Permanent residency and naturalisation
If you decide you want to live in the Netherlands permanently, you may want to apply for Dutch citizenship or for permanent residency. The conditions for naturalisation and permanent residency vary depending on your nationality and personal circumstances. It is also important to be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a Dutch citizen.
What Is Permanent Residency?
Having a permanent residency permit gives you almost the same rights as a person with Dutch nationality. A permanent residence permit is valid for an indefinite period. This means you keep your right to live in the Netherlands even if your current residence document expires. Permanent residency can include or exclude the status of long-term resident – EC. This status allows you to apply more easily for residency in some other EU countries.
The two main differences between permanent residency and citizenship are that you cannot vote in national elections, and you are not allowed to work in certain sectors such as the police or the army.
Conditions for Permanent Residency
There are certain conditions for any type of residence permit that apply to everyone. If you are not an EU citizen and want to apply for permanent residency, you must also meet the following conditions.
- You have lived in the Netherlands with a valid residence permit for at least five years. There are some exceptions to this rule.
- You are registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP) in the municipality where you live.
- You have an independent sufficient and sustainable income.
- You have a civic integration diploma. There are exceptions in some cases.
Different rules apply for people with an asylum residence permit, citizens of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, and (current or former) holders of special residency status and their family members.
Applying for Permanent Residency
When you apply for a permanent residence permit in the Netherlands, the IND automatically checks if you can also get the residence permit as long-term resident – EC. You can submit your application online from three months before your current residence permit expires. If your residence permit has expired, you must apply in writing. You can download the form from this page on the IND website. The application fee is €207 and €69 for children under 18 (as of 2022). You will receive the IND’s decision on your application within six months.
Becoming a Dutch Citizen
There are two different ways to become a Dutch citizen: naturalisation and the ‘option procedure’. The option procedure is the quickest and simplest way. You might qualify if you have lived in the Netherlands since you were under the age of four, for example, or by marriage to a Dutch citizen. The application process is handled by the municipality where you live.
You can also become a Dutch national through naturalisation. You can apply for naturalisation if you live in the Netherlands either as an EU national or with a residence permit. You can also apply if you have a residence permit but live outside the Netherlands or in the Netherlands Caribbean.
The IND website has more detailed information about the option procedure, naturalisation, and the cost of applying.
Should I Become a Dutch Citizen?
Becoming a Dutch national is a big decision and it’s good to think carefully about what exactly it means. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages:
- You are no longer a foreign national. You can apply for a Dutch passport.
- You no longer need to have a residence permit.
- You can stay or live outside the Netherlands for a longer period without this affecting your right to Dutch residency.
- You can vote in all Dutch elections.
- You become an EU citizen. You can vote for European elections. And you can move to another EU country more easily.
- You can work in public sectors that are only open to Dutch citizens. These include the police, the armed forces, and the judiciary.
- An application for naturalisation is much more expensive than extending your residence permit. See the cost for a naturalisation application.
- You might need to renounce the nationality you have now. Make sure you know what this means for you.
- If you are not required or allowed to renounce your nationality, you may be able to become a Dutch citizen with dual nationality. This can cause problems as the rights and obligations of the different nationalities may be conflicting.
- You could lose your Dutch nationality. For example, this could happen if you are convicted for a serious crime or have committed fraud in your application for a Dutch residence permit or to become a Dutch national. Find out more about the loss and revoking of Dutch nationality.
If you are going to live permanently in the Netherlands, learn more about the Dutch pension system. You might also want to check out our tips on buying a home and making the most of life in The Hague region.