|April 1 2013: the Dutch Nationality Act has a birthday!|
16 October 2012 Last Saturday morning, Hermie de Voer held an interview on radio show The Dutch Touch broadcasted in Oakville, Canada.
She explained about the changes in Dutch citizenship law that will come into effect from 1 April 2013. She also answered some questions from listeners. The interview can be downloaded from the Dutch Touch Radio web site.
On the first of April 2013, the current Dutch Nationality Act will be ten years old. You might think that is a reason for a celebration or a joke, but that’s not the case for everyone. There are two reasons for this.
There’s an option to re-claim one’s Dutch citizenship from abroad, until April 1, 2013. This is only possible for former Dutch nationals who lost their Dutch nationality by voluntarily becoming a citizen of another country and those:
- who were born in the country of the other nationality and were living there at the time they obtained it; or
- who have lived in the country of the other nationality for a continuous period of at least five years before reaching the age of majority; or
- who, at the time they obtained the other nationality, were married to a person of that nationality.
If you fulfil one of these conditions, you can submit an option request at the nearest Dutch Embassy or Consulate to reclaim your Dutch citizenship. The cost are €170.- and the decision on your request will be taken in 13 weeks.
In addition the first day that Dutch citizens will automatically lose their Dutch nationality on the grounds of the 10 year term of loss will also be April 1, 2013. I will give an example.
Imagine: you were born in South Africa, in 1979, to a Dutch father and a South African mother. At birth, you automatically obtained both Dutch and South African nationality. In 1997, you turned 18 and thus became an adult. The Dutch Nationality Act applicable at the time, stated that you would lose your Dutch nationality, if, after you turned 18, you lived outside of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba in the country of your birth and whose nationality you hold, for a continuous period of 10 years. This meant that you would have automatically lost your Dutch nationality in 2007. However, on April 1, 2003, a new Dutch Nationality Act came into force, which was applicable from that date on. It states that you will lose your Dutch nationality if you have a second nationality and have lived as an adult with dual nationalities for 10 continuous years outside of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten or the European Union.
This forfeiture provision took effect on April 1, 2003. This means, that for the first time, as of April 1, 2013, it will be possible to lose your Dutch nationality on the basis of this provision. I greatly doubt that this is reason for a celebration.
Is this situation familiar to you? In order to avoid losing your Dutch nationality on April 1, 2013, you must either apply for a Dutch passport or for a Declaration of possession of Dutch nationality, before that date. You can do this at the closest Dutch Embassy or Consulate.