Regaining Dutch Citizenship
Have you lost your Dutch citizenship without intending to do so? The good news: it is possible to regain your citizenship. Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh is an Israeli law firm specializing in acquiring and regaining Dutch citizenship. In this article we explain how you and under which conditions can you get your Netherlands citizenship back.
If you wish to regain your Dutch citizenship, two different procedures may apply; naturalization or the “option procedure”. Which procedure is relevant depends on your personal circumstances. Either one may only apply if you’ve once held and lost a Dutch citizenship.
Both procedures are explained below. The term “minor” refers to someone below age 18, not married and is not in a registered partnership. The terms ‘the Netherlands’ or ‘Holland’ refers to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands, the BES-islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), and the islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.
Conditions applying naturalization and option procedure
Several conditions apply to both the naturalization and option procedure. You are only eligible for both procedures, if:
- You are 18 or older.
- You are not married to more than one spouse at the same time.
- You have a record completely free of offenses over the past five years; a so-called “rehabilitation term” during which you had no pending criminal charges, were not sentenced to prison, community service, special training, or to pay a high fine, whether in the Netherlands, or abroad. The duration of the prison sentence or training or community service order does not matter. A “high fine” is defined as a fine above € 810, or multiple lower fines with a total of over € 1215.
- You may have to renounce your current citizenship. This depends not only on Dutch law, but also law of the country where you hold citizenship. In short, you may either 1) Automatically lose your own citizenship upon receiving Dutch nationality; 2) Be exempt from renouncing your citizenship because your country does not allow citizens to renounce its citizenship; or 3) Renounce your citizenship in order to receive Dutch citizenship. For country-specific policies, please refer to: https://ind.nl/Paginas/Landenlijst-behoud-nationaliteit.aspx
- You must declare your allegiance to the Netherlands in a “naturalization ceremony”, which is organized by your local Netherlands municipality. You receive an invitation for this ceremony after the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) had reviewed your case and decided to grant you Dutch citizenship. This ceremony is mandatory and will be the final step of the naturalization or option procedure.
Naturalization procedure – specific conditions
As a former Dutch citizen, you may regain your Dutch citizenship through the naturalization procedure if these specific conditions are met, in addition to the general conditions described above:
- The naturalization procedure is open to all former Dutch citizens who were legal citizens of the Netherlands with a non-temporary residence permit for at least one year.
- You must reside in the Netherlands, not in the country of which you are a national, and have a Dutch residence permit for a non-temporary purpose. If you do not have a Dutch residence permit for a non-temporary purpose, you must the meet the conditions for such a residence permit. Residence permit for non-temporary purposes allows you to live in the Netherlands for an unlimited period; for instance, living with a family member or paid employment.
- You are sufficiently integrated, meaning that you can read, write and speak Dutch. You must prove this by means of passing the civic integration exam. There are numerous cases in which you are exempt from taking the exam; for instance if you received a diploma of higher education in Dutch, or if you have lived in Holland for at least 8 years during compulsory school age.
Option procedure – Specific conditions
As a former Dutch citizen, you may regain your Dutch citizenship through the “option procedure” if you reside in the Netherlands, and have a Dutch residence permit for a non-temporary purpose for at least one year.
Regaining Dutch citizenship – minor children
If you are a parent of minor children, your children may also receive Dutch citizenship through the option or naturalization procedure you applied to. In general, children under the age of 12 who are included in the application procedure will receive Dutch nationality, provided that neither of the parents objects. Children aged 12 until 16 who are included in the application will be asked if they wish to receive Dutch nationality. Children aged 16 and above who are included in the application will have to decide themselves if they wish to receive Dutch nationality. If there is disagreement between the child and one or both of the parents, the Dutch government will rule whether the child will receive Dutch nationality.
The application process
The IND will handle your application for the naturalization or option procedure. However, you must apply for either procedure at the municipality where you are residing. You will be asked to pay application fees, with naturalization being the more costly procedure (€ 901 for one person) as compared to the option procedure (€ 191 for one person). The naturalization procedure will take approximately one year, whereas the option procedure takes approximately 3 months.
Regaining your Dutch citizenship may be a lengthy process for which you have to hand in numerous documents, but it is possible. Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh is an Israeli law firm that has a great deal of experience in immigration to Holland and regaining Dutch citizenship. We are here to help you review which procedure applies to you and we will guide you in every step. Contact attorney Joshua Pex in Jerusalem / Tel Aviv for assistance:
: 03-3724722, 055-9781688