What is the change? The Dutch Parliament is one step closer to passing amendments to the Dutch Nationality Act which would lengthen the period of residence that is required for citizenship eligibility, among other changes.

What does the change mean? Foreign residents would be required to have legally resided in the Netherlands for seven years (instead of five years under current law) before being eligible for citizenship. A transition period would allow applicants who already have three years of residency to rely on the five-year rule.

  • Implementation time frame: An implementation date has not been set.
  • Visas/permits affected: Naturalization.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals seeking Dutch citizenship.
  • Next steps: The Act has passed the Second Chamber of Parliament (House of Representatives) and will now go to the First Chamber (Senate), where it is expected to pass and thereafter become law.

Background: The bill was first proposed in 2013 and was motivated by a sentiment that foreigners needed to integrate into Dutch society more fully before acquiring the rights and privileges of citizenship.

In addition to increasing the wait time for citizenship, the law would strengthen other criteria. Spouses of Dutch citizens would only be able to count time legally in the Netherlands for purposes of meeting the prerequisite of three years of marriage. Applicants would no longer be allowed to apply for naturalization from abroad, and all naturalization applicants would be required to demonstrate a clean criminal record since age 12 (instead of the current age of 16).

BAL Analysis: Foreign residents who are currently eligible may wish to apply for citizenship before the stricter rules become law.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the Netherlands. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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