Dutch citizenship by descent

Article Breakdown

Netherlands Passport CoverA child instantly becomes a Dutch citizen by birth, acknowledgement, or adoption. This is also known as obtaining Dutch citizenship by descent, since The Netherlands only grants Dutch nationality to children of the first generation (with Dutch parents).

A Dutch passport is engraved in the top 10 best passports since forever (even within the European Union), so it would make sense to get it if you have the possibility. The only downside is that you are only allowed dual under specific circumstances (see below).

Dutch citizenship by descent

There are a couple of scenarios that apply for dutch citizenship by descent:

  • If you were born before January 1, 1985, and your father was a Dutch citizen, you are automatically eligible for Dutch nationality, regardless of where you were born.
  • If you were born on or after January 1st, 1985, regardless of where you were born, and your mother was a Dutch citizen, if she was a non-Dutch citizen married to a Dutch citizen
  • If your parents were unmarried, but your unmarried Dutch father acknowledged you as his child;
  • If you and your mother or father were resident in the Netherlands at the time of your birth, and at least one of your grandparents was Dutch – then you can nonetheless acquire Dutch citizenship in most cases.

If you are eligible under any of these situations, you can become a Dutch citizen and acquire Dutch citizenship by descent.

Dutch Citizenship by Naturalization

Rounded Netherlands Flag IconIf you were born in the Netherlands to Dutch parents, you are automatically granted Dutch citizenship; however, these qualifications were recently broadened, so that more people of Dutch heritage now qualify for acquiring Dutch citizenship.

Was your child born on or after December 31, 1984? In that event, your child will be granted Dutch citizenship by birth in the following circumstances:

  • At the time of the child’s birth, the mother was of Dutch nationality.
  • Both of the child’s parents were Dutch citizens at the time of his or her birth.
  • The child’s married father had the Dutch nationality at the time of his birth and is married to the child’s non-Dutch mother. Alternatively, the father is the mother’s registered partner. Alternatively, the father acknowledged the child prior to the child’s birth.
  • The infant and his or her mother had their primary residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time of birth. On the day the mother was born, one of the mother’s parents also had their primary residence in the Kingdom.
  • At the time of the child’s birth, the child and his father had their primary residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On the day the father was born, one of the father’s parents also had their primary residence in the Kingdom.

It makes no difference if the child was born in the Netherlands or elsewhere.

Although there are no provisions in Dutch law for automatic granting of Dutch nationality based on actual place of birth, a child is Dutch if they are born to at least one parent who has his or her main residence in the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, or Aruba (or the Netherlands Antilles) at the time of the child’s birth, provided the child also has its main residence in one of those countries at the time of birth.

If you were born abroad to Dutch parents, your parents will need to go to the Dutch embassy with your birth certificate, a marriage certificate (if married), and request your passport. Documents need to be translated if issued in a foreign language, and apostilled.

Netherlands Country Landscape Photo

The Option Procedure

You did not gain Dutch nationality at birth if you were born on or before December 31, 1984, to a Dutch mother, because Dutch nationality could only be passed down through the father at the time. You are classified as ‘latent Dutch.’ With the passage of the Netherlands Nationality Act, you are now eligible to apply for citizenship via the option method.

According to the Dutch government’s website, you are also a Dutch citizen by “birth or recognition” if you:

  • Your father was a Dutch citizen on the day you were born, and he was married to your non-Dutch mother at the time.
  • Your father was a Dutch citizen on the day you were born, and he was not married to your non-Dutch mother at the time. Your father recognized you before you were born.
  • Your father is a Dutch citizen, and he recognized you after your birth but before your seventh birthday after March 1, 2009.
  • Your parents’ primary residence is in the Netherlands. Your father or mother (or both) were also born to parents who had their primary residence in the Netherlands at the time of their birth. [1] Parents who live outside of the Netherlands

You must also ensure that your parent was still regarded Dutch at the time of your birth before seeking for Dutch citizenship by descent.

Dutch citizens typically lose their Dutch nationality after living outside the Netherlands for ten years or longer as an adult, but this is not always the case.

Consider the following questions:

Was your Dutch parent still a Dutch national when you were born? In other words, were you born during the last ten years of your Dutch parent’s departure from the Netherlands?

Did your Dutch parent lose their Dutch citizenship when they became dual citizens?

When your Dutch parent obtained a second citizenship, they should not have immediately lost their Dutch nationality if they:

  • Married a spouse of the same nationality as their second nationality.
  • Lived in the country of their second nationality for at least 5 years before becoming 18 years old, and renewed their Dutch passport before it expired every 10 years.
  • Were born and raised in the country of their other nationality.

Dutch citizenship by marriage

You are eligible if you are married to a Dutch citizen and have lived in the Netherlands with them for three years.

Dutch Naturalization after 5 years of residence permit

You can become a Dutch citizen through naturalization if you have been living in the Netherlands for at least 5 years with a valid residence permit; or if you have been living in the Netherlands and are an EU/EEA national; or if you have been living in one of the Dutch Caribbean Islands with a residence permit.

To remain in the Netherlands for 5 years in a row, you must first obtain a residence permit, unless you are a citizen of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland. After these 5 years or permanent residency, you can apply to become a Dutch citizen.

The most important prerequisites for a resident visa are health insurance, appropriate financial assistance, and a sponsor. Are a sponsor in addition to health insurance and enough financial support.

A sponsor can be an employer who will provide you with a work permit, an educational institution where you will study, or a family member or partner. Depending on your situation, you may be able to obtain a residence visa initially and then seek for citizenship after 5 years.

Dual citizenship for Dutch nationals

Like we’ve mentioned above, according to the Dutch government rules, dual citizenship can only be maintained after you acquire Dutch nationality in specific circumstances:

  1. If your spouse is of the same nationality as your second nationality.
  2. If you lived in the country of your second nationality for at least 5 years before becoming 18 years old, and renewed your Dutch passport before it expired every 10 years.
  3. If you were born and raised in the country of your other nationality.
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