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‘Inburgeren’ (civic integration process) is the process of integrating into Dutch society. A big part of this is learning the language, but it also involves learning about the Dutch lifestyle and working culture. You may receive a letter from DUO informing you that you are obligated to take the integration exam (inburgeringsexamen). It is also possible to do this on a voluntary basis. Find out more about civic integration and if it applies to your status in the Netherlands.

About civic integration (Inburgering)

The Dutch government wants everyone who lives in the Netherlands to be able to participate in the Dutch society. This means that it is generally required for Newcomers (status holders, family migrants and other migrants) to speak the Dutch language, know about Dutch culture, and be able to work or study independently. Dependent on a few factors, like the duration of your stay in the Netherlands, and your nationality, it might be mandatory to take part in the civic integration process.

There are exemptions from inburgering in the Netherlands. For example, if you have a degree, diploma, certificate or other evidence of having followed certain types of education and training taught in Dutch at a Dutch institution, if you have a special/privileged residency status or if you are coming to the Netherlands temporarily for work, study or an exchange. Find out more on which rules or exemptions apply, on

Are you preparing to move to the Netherlands to join your (Dutch) partner in the Netherlands? Find out more about starting your inburgering (Basic civic integration exam abroad) before you arrive to the Netherlands.  

If you want to or are obliged to integrate, you will have to take the following exams: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Knowledge of Dutch Society (Kennis van de Nederlandse Maatschappij or KNM). You may also have to take the Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market (Oriëntatie op de Nederlandse Arbeidsmarkt or ONA) exam, but this will depend on your working situation. The inburgering exams language level has been set at an B1 language level since January 2022.  

Step by step plan inburgering

Has DUO informed you that you need to integrate? No need to panic. With the right information and preparation the inburgering process need not be as daunting as it seems!

If your residency permit is issued on the condition of inburgering, the integration process will take up to 3 years. The new Civic Integration Act (effective on 1 January 2022), requires your municipality to assist Newcomers (status holders, family migrants and other migrants), with a tailor-made integration programme, in learning Dutch as quickly as possible.

The steps to your civic integration process are as followed.

  1. Registration at your municipality,
  2. General intake interview,
  3. Introduction meetings,
  4. Reading exam,
  5. Civic integration plan,
  6. Integration classes,
  7. Participation statement,
  8. Orientation in the Dutch Labour Market,
  9. Integration exam,  
  10. Integration diploma

Find out more about your integration requirements on

The steps to your civic integration process is slightly different if you seek for asylum in The Hague. Find out more on about the steps to inburgering for asylum seekers.

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