Opting for Dutch Nationality as former Dutch national: No One Year Waiting Period for Europeans and UK-citizens with residence under the Withdrawal Agreement

The Netherlands has one of the strictest policies towards obtaining dual nationality. This results in the duty to renounce your previous nationality upon becoming Dutch through naturalization. Only in few circumstances someone can be exempted from renouncing his or her original nationality.

Besides naturalization, the option procedure also provides opportunities for certain groups of people to obtain Dutch nationality through a simplified procedure. This option procedure can, among other ways, be used by people who have lost or renounced their Dutch nationality and wish to regain it. This can be achieved through living in the Netherlands on the basis of a valid residence permit for precisely one year. The option procedure, as referred to in article 6, sub 1 under f of the Dutch Nationality Act, has as a major advantage that an individual who (re-)applies for Dutch nationality under this provision, is exempted from the requirement of renouncing their original nationality/nationalities. 

However, there was some ambiguity regarding the waiting period imposed on European Union citizens who wished to opt for Dutch nationality on the basis of article 6, sub 1 under f of the Dutch Nationality Act . This ambiguity was resolved by the Council of State's ruling in 2011. In this ruling (ECLI:NL:RVS:2011:BU3411), the Council of State has held that the acquisition of Dutch nationality cannot undermine the rights derived from the status of a citizen of another EU Member State under EU law. This means that an EU citizen, who has become an ex-Dutch citizen through renouncing the newly gained Dutch nationