This website uses Cookies

We use cookies for necessary website functionalities, for social media functionalities and for webiste statistics and analysis. More information can be found in our privacy policy.

I agree with the use of cookies for:

Necessary functionalities and anonymous statistics

Dutch citizenship

  • 8000 'pardon permit' holders to receive letter

    More than 8000 holders of a Ranov ('pardon') residence permit can expect to receive a letter from IND over the next few days.

  • Appeal to State Secretary published in national newspaper

    "Take steps to make permit holders no longer second rate citizens." An open letter from Elles Besselsen to State Secretary Broekers-Knol was published last Saturday, June 26th, in Het Parool.

  • Becoming a Dutch citizen

    There are 3 ways to obtain Dutch nationality: through naturalization, through an option procedure or through birth from a Dutch father or mother.

    The Dutch Citizenship Act is complicated; whether and how you may acquire Dutch nationality is different in each individual case. Many rules and exceptions must be taken into account. Our nationality desk lawyers are experts in matters like naturalization, dual nationality and option procedures. They can advise you, assist with the application for Dutch citizenship or represent you during an objection appeal or confirmation procedure.

    To diplomats, employees at a consulate or at an international organization (summarized as the privileged) other rules apply.  

  • Brexit and dual nationality

    Are you a Brit living in the Netherlands or are you a spouse or (registered) partner of a Dutch citizen and would you like to know if and how you can acquire Dutch nationality without losing your British nationality? In this article you will find information about naturalisation, Brexit and dual nationality.

  • Call for former Dutch citizens

    Have you lost your Dutch nationality because you have dual citizenship and lived outside of the Netherlands and the EU for more than ten uninterrupted years without a Dutch passport? You might be able to regain your Dutch nationality.

  • Calling parents with a residence permit to live with a minor Dutch child (Chavez)

    Recently the IND published the following text on its website under the conditions for further applications after a residence permit for staying with a minor Dutch child.

  • Can permanent residency or naturalization be acquired with a Chavez permit?

    Currently, holders of a Chavez permit do not qualify for permanent residence or Dutch citizenship. Such applications are rejected by default. Several regional courts and the Administrative Division of the Council of State, highest administrative court in the Netherlands, ruled that these rejections were lawful due to the temporary nature of the right of residence based on a Chavez permit.

  • Can you regain Dutch nationality after automatic loss?

    By Elles Besselsen and Danielle Snaathorst

    On 12 February 2020, the Council of State, the highest administrative court in the Netherlands, ruled in six cases of former Dutch nationals with dual citizenship who lost their Dutch nationality, because they had resided outside of the Netherlands and the European Union for more than 10 uninterrupted years and had not renewed their Dutch passports during that time. The Council of State determined that if the consequences of the loss of Dutch nationality are disproportionate from an EU law perspective, former Dutch citizens should be able to regain their Dutch nationality with retroactive effect. What does this mean in practice?

    Dutch Citizenship Act

    The Dutch Citizenship Act (Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (RWN)) stipulates that Dutch citizenship is automatically lost, if a person, in addition to Dutch citizenship, has another nationality and has had their main residence outside of the Netherlands and/or the European Union for an uninterrupted period of 10 years. This loss does not occur if this person has obtained a declaration of Dutch citizenship or a (renewed) Dutch travel document/identity card within that period of 10 years. A minor child may lose their Dutch citizenship together with their parent.

    With these rules, the Dutch legislator aims to guarantee the effective bond between its citizens and the Netherlands. If someone stays outside of the Netherlands or Europe for a long period of time and did not need a Dutch passport at that time, the idea is that there will no longer be an effective bond with the Netherlands. In practice, however, it appears that many people are not aware of this ground for loss. They only find out when it is too late, but they still feel Dutch.

    Until now, when applying for a passport or a procedure to establish Dutch citizenship in these cases, it was simply established that the person in question was no longer Dutch. In the six cases brought before the Council of State, the former Dutch citizens argued that the automatic loss of their Dutch nationality in their case was disproportionate and therefore contrary to EU law. The case prompted the Council of State to submit questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union in a preliminary ruling proceeding.

    Is automatic loss of Dutch citizenship contrary to EU law?

