The Netherlands is a country that does not welcome dual citizenship. The official explanation is that the rights and duties of Dutch citizens, subjects of King Willem-Alexander, may conflict with the rights and duties of a citizen of another country. To avoid such a development, the Dutch government tries to limit the number of instances where people have dual citizenship.
However, they are not as rare as they may seem. Read on to find out how you can obtain Dutch citizenship without renouncing other citizenships.
- Dual Citizenship in the Netherlands
- Who Can Keep Their Original Citizenship
- Dual Citizenship in Other Countries
- Declaration of Intent
- Renouncing Dual Citizenship: How and When
- List of the documents required for naturalisation in the Netherlands
- Who Is Eligible for Dutch Citizenship Through Naturalisation
Dual Citizenship in the Netherlands
The general rule states that Dutch citizens may not be the citizens of any other countries. In other words, expats who decide to naturalise in the country must renounce all other citizenships. You can only obtain a Dutch passport with the coat of arms of the Netherlands with a burgundy cover after submitting a document confirming that you are not a citizen of any other States.
Moreover, even if you are already naturalised, you may lose your Dutch passport if it transpires at some point that you have not done enough to renounce your citizenship of other countries.
However, Dutch laws stipulate a number of exceptions which allow you to have dual citizenship.
Papiermolensluis, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo: Ansgar Scheffold (Unsplash)
Who Can Keep Their Original Citizenship
You are not required to renounce your citizenship of another country if:
- you are aged under 16. You can have dual citizenship if permitted by the laws of your home country and if one of your parents obtains Dutch citizenship.
- you obtain Dutch citizenship after marrying a Dutch citizen (or registering your civil relationship).
- you were born in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao or St. Maarten (the last three are island States in the Caribbean and are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and you live there when you file the application.
- you will have to pay a disproportionately large amount of money to renounce your original citizenship. In this case, you must provide a supporting document.
- if you renounce your citizenship, you will forfeit essential rights that will result in significant financial losses (for example, you will not be eligible for inheritance). This also requires proof.
- you must do military service to get the right to renounce citizenship.
- there is a compelling reason why you cannot contact the authorities in your home country or there are other circumstances which mean that you are unable to renounce your citizenship..
- you have a passport of a country that the Netherlands does not officially recognise.
- you received refugee status in the Netherlands.
Wilhelminakade, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Photo: Gerard Lakerveld (Unsplash)
Dual Citizenship in Other Countries
In addition, people who automatically lose their original citizenship on obtaining a Dutch passport do not have to renounce their nationality. For example, this concerns Indian, Chinese, and Japanese citizens. They must notify the authorities of their homeland that they have acquired a new citizenship. Meanwhile, US and British citizens have to renounce their original citizenship through a special procedure.
Some countries only allow its citizens to renounce their citizenship after they naturalise in another country. In this case, naturalised Dutch citizens must hand in their old passport retrospectively. If the law of your home country forbids renouncing citizenship, then such an option is ruled out.
Declaration of Intent
Applicants not covered by any of the above categories must declare their intention to give up their current nationality. They must submit a declaration of intent to the local municipality at the same time as the filing of an application. This document confirms that you are willing to renounce any other citizenships once you become a Dutch citizen.
Although children come of age at 18 in the Netherlands, even 16-year old or 17-year-old applicants must sign the declaration.
Please note! If you believe that you do not have to renounce your previous citizenship, then you should not sign the declaration. On the contrary, you must do the complete opposite and notify the authorities that you can and want to keep your original passport. Once you sign the declaration, you have to give up citizenship even if you are covered by one of the exception categories.
Utrecht, Netherlands. Photo: Martin Woortman (Unsplash)
Renouncing Dual Citizenship: How and When
It is up to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service to decide whether to let you keep dual citizenship or not. If it considers the grounds for the exception to be insufficient and denies your application for dual citizenship, you will have to sign a declaration of intent. There is no point requesting an exception after becoming a Dutch citizen.
When your application is being processed, you will receive a letter reminding you to renounce any other citizenships. Afterwards, you will have to launch the renunciation procedure and send a document confirming this fact to the Immigration Service within three months. As a rule, you can apply for the renunciation of your citizenship in the Netherlands or Belgium.
If your request for renunciation of citizenship is granted quickly, you can send a statement confirming this fact to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service immediately. In any case, you will have to show it to the Dutch authorities when it is ready.
If the statement is drafted in a foreign language, translate it into Dutch, English, French or German and certify it. This also applies to any other documents that you include in your application to the local municipality.
List of the documents required for naturalisation in the Netherlands
- valid passport or other ID;
- birth certificate;
- residency permit (not required in the case of EU and Swiss citizens);
- certificate confirming that you have passed the integration exam.
Please note that you may need to submit other documents, for example, a marriage certificate, if required in your specific case.
The Hague, Netherlands. Photo: Alireza Parpaei (Unsplash)
Who Is Eligible for Dutch Citizenship Through Naturalisation
To naturalise in the Netherlands, you need
- to have lived in the country for at least five years;
- to have a valid residency permit which was extended on time;
- to pass the Dutch language exam and an integration exam which checks how well you know local society;
- to have no criminal record.
In some cases, it is enough to have lived in the Netherlands continuously for two or three years instead of five. In addition, some people can apply for Dutch citizenship from abroad. This works for anyone who used to have a Dutch passport or people who have been married to a Dutch citizen for at least three years.
In a Nutshell
The Netherlands prohibits dual citizenship, However, unlike Japan or China, there are a few exceptions. If you have valid reasons for not renouncing your original citizenship, the Dutch authorities will treat this fact with understanding. The good news is that people who naturalise through marriage to a Dutch citizen do not have to renounce their original citizenship.
Cover photo: Amsterdam, Netherlands. Max van den Oetelaar (Unsplash)