Jelle Kroes about the accelerated naturalization procedure of the Israeli Ofir Engel to become Netherlands national
The Israeli young man (18 years old) Ofir Engel has been taken hostage and kidnapped by Hamas and taken to the Gaza Strip. He is being held there as a hostage. The Netherlands government granted Ofir Engel Dutch citizenship (Netherlands nationality) shortly after his kidnapping. While he did not in any way meet the ‘regular’ conditions for becoming a Dutch national. Jelle Kroes, as an expert in this field of law, is asked by the NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands national newspaper) how this is possible, and whether the Netherlands Nationality Act has this option.
The Netherlands Nationality Act indeed offers, as Jelle Kroes indicates, the possibility to naturalize foreigners as Dutch nationals in exceptional situations through an accelerated ‘emergency’ procedure. The regular time-consuming naturalization procedures are put aside. In the words of Jelle Kroes: “in these exceptional situations, interests prevail that take precedence over maintaining the legal conditions for naturalization”.
This ‘ accelerated procedure’ is also widely used for top athletes. In this way, the top athlete can quickly participate as a Dutch citizen in major international tournaments, such as the world championships or the Olympic Games. Queen Maxima was also naturalized to Dutch national within 8 days via this accelerated procedure.In the situation of Ofir Engel, it was probably decided to apply the accelerated procedure to grant the Netherlands nationality to him, because hostages with dual nationality have a greater chance of being released by Hamas.
Read the article in the newspaper NRC Handelsblad here about the accelerated naturalization to Dutch national of Ofir Engel (paywall).
Kroes Advocaten Immigration Lawyers has assisted many clients in obtaining a Dutch passport. Either via the naturalization procedure to become Netherlands (Dutch) national, or via the option procedure to obtain Netherlands (Dutch) citizenship.