    On 12 March 2019, in the Tjebbes judgment, the Court of Justice answered that, in principle, EU law does not prohibit the automatic loss of Dutch nationality (for reasons of public interest), even if this also leads to the loss of EU citizenship and the associated rights of free movement and residence within the EU.

    However, the Court also stated that the automatic loss of these EU rights may be disproportionate. The national authorities must examine the consequences of the loss of Dutch citizenship and therefore also EU citizenship for each individual concerned and their possible family members.

    The ruling of the Council of State

    The RWN does not provide room for such a proportionality test and the retroactive regaining of Dutch citizenship. For this reason, the Council of State considers the RWN to be contrary to EU law. An amendment of the law is therefore necessary. To bridge the time between the ruling and the amended law entering into force, the Minister of Foreign Affairs' authority to return Dutch citizenship follows directly from EU law.

    The Council of State explains that in the case of a Dutch passport application, the Minister must determine whether the applicant has Dutch citizenship (similar to the civil court procedure for determining Dutch citizenship) and they must check whether the loss of Dutch citizenship does not have disproportionate consequences 'that are in the sphere of EU law'.

    Which consequences of the loss of Dutch nationality are relevant?

    Only the EU law consequences are relevant for this proportionality test. Like the Court of Justice, the Council of State refers to the rights guaranteed by the EU Charter, such as the right to respect for private and family life, the exercise of the right to move and reside freely within the territory of EU Member States and the possibility to pursue professional activities there, and the best interests of the child.
    Moreover, the consequences of the loss must have materialized or be reasonably foreseeable. For example, the Council of State considers it reasonably foreseeable that a former Dutch citizen of almost 18 years of age would go to study in a EU Member State.

    The Council of State emphasizes that the strong connection a person feels with the Netherlands, the contacts they maintain with friends in the Netherlands and the command of the Dutch language do not have to be taken into account. After all, these consequences are not related to the loss of EU rights.

    At which moment must the proportionality test take place?

    In the Tjebbes judgment, the Court of Justice did not explicitly determine the moment that the consequences must be reviewed. The Council of State however explained in its ruling that when reviewing a case, the Minister must determine the EU law consequences that were relevant at the time of the expiry of the ten-year period, which therefore effectively manifested themselves or could reasonably have been foreseen at that time. Consequences occurring after that time do not need to be included in the assessment.

    By doing so, the Council of State wants to avoid the need to examine all of the consequences that have occurred in the life of a former Dutch national and to prevent repeated applications to have the proportionality of that moment assessed. According to the Council of State, this would be to the detriment of legal certainty.

    And now?

    Over the next four months, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will have to assess, on the basis of the documents and information provided, whether in the six cases in this ruling the loss of their Dutch nationality has disproportionate consequences from an EU law perspective.
    If, following the Minister's assessment, it appears that the loss of EU citizenship is disproportionate, the individuals in the six cases will regain their Dutch citizenship with retroactive effect.
    The legislator will also have to amend the RWN in order to provide room for the assessment of the consequences and regaining Dutch citizenship. That much is clear.

    But there is also still a lot that is unclear. For example, the Council of State did not discuss the relevance of a situation where a person cannot renounce their other nationality or cannot obtain consular protection. Do these elements not play a role in the assessment?

    Which consequences should be assessed if the moment of loss only becomes clear much later, for example because someone had been issued a Dutch passport for several years on the wrong grounds?

    Nor is it clear how the consequences under EU law relate to the effective link with the Netherlands. Does someone who is about to start working in Germany have more right to retain Dutch citizenship than a Dutch-speaking elderly woman who wants to return to her home country to go through her final phase of life there?

    And what does this ruling mean for people who have automatically lost their Dutch citizenship by acquiring another nationality?

    In the coming months and years many former Dutch citizens will turn to the Minister and it will become clear how the proportionality test will work in practice.

    Have you lost your Dutch citizenship due to the ten-year period and do you experience disproportionate consequences? Please contact Elles Besselsen, Hermie de Voer or Vera Kidjan.


  • Changes in civic integration exam for naturalization from abroad

    From July 1st 2019, the Dutch regulations concerning the naturalization exam from abroad have changed. These changes affect those who want to apply for Dutch citizenship from abroad and are planning to take the civic integration exam for naturalization at the Dutch consulate or embassy in their country of residence.

