Regaining Dutch nationality
I have lost my Dutch nationality. How can I regain it?
There are two ways in which former Dutch citizens can regain their Dutch nationality: through the option procedure or through naturalisation.
The following categories of former Dutch citizens may opt for Dutch nationality:
a) Former Dutch citizens who lived in their country of birth for an uninterrupted period of at least ten years and who have the nationality of that country
NB: This option procedure was only valid until 31 March 2005. Since then, former Dutch nationals who belong to this category have no longer been able to opt for Dutch nationality.
The Netherlands Nationality Act entered into effect in 1985. The Act provided that anyone born outside the Netherlands who possessed both Dutch nationality and the nationality of the country of their birth would lose their Dutch nationality if, after attaining the age of majority, they lived in their country of birth for an uninterrupted period of ten years or more and were citizens of that country. As a result, many Dutch citizens living abroad have lost their Dutch nationality since 1995. Most of them were born in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.
Under the amended Act, anyone who lost their Dutch nationality in these circumstances can have it restored as follows. If you were issued a Dutch passport or proof of Dutch nationality after 1 January 1990, your Dutch nationality will be restored automatically and will be deemed never to have been lost. This rule has been applicable since 1 February 2001.
b) Former Dutch citizens who have had their principal residence for
at least one year in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (the Netherlands, the
Netherlands Antilles and Aruba)
In these cases the application for nationality by option must be submitted to the Population Affairs Department of the municipality where you are resident. If you live abroad and are on holiday in the Netherlands you may not make use of this option.
c) Former Dutch citizens who do not live in the Kingdom of the
You must have lost your Dutch nationality after reaching the age of majority because you acquired another nationality.*
You must also satisfy one of the following conditions:
- you were born in the country whose nationality you possess and were living there when you acquired the nationality of that country, or
- before turning 18, you lived in the country whose nationality you possess for an uninterrupted period of at least five years, or
- when you acquired the nationality of another country, you were married to someone who possessed that nationality.
Such an application opting for Dutch nationality may be submitted up to 31 March 2013.
*NB: this option is not open to the following former Dutch citizens:
- former Dutch citizens who lost their nationality as a result of Suriname or Indonesia gaining their independence;
- former Dutch citizens who lost their nationality as a result of the Council of Europe convention to reduce the number of cases of multiple nationality. The Netherlands has been a party to this Convention since 10 June 1985;
- former Dutch citizens who lost their nationality as minors by acquiring the nationality of a parent, for example;
- former Dutch citizens who lost their nationality before 1 January 1985 because they were born outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands, lived for an uninterrupted period of ten years outside the Kingdom after reaching the age of majority (then 21) and did not submit notification that they wished to retain their Dutch nationality before the ten-year period was up. These are mostly Dutch citizens born abroad before 1 January 1954;
- former Dutch citizens who renounced their nationality;
- former Dutch citizens whose nationality was withdrawn.
For more information and the conditions that apply, see the booklet ‘How can you regain your Dutch nationality? Option and naturalisation procedures for former Dutch nationals'. Click on the link 'Former Dutch citizens' under the heading 'Becoming a Dutch citizen'.
The following former Dutch citizens may submit an application for naturalisation abroad:
- those who were born and raised in the Netherlands;
- those who were not born and raised in the Netherlands but have other ties with the Netherlands such as having completed at least half of their primary education here.
You may not be living in the country whose nationality you hold, and in some cases you must have passed the civic integration examination for naturalisation.