The Dutch House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Dutch Citizenship Act on 28 June 2016 extending the term for naturalisation from 5 to 7 years.  This means that Dutch citizenship can only be obtained after 7 or more years of continuous legal residency in the Netherlands.

Due to a transitional arrangement for persons who are currently residing in the Netherlands, this amendment does not apply to applicants who have legally stayed in the Netherlands for 3 years at the time that the amendment becomes effective. They may still apply for Dutch citizenship after 5 years of legal and uninterrupted stay.

The amendment to the Dutch Citizenship Act also contains other changes, most noteworthy:

  • Spouses of Dutch nationals can obtain Dutch citizenship after three years of marriage and three years of legal residency in the Netherlands. This means that it is no longer possible to apply for naturalisatoin while living abroad.
  • All applicants, 12 years and older will need to show that they have no criminal record. Currently, this is only obligatory for applicants from 16 years of age.
  • Dutch citizens will lose their Dutch nationality if they fail to apply for a new Dutch passport within 15 years after receiving their last Dutch passport. Currently, the loss term is 10 years.
  • Former Dutch citizens who have lost their Dutch passport due to the fact that they did not apply for a new passport within 10 years after receiving their last Dutch passport, can recover this by applying for Dutch citizenship via the option procedure. This amendment is only applicable to people who have lost their Dutch nationality after 1 April 2013 and before the proposed amendments come into effect, due to the 10 year loss term. This option will be valid for one year after the proposed amendments come into effect.

The amendments have not taken effect yet as they still have to be approved by the Dutch Senate. If you have any questions on how the proposed changes may affect your situation, please contact one our immigration specialists at lawyers@devreede-law.nl.