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Long-term legal residence in the Netherlands without a passport and without a RANOV permit? IND must assess proportionality of document requirement in naturalisation procedure

The Council of State has issued a ruling in a case brought by Danielle Snaathorst and Elles Besselsen. Their client’s naturalisation request had been rejected because he was unable to provide a passport and birth certificate from Angola. Their client does not fall under the exemption policy for Ranov permit holders because he had already received a residence permit prior to the general pardon in 2007.

Their client has lived in the Netherlands for almost 30 years, has a permanent residence permit and meets all conditions of naturalisation. He has demonstrated his identity and nationality with many other documents. He has also substantiated that he has made several attempts to obtain a passport and birth certificate. The Angolan authorities are however not cooperating – partly because he has an alien’s passport and the authorities therefore recognized that he had previously applied for asylum. The IND has never had any doubt about his identity and nationality.

The Council of State ruled that the State Secretary did not give sufficient reasons why the client should be able to provide a passport and birth certificate. According to the Council of State, the State Secretary is in a better position to further investigate the possibilities of obtaining the documents. The Council of State also confirmed that the situation of the client can be compared to Ranov permit holders from Angola and can therefore indeed play a role in the proportionality test.

The State Secretary must now take a new decision considering the Council of State’s ruling. Any appeal is open only to the Council of State.

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