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By Hermie de Voer

If you are Dutch and you live outside of the Netherlands and outside of the European Union as a dual national, you will need to renew your Dutch passport every 10 years to prevent the loss of your Dutch nationality. The law governing this matter states: 

Adults will lose Dutch citizenship if they also have a foreign nationality and if they have their main residency outside the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, and Saint Martin, and outside of the territories to which the Treaty on European Union applies during their adulthood, for an uninterrupted period of ten years...

The loss of Dutch citizenship after 10 years of residency outside of the EU will not take place, if the dual national applies for a new Dutch passport, a Dutch identity card or a Dutch nationality certificate in time. This is stated in the law as follows:

The period of ten years will be interrupted by the issuance of a declaration of possession of Dutch citizenship, a travel document or Dutch identity card within the meaning of the Passport Act. From the date of issuance, a new period of ten years commences.

Since 9 March 2014, the validity of a Dutch passport is 10 years. This means that the period of validity of the passport runs synchronously with the period for loss. Therefore you must  be very careful when exactly you apply to renew your passport in order to avoid losing your Dutch citizenship.

In plain language we usually say that you have to apply for a new Dutch passport every 10 years. However, if you apply for a renewal the day before your Dutch passport expires, your new Dutch passport would only be issued after the 10-year mark and you would lose your Dutch citizenship. For this reason, I always advise to apply for a new Dutch passport after 9 to 9,5 years so that the new passport will be issued to you within the period of 10 years. The crucial moment here is the date of issuance. You have to ensure that you have a new Dutch passport in your possession within 10 years of the expiry date.

How do you do that in times of a global corona/covid-19 crisis? When you live abroad, applications for renewal of your Dutch passport must be filed in person at a Dutch diplomatic post. These are closed until 6 April 2020 in any case.

Scheduling an appointment to apply for a Dutch passport via the digital appointment system does not seem possible, not even for a date after 6 April 2020. The following text appears on the website at various Dutch diplomatic posts on different continents: "No date(s) available for an appointment". It is striking that the Dutch diplomatic posts do not provide uniform information on their websites.

The website of the Dutch embassy in Canberra, Australia has so far been the most informative. It states that passport or ID card applications are neither being accepted at an embassy or consulate general nor at the passport counter at Schiphol, at least until 6 April 2020. However, it is still possible to apply for a passport or ID via a border municipality in the Netherlands. How this will work in practice is unclear, considering there may be no incoming flights available. 

In short, it seems that if you, as a Dutch citizen with dual nationality, live outside of the Netherlands and the European Union and your passport expires soon, you will not be able to extend your Dutch passport on time.

I advise everyone in the current situation of the corona/covid-19 pandemic to apply in writing for a renewal of your Dutch passport, ID card or a Dutch nationality certificate, at the nearest Dutch diplomatic post before your current Dutch passport, ID or declaration expires.

Make sure you can also prove that you have done this. So, send the application by registered mail or, if possible, by fax with a confirmation that the fax has arrived. This way you can prove that you have applied for a renewal or a declaration within the 10-year period and have thus tried to prevent the loss of your Dutch nationality.

I cannot guarantee that this will be sufficient to retain your Dutch nationality. What I do know is that you will lose your Dutch nationality if you do not attempt to extend your Dutch passport in time.

Hermie de Voer

 

 

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