  • Chavez-mother files ECHR complaint against Dutch State

    On behalf of a mother with an EU residence document based on the Chavez-Vilchez ruling, Elles Besselsen has filed a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

  • Council of State rules: no Dutch citizenship with a Chavez residence permit

    Over a year ago the District Court of The Hague in Amsterdam ruled that naturalisation based on a Chavez-Vilchez residence permit is not possible due to the temporary nature of this residence right. Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers filed an appeal against this ruling.

    On 28 April 2021, the Council of State ruled in this appeal that the Chavez-Vilchez residence right can indeed be considered temporary within the meaning of the Dutch Citizenship Act and that, consequently, holders of a Chavez-Vilchez residence permit are unable to meet the conditions for obtaining Dutch citizenship.

    According to the Council of State, the temporary nature of the Chavez residence right follows from the fact that it is derived from the European rights of the Dutch minor child and ceases to exist as soon as the child reaches the age of 18 or as soon as the child is no longer dependent on the care of the parent.

    According to the Council of State, there is no question of discrimination compared to parents of children with a non-European nationality because the Chavez-Vilchez residence right only serves to protect the European rights of the Dutch child and is a derived and temporary right. The residence rights of third-country parents based on art. 8 ECHR however, are based on their own rights to the protection of family life.

    The Council of State does not address the comparison with the derived residence right of parents of other European children.

    Nor does the Council of State consider it necessary to await the preliminary ruling of the European Court of Justice. According to the Council of State, the question of whether the Chavez-Vilchez residence right is temporary within the meaning of the Aliens Act is not relevant for the assessment of whether it is temporary within the meaning of the Dutch Citizenship Act. The Council of State considers that immigration law and nationality law are separate.

    This means that holders of a Chavez-Vilchez residence permit must first change their residence permit to a non-temporary one before they qualify for Dutch citizenship.

    For more information about your options for changing your residence permit and whether you qualify for permanent residence or Dutch citizenship, please contact Elles Besselsen.

  • Dual citizenship possible more often than you might think

    Recently our firm has finalized several different cases successfully concerning dual citizenship.

  • Dual nationality, privilege or choice?

    Dual nationality gets a fair bit of media attention lately. In recent news several Moroccan-Dutch citizens asked political support for their right to renounce their Moroccan nationality. At the same time a majority of the House of Representatives proposed a Brexit-emergency law that will allow Dutch citizens in the UK to keep their Dutch nationality in case they obtain the British nationality. How does that work?

  • Dutch naturalization impossible without documents

    The topic of this headline received renewed attention from the public and politicians in recent weeks, since Ethiopian born, but Dutch raised, Yosef Tekeste-Yamane made his appearance in the media. 

  • Everaert Lawyers congratulates clients on Dutch citizenship

    Today is national naturalisation day. Every year, extra festive naturalisation ceremonies are organised on 15 December. The ceremony concludes the option or naturalisation procedure and is the official moment for acquiring Dutch citizenship. During the ceremony, new Dutch citizens make the declaration of commitment and receive the decision of Dutch citizenship. Thereafter, they are officially Dutch nationals.

  • Further investigation into naturalization of RANOV permit holders

    After a majority of the Parliament voted in favor of the motion on February 9, 2021 to exempt RANOV permit holders from the requirement to provide a passport and a birth certificate when filing a naturalization application, State Secretary Broekers-Knol stands by her policy.

  • How to prevent the loss of Dutch citizenship

    Loss of Dutch citizenship can happen automatically, sometimes even without you knowing it. Dutch citizenship can also be revoked. 

    Regaining Dutch citizenship is a laborious process and not always possible. It is wise to contact one of our lawyers for tailored advice.

    Automatic loss of Dutch citizenship can happen if you:

  • Judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU in Tjebbes case

    The judgment of the European Court of Justice in the case Tjebbes and Others/ Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning automatic loss of Dutch citizenship has been published.

  • Language requirement for naturalization and permanent residence remains level A2 in 2022

    In 2022, the new Civic Integration Act 2021 enters info force. See also our previous article on the subject: New Civic Integration Act postponed.

  • Naturalization, not with a Chavez-Vilchez residence permit?

    Today, 4 April 2019, the Dutch Government Gazette published an amendment on the Handbook for the Dutch Citizenship Act 2003.