There are many advantages of being a citizen of the Dutch island nations of Aruba, Bonaire, or Curaçao. If you qualify to apply for the process to obtain citizenship in any of these countries, it could also become your backdoor gateway into Europe. The Netherlands has introduced a distinctive opportunity for people from these territories to acquire citizenship. Although the procedure is not straightforward, it is doable. This article will discuss the steps you can take to help gain Dutch citizenship and commence a new chapter of your life in one of Europe's most vibrant and hospitable nations. If you are interested in learning more, continue reading!
Upon passing the exams, you will participate in a citizenship ceremony, pledging allegiance to the monarch and the Dutch constitution
THREE WAYS TO ACQUIRE DUTCH CITIZENSHIP
Put simply, you can become a Dutch citizen through one of these pathways: naturalization, option procedure, and birthright citizenship. Let us discuss them one by one.
If you have lived in the Dutch Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and other territories such as Saint Maarten and Saint Eustatius) for a specific period and meet certain requirements, you can apply for Dutch citizenship through naturalization. In this section, we will discuss the naturalization process and the requirements you must fulfill to become a Dutch citizen as an ABC citizen. The requirements are the following:
- Being 18 years old or older;
- Having lived legally non-stop in the Netherlands or Dutch Caribbean for at least five years. Or three years if you’re married to a Dutch citizen or have a child who is a Dutch citizen too;
- Having a valid residence permit or an exemption from the requirement of having a residence permit;
- Not having a criminal record or having been convicted of any serious crimes in the past four years;
- Being able to read, write and speak Dutch at a basic level (A2 for the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages);
- Having enough knowledge of Dutch society and culture (including politics, history and customs).
Having met these requirements, you can start the application procedure for Dutch citizenship by naturalization, which will take around six months but may take longer, depending on your circumstances.
The first step in the application process is to fill out the naturalization application form, which you can find on the website of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) or at the municipality where you are registered. You must inform authorities about your situation, education, work history and language skills.
Once the IND accepts your application, you will be invited to take the Civic Integration Exam that will test your knowledge of the Dutch language, society and culture. Also, you will have to take the Knowledge of Dutch Society Exam that tests your knowledge of the society and political system of the Netherlands.
If you pass these exams, you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony, where you will swear allegiance to the Dutch monarch and the Dutch constitution. After this ceremony, you will receive a Certificate of Dutch Citizenship that effectively confirms you are now a Dutch citizen.
Here are the documents you need to provide:
- A valid passport or other travel documents;
- A valid residence permit or other proof of lawful residence;
- A birth certificate from your country of origin;
- If you are a national of a country in the EU/EEA or Switzerland, the municipality will consult the Personal Records Database to check how long you have lived in the Netherlands. Therefore, you do not need to have a residence permit;
- Civic integration diploma or other proof of civic integration or a certificate of exemption from the integration requirement;
- If a parent includes their child under 18 in their application for naturalization, the child must provide the same documents as the parent, except for proof of integration. If only one parent is applying for naturalization, the other parent needs to be present at the municipality to give their consent for the child to be included in the application and provide a copy of their residence permit.
After the ceremony, you will become a Dutch citizen and get your passport
This pathway is meant for individuals who meet certain requirements to obtain Dutch citizenship without going through the conventional naturalization process. The option procedure process is available to individuals who meet the following conditions:
Being 18 years or older;
Being born in the Netherlands or Dutch overseas territories, being a child of a Dutch citizen;
Having lived legally in the Netherlands or Dutch Caribbean territories non-stop for at least five years before applying;
Not having been convicted of any serious crime;
Not having been ordered to leave the Netherlands or Dutch Caribbean territories.
Having met these requirements, you may be eligible to apply for Dutch citizenship through the option procedure. Here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Get the proper documents to prove your Dutch descent:
A valid passport or another travel document;
A residence permit;
A birth certificate;
A certificate of good conduct (“verklaring omtrent het gedrag” in Dutch) from the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security;
Proof that you have lived in the Netherlands or Dutch Caribbean territories for at least five years.
2. Make an appointment at the Dutch embassy or consulate-general in your country of residence;
3. Bring the documents to the Dutch embassy or consulate general;
4. Sign the option statement in person at the embassy or consulate-general;
5. The embassy or consulate-general also signs your option statement;
6. Pay the option procedure fees;
7. Attend the naturalization ceremony.
After the ceremony, you will obtain your Dutch passport and effectively become a citizen of the Netherlands.
The rules for getting birthright citizenship are complex and depend on ones circumstances
This pathway is ideal if you were born in the Netherlands or if one or both of your parents hold Dutch citizenship at birth. However, the rules for acquiring Dutch citizenship through birthright can be complex since it depends on one’s circumstances.
If you were born in the Netherlands, you are granted citizenship, provided that at least one of your parents held Dutch citizenship or permanent residency at their birth. However, if neither of your parents holds Dutch citizenship or permanent residency, you can acquire Dutch citizenship through naturalization only after legally residing in the Netherlands for five years.
If you were born to a Dutch parent outside the Netherlands, you may also be entitled to Dutch citizenship, but this is subject to specific eligibility requirements based on the circumstances surrounding your birth. The eligibility rules are influenced by the year of your birth, whether the Dutch parent was born in the Netherlands or acquired Dutch citizenship through naturalization, and other relevant factors.
If you were born out of the Netherlands to a Dutch parent, you are automatically a Dutch citizen if your Dutch parent was born in the Netherlands or got Dutch citizenship through naturalization before your birth and you were born after December 31, 1984.
Suppose your Dutch parent was born outside the Netherlands and obtained Dutch citizenship through naturalization before your birth. In that case, you are only eligible for Dutch citizenship if you were born after 1 January 1985 and at least you meet one of the following conditions:
If you were born after 1 January 1985, you may be eligible if your Dutch parent was a Dutch citizen at the time of your birth;
If you were born after 1 January 1985, you may also qualify if your Dutch parent was living in the Netherlands or Dutch Caribbean territories at the time of your birth;
If you were born before 1 January 1985, you may be eligible if your Dutch parent was still a Dutch citizen at the time of your birth.
It does not matter whether you were born in the Netherlands or abroad.
Related article: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency
Dutch citizenship brings benefits such as access to the EU, quality education and health, a high standard of living for expats
If you are from one of the ABC countries (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) and interested in acquiring Dutch citizenship, you can enjoy the Netherlands' strong economy, high standard of living, and EU membership. You can take three main routes to Dutch citizenship: naturalization, option procedure, and birthright citizenship.
You can unlock new opportunities and access a vibrant and supportive society by obtaining Dutch citizenship as an ABC citizen. Meeting the eligibility criteria, mastering the Dutch language, and embracing Dutch culture can help you integrate into Dutch society successfully. The benefits of Dutch citizenship, such as access to the EU market, world-class education and healthcare systems, and high quality of life, make it appealing for those seeking to broaden their horizons and enhance their well-being.