Netherlands Citizenship by Descent

Updated on Tuesday 26th January 2021

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Acquiring Netherlands citizenship by descent is an alternative to naturalization for those who have  family ties to Dutch citizens. While the primary condition is to be related to a Dutch individual, other conditions can apply and our team of Netherlands immigration specialists can give you more details and assist you in a proper manner if you are eligible.
Those who are not related to a Dutch national and cannot obtain Netherlands citizenship by descent can discuss more about the option for naturalization with our agents.

How can one become a Dutch citizen by acknowledgment?

Netherlands citizenship by descent is also referred to as citizenship by birth or acknowledgment. Two possibilities are available in this case, being born before 1 January 1985 or being born after 31 December 1984.
For those born before January 1 1985:
  • one is a Dutch citizen if the father was a Dutch citizen at the time of the birth; it makes no difference if the applicant was born in the Netherlands or abroad;
  • if the mother is Dutch and the father a foreign national, the applicant can acquire citizenship via the option procedure.
For individuals born after 31 December 1984, only one of the following requirements is needed to acquire Netherlands citizenship by descent:
  • the mother’s nationality: the applicant’s mother was a Dutch citizen on the date of his or her birth;
  • the father’s nationality: the applicant’s father was a Dutch citizen and on the date of the birth he was married to the mother who was not a citizen;
  • father’s acknowledgment: an option for Netherlands citizenship by descent also exists when the father was a Dutch citizen and even though he was not married to the non-Dutch mother, he acknowledged the applicant before birth;
  • acknowledgment after 1 March 2009t: the father was a Dutch citizen and he acknowledged the applicant after birth but before his or her 7th birthday;
  • main residence: on the applicant’s date of birth, one or both parents had their main residence in the country and, in addition to this, when the mother or father was born, either one of their parents also had their main place of residence in the Netherlands.
For acquiring Netherlands citizenship by descent based on having a Dutch father who recognized the applicant at or after 7 years of age, one needs to present a paternity test. This biological evidence must be provided within one year following the acknowledgment.

What are the options in case of adoption?

Although not included in one of the categories presented above, which clearly stipulate the citizenship of the biological father or the general situation of both biological parents, one can apply for Netherlands citizenship by descent in case of adoption, under certain specific conditions:
  • a minor child can be granted Dutch citizenship by adoption abroad when one of the parents is a Dutch citizen;
  • the adoption needs to be performed according to the Hague Adoption Convention;
  • there are no ties with the biological parents.
Our team of Netherlands immigration agents can give you complete information on how the conditions for Netherlands citizenship by descent can apply in case of adopted individuals.
An individual who is a Dutch citizen according to the law can apply for a Dutch passport or identity card, as needed. This is done with the municipality in the area in which the applicant resides. If he or she lives abroad, the application can be submitted to the Dutch Embassy or Consulate in that country.
Adults should know that they can lose their Dutch nationality when voluntarily take another nationality. Loss of nationality also occurs when the individual has dual citizenship and he or she has lived for at least 10 consecutive years outside the Kingdom of Netherlands and the European Union (subject to certain exceptions). The Dutch Government may choose to revoke the citizenship of an applicant when he or she has failed to comply with the requirements for renouncing the other citizenship or when the conditions for the naturalization procedure were not observed (as applicable for this manner of acquitting Dutch citizenship).
According to Statistics Netherlands, at the end of November 2020, there were 17,474,677 people living in the country. The data also shows the following about immigrants:
  • in 2019, 2,161,684 persons were first-generation migrants;
  • 1,924,454 people had a second-generation migration background in 2019;
  • In 2018, the number was lower, with 2,079,329 people for first-generation migration background and 1,892,530 people in the second-generation migration background.
Contact us for more information on obtaining Netherlands citizenship by descent as well as for details about the naturalization procedure.