

Renouncing your current nationality

Generally, if you want to apply for Dutch citizenship in any way, you must renounce your current nationality, meaning you cannot have dual citizenship. There are some exceptions to this, for example if you have gained Dutch citizenship through marriage, or if you can prove that it would be impossible or very difficult/ costly for you to renounce your current nationality. You can check the full exceptions on the website of the IND.

How do you apply for a Dutch passport?

Generally, regardless of the type of application, you must apply for citizenship through the multiplicity with which you are registered. The only exception to this is if you are applying for a passport through birth rights and you are currently living abroad; in that case you can apply through the Dutch embassy in your country. The forms for application are only available at the multiplicity/ embassy, so you can fill them out there. You also must sign a document to state that you intend to renounce your current nationality (if applicable) and that you will make the statement of allegiance. 

Time frame
Applications for naturalisation can take up to a year.
Applications for option can take up to 13 weeks. 

What if you don't want Dutch citizenship?

If you love the TopDutch region, want to stay here, but do not want to renounce your current nationality, you can instead apply for permanent residence. There are three types of permanent residence: two for non-EU citizens and one for EU citizens.

Permanent Resident EU
For those EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who have lived in the Netherlands for at least 5 years, including at least one where you have been working or you can prove you have sufficient funds. Full details can be found here. This process can be done online, with your DigiD, or by post and costs €57.

Permanent Resident Non-EU
For non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who have lived continuously for 5 years in the Netherlands, have a valid residence permit, have passed a civic integration exam and can prove sufficient funds. This process can be done online, with your DigiD, or by post and costs €171. You can find the details here.

Long-Term Resident EC
This is similar to a permanent resident non-EU, however, it also makes applications to reside in other EU countries that have the same scheme easier. The costs are the same as permanent resident non-EU, €171, however can only be done by post, and can take longer: up to 6 months. You can find the details here.

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