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Becoming a Dutch citizen: naturalisation for foreign spouses of Dutch nationals

Spouses or registered partners of Dutch nationals do not have to live in the Netherlands to obtain Dutch nationality. Under certain conditions, they can obtain Dutch nationality by applying to the Dutch embassy or consulate in their country of residence. The conditions are explained below.

Three years of marriage and three years of cohabitation with a Dutch national

Naturalisation from abroad is possible if, prior to the application, the applicant has been married continuously for three years and has lived with a Dutch national continuously for three years. This also applies to registered partners of Dutch nationals.

Unmarried partners of Dutch nationals

Unmarried partners of Dutch nationals cannot naturalise as Dutch citizens from abroad. They can only qualify for Dutch nationality in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (i.e. the European part of the Netherlands) after three years of unmarried cohabitation.

However, a period of unmarried cohabitation within the Kingdom immediately prior to the marriage may be taken into account when calculating the three years. For example, if the applicant first lives together unmarried in the Netherlands, then marries and moves abroad, the period of unmarried cohabitation can be counted.

Three years of cohabitation

Three years of cohabitation must be demonstrated by registration in the population register of the country of cohabitation. If the country does not have a population register, cohabitation may be demonstrated with other evidence. Our attorneys are happy to advise you on what evidence might be sufficient in that case.

Dutch nationality of spouse

The applicant's spouse or registered partner is not required to have been a Dutch national for three years. It is sufficient for the spouse or registered partner to be a Dutch national at the time of the application.

Domiciled outside country of nationality

Naturalisation from abroad is only possible if the applicant is not domiciled in the country of their nationality.

Civic integration

Naturalisation from abroad also requires civic integration. This means that the applicant must have passed the civic integration exam before submitting the application.

Fictive test

When submitting an application for naturalisation as a Dutch national from abroad, an assessment is made as to whether the applicant could qualify for non-temporary right of residence in the Netherlands. This is called the "fictive test".

For spouses or registered partners of Dutch nationals, this means that an assessment will be made as to whether the Dutch spouse or registered partner has sufficient means of subsistence. This means that, in principle, the Dutch national must have an employment contract which is still valid for at least one year at the time of application, but there are numerous exceptions to this rule. Our attorneys are happy to advise you on the possibilities.

General conditions

The applicant must meet all the conditions for obtaining Dutch nationality at the time of application until the decision has been made, not only at the time of application.

The application must state that the applicant is prepared to make a declaration of commitment. After Dutch nationality has been granted, the declaration of commitment must be made in a ceremony.

Lastly, the applicant must not constitute a threat to public order. In other words, they may not have committed any crimes in the five years preceding the application, nor may there be any serious suspicion at the time of application that they have committed a crime which may still be sanctioned.

Dual nationality

Spouses and registered partners of Dutch nationals do not have to renounce their original nationality when obtaining Dutch nationality.

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