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Dutch citizenship

  • Once Dutch, always Dutch: a successful ‘Tjebbes-case’

    Imagine that you automatically lost your Dutch citizenship after you have been misinformed by the Dutch embassy: it happened to the 29-year-old Jan (not his real name) from South Africa.

    Jan was born in 1991 from a Dutch / South African mother and a South African father and obtained both Dutch and South African citizenship at birth. Jan retained Dutch citizenship as a minor and went - before the ten-year loss period in article 15 paragraph 1 under c of the Dutch Nationality Act 2003* passed - to the embassy to apply for a Dutch passport. He was told that he was not entitled to a Dutch passport and when Jan went to the Consulate General a few years later, he received the same message. However, Jan always remained convinced that he was Dutch and contacted our firm in 2019. Unfortunately, we came to the conclusion that he had lost his Dutch citizenship only three weeks earlier because of the ten-year loss period.

    Proportionality test

    After the Dutch Council of State issued a judgment in the cases Tjebbes ea. (more information can be found here) regarding the automatic loss of Dutch citizenship, we assisted Jan with preparing an application for a Dutch passport which he submitted at a border municipality in the Netherlands. In his application he argued that the loss of his Dutch -and therefore EU- citizenship was disproportionate from the perspective of EU law, because at the time of loss he had concrete plans to settle with his partner in Belgium and was also living there at the moment he filed his passport application. Jan was able to prove -with documentary evidence- that he and his partner wanted to develop professional and/or study activities in Belgium and that the loss of EU-citizenship not only had far-reaching consequences with regard to the exercise of the right to move and reside freely in the EU (because as a South African citizen he had to meet much stricter conditions in order to obtain legal residence in Belgium and to work/study there), but also that this loss was caused by incorrect information provided by the Dutch representations.

    The advice of the IND

    After the municipality had submitted the case to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) for advice on whether or not the loss of Dutch (and therefore EU) citizenship was proportional, the IND came to the conclusion that this loss could not be maintained and that and that article 15 paragraph 1 under c of the of the Dutch Nationality Act 2003 could not be applied, because this provision conflicted with article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The municipality, which adopted the advice of the IND, then immediately issued a positive decision on Jan's passport application.

    Once Dutch, always Dutch

    Jan is Dutch again. In fact, since he never lost his Dutch citizenship, he has always been Dutch! The outcome of his passport application procedure offers hope for former Dutch citizens who automatically lost Dutch citizenship after 1 November 1993 and who can demonstrate with documentary evidence that- at the time of loss- they were disproportionately affected in exercising their rights as EU citizens (see also here).

    If you are in such a situation and you would you like to get assistance with your passport application please contact Mirjam den Besten or Hermie de Voer.

    * this provision reads as follows: 1. a person who is of full age shall lose his or her Netherlands nationality: (..) c. if he or she also has a foreign nationality and, after coming of age and while possessing both nationalities, has his or her principal place of residence for a continuous period of ten years outside the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, and outside the areas to which the Treaty on European Union applies (…)
  • Option and Naturalization Fees 2021

    Application fees for Dutch citizenship requests, by naturalization or option, are revised annually. As of 1 January 2021, the IND charges the following amounts:

  • Pardon permit holders to get Dutch passport at last

    On July 7th 2021, it was announced that the 10.000 ‘pardon’ permit holders and their children will be exempted from the document requirement and will finally be able to obtain Dutch citizenship. This is fantastic news for all the participants in our project ‘Naturalization without documents’ that Everaert Advocaten started in 2019.

  • Parliamentary majority wants to accommodate naturalization of pardon permit holders

    This week, two Dutch political parties (SP and CDA) intend to file a motion to pave the way for about 10.000 pardon permit holders to obtain Dutch citizenship. A majority of the parliament is in favor of this initiative.

  • Podcast: Hermie de Voer on Dutch citizenship

    Nationality law expert Hermie de Voer spoke to Eelco Keij of SNBN (Dutch Outside The Netherlands Foundation) in the first podcast of a new series. 

  • Podcast: How to become a Dutch citizen

    In this podcast, live since 9 January 2019, our partner and Dutch citizenship expert Hermie de Voer explains different ways to obtain Dutch nationality and dual citizenship. As a little nugget to conclude, there's a Brexit related case!

  • Policy change announced regarding naturalization of RANOV permit holders

    On April 20th, a majority of the Dutch Parliament once again voted in favor of a motion to exempt RANOV permit holders from the requirement to provide a passport and birth certificate when filing a naturalization request. The government was asked to implement this motion without waiting for the research of the Research and Documentation Center (WODC).

  • Privileged individuals

    Individuals who come to the Netherlands to work for a diplomatic mission or an international organisation, such as the United Nations have special consideration and are extended privileged residence status.

  • Proportionality test in the event of loss of Dutch citizenship due to acquisition of another nationality

    On 20 May 2020, the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State determined that the consequences of the automatic loss of Dutch citizenship due to the acquisition of another nationality must also be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Proportionality test in the event of loss of Dutch citizenship due to acquisition of another nationality

    Door Elles Besselsen

    On 20 May 2020, the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State ruled that, even in the case of automatic loss of Dutch citizenship by acquisition of another nationality, it must be examined whether the consequences in the individual case are not disproportionate. The current Dutch Citizenship Act (Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap, RWN) does not require such a proportionality test.

    A Dutch national who voluntarily acquires another nationality automatically loses their Dutch citizenship. There are only three exceptions to this rule. Dutch citizenship will not be lost, if:

    1. the Dutch national was born in the country of the other nationality and has their main residence there at the time of acquiring the other nationality;
    2. the Dutch national had their main residence in the country of the other nationality before reaching the age of 18 for an uninterrupted period of at least five years; or
    3. the Dutch national is married to a person of the other nationality.

    In an earlier case, the Council of State ruled that Dutch citizens with dual nationality who lost their Dutch citizenship after having resided abroad for ten years could regain their Dutch citizenship with retroactive effect, if the consequences of the loss were disproportionate from an EU-law perspective. This concerns concrete and foreseeable consequences at the moment of loss.

    This now also applies to those who have automatically lost their Dutch citizenship by acquiring another non-EU nationality.

    The proportionality test in practice

    The proportionality test can take place in the case of a passport application or in the case of a request to establish Dutch citizenship by a Dutch court. The proportionality of the loss of Dutch citizenship will not be examined, if the person concerned has another EU nationality. After all, in such a case there has not been a loss of EU citizenship and the associated EU rights.
    The IND will assess whether the loss of Dutch citizenship has disproportionate consequences in relation to the exercise of the rights that EU citizenship brings with it, such as free movement and residence in another EU Member State, the possibility to work or study in the EU, the enjoyment of diplomatic and consular protection, and the exercise of family life and the protection of the best interests of the child.
    The person concerned must substantiate the disproportionate consequences of the loss of their Dutch citizenship with as many documents as possible. The following evidentiary documents are particularly relevant:

    • job offer or contract proposal;
    • employment contracts;
    • salary slips;
    • registration in a Chamber of Commerce;
    • tax returns;
    • proof of enrolment in or admission to a school or university;
    • proofs of ownership of real estate (deed);
    • receipts for travel tickets and other travel documents
    • visa’s and entry and exit stamps in passports;
    • written statements by family members and acquaintances;
    • extract from a civil registry;
    • birth certificate;
    • marriage certificate and civil union certificate; and
    • proof of family relationship(s) and legal residence of the family member in an EU Member State.

    If it is concluded that the loss of EU citizenship has disproportionate consequences, the applicant will regain Dutch citizenship with retroactive effect. If this is not concluded, the loss of Dutch citizenship is maintained. An objection can be lodged against this decision.

    Have you lost Dutch citizenship due to long-term residence abroad or by acquiring another nationality and are you of the opinion that the loss has disproportionate consequences for you? If so, please contact Elles Besselsen for advice.


  • Senate strikes down proposal to extend naturalization period to 7 years

    On 3 October 2017, the Senate of the Dutch Parliament struck down the legislative proposal amending the Dutch Citizenship Act.

  • Successful dual citizenship case

    The likelihood of obtaining dual citizenship in the Netherlands seems to be improving. If you can prove that by renouncing your original nationality you will suffer a substantial financial loss, in some cases you can keep your other passport.

  • Term for public order objections in naturalization and option procedure from 4 to 5 years

    With effect from 1 May 2018, Dutch citizenship can only be obtained if in the 5 years immediately prior to the filing of a naturalization request or an option statement - or the decision thereon- there has been no criminal offense, the sanctioning of a crime or the enforcement of such a sanction. This term is currently 4 years.

  • The Netherlands celebrates Naturalization Day

    Every year on 15 December, the Netherlands celebrates Naturalization Day. On this special day during a festive ceremony, foreign nationals who naturalize as Dutch citizens receive an official certificate (naturalization decision) from the municipality . The certificate is proof that they have become Dutch citizens.

  • Thomas van Houwelingen on national radio

    Thomas van Houwelingen commented in live national radio broadcast "EenVandaag" on the issues Dutch nationals abroad experience when their passport expires.

  • UPDATE: Is it possible to obtain Dutch citizenship with a Chavez residence permit?

    One year ago we informed you here about the amendment on the Handbook for the Dutch Citizenship Act 2003, which makes naturalization impossible for parents of Dutch children who derive their residence right from Article 20 of the TFEU on the basis of the rulings of the European Court of Justice in the Zambrano and Chavez-Vilchez cases.

  • Vera Kidjan on NOS Radio 1 News about 'pardon' permit holders

    Vera Kidjan represents about 500 persons who received a 'pardon' permit in the past, but 13 years later still cannot obtain Dutch citizenship. In total, about 10.000 people are in this same situation. 

  • Volkskrant article: Dutch expatriates let down by Foreign Ministry

    Dutch national newspaper de Volkskrant published an article where Hermie de Voer and Thomas van Houwelingen plead for better information and education by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Dutch expatriates who are due to renew their passport abroad.