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Becoming a Dutch national

A foreign national can acquire Dutch nationality through naturalisation if he or she has been a lawful permanent resident in the Netherlands for five years. Alternatively, it is possible to become a Dutch national by means of the option procedure, intended for people with Dutch roots who do not have a Dutch passport.


After five years of lawful residence in the Netherlands, a foreign national can apply for naturalisation in order to acquire Dutch nationality.

For foreign nationals who are married or have cohabited with a Dutch national, the qualifying period is three years. This is conditional on having passed the civic integration examination.

In order to qualify for naturalisation, applicants must give up their original nationality, unless this is not permitted by their own nationality legislation or they are married for three years to a person with Dutch nationality at the time of the application.

  • In 2016, 23,190 applications for naturalisation to become Dutch national were filed. In total 97% of these applications were granted.
  • In 2015 the numbers were as follows: 25,450 applications filed of which 96% were granted.

Option procedure

In the option procedure, the foreign national does not need to pass a civic integration exam or surrender his or her original nationality. The option procedure is open to a wide range of groups of foreign nationals. What they all have in common is the fact that they have built up long-term connections with the Netherlands. 

‘Latent Dutch nationals’

A specific group that is eligible for the option procedure involves people born before 1985 of a Dutch mother and a father who is a foreign national. Many such people do not have Dutch nationality, because it was not possible for the mother to pass on Dutch nationality to her child at that time. Since 1 October 2010, it has also been possible for latent Dutch nationals to acquire Dutch nationality by means of the option procedure. Please call or e-mail us for further information.

Top-level athletes and Queen Maxima

Occasionally, exemption from the conditions for naturalisation is granted. The law refers to ‘highly exceptional cases’, which means that important Dutch interests are served by departing from the rules.

Examples might include a top-level athlete granted a passport more quickly in order to enable him or her to play for the national team, rather than waiting for five years. Queen Maxima also acquired Dutch nationality in this way in the space of a year. 

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