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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:

  • voluntarily acquire another nationality
  • live outside of the Netherlands and the European Union as a dual national for 13 years or longer and do not renew your Dutch passport within 13 years of the date of issue of your last passport.

A different nationality

The Netherlands wants to prevent dual nationality as much as possible. When voluntarily acquiring another nationality, Dutch citizenship is in principle lost automatically. It is possible to acquire another nationality without losing the Dutch citizenship if: 

  • you are married or registered partner of a non-Dutch national and acquire the nationality of your partner
  • you were born in the country of the other nationality, and you live there when you acquire that other nationality
  • you lived in the country of the other nationality for a continuous period of 5 years before turning 18

Passport not renewed on time

After long-term residence outside the Netherlands with a dual nationality, you may lose your Dutch citizenship if a Dutch passport or a declaration of Dutch citizenship is not issued on time. On April 1, 2022, the loss period was extended from 10 to 13 years. This means that you can lose your Dutch citizenship if you have lived outside of the Netherlands and the European Union continuously for 13 years as an adult and a Dutch passport or declaration of Dutch citizenship was not issued to you on time. Note: the passport or declaration must have been issued to you within the 13-year period.

Because Dutch citizenship is automatically lost in the abovementioned cases, you are not always aware of this. It therefore regularly happens that Dutch people living abroad do not know that they or their children are no longer Dutch.

The following blog describes this:

Elderly former Dutch national wishes to return to the Netherlands

Proportionality test for automatic loss

On 12 March 2019, in the Tjebbes judgment, the Court of Justice ruled that, in principle, EU law does not prohibit the automatic loss of Dutch citizenship (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. 

As a result of the Tjebbes judgment, the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State determined in a judgment of 12 February 2020 that it must be examined whether the automatic loss of Dutch citizenship has disproportionate consequences for the exercise of the rights attached to Union citizenship. These include rights such as the right to respect for family life, the right to freedom of movement and residence on the territory of EU Member States and the possibility of pursuing professional activities there, and the best interests of the child. The consequences of the loss must have materialized or be reasonably foreseeable.

Since April 1, 2022, former Dutch citizens, who have automatically lost Dutch citizenship by voluntary acquisition of another nationality or long-term residence abroad, may file an option request to a Dutch embassy or consulate to regain Dutch citizenship.

If, at the time of the loss of EU citizenship, it was reasonably foreseeable that this would lead to disproportionate consequences from the perspective of EU law, it is possible to regain Dutch citizenship. This must be substantiated with as many documents as possible.

If it is concluded that the loss of Union citizenship has disproportionate consequences, you will regain Dutch citizenship with retroactive effect. If this is not concluded, the loss of Dutch citizenship will remain in effect. An objection may be made against this decision.

Revocation of Dutch citizenship

The government may withdraw your Dutch citizenship if:

  • you have not done everything possible to renounce the original nationality, while you are obliged to do so
  • you have committed fraud during the naturalization or option procedure.
  • you have been convicted of a crime that is directed against the security of the Netherlands.
  • you are committing or preparing terrorist activities.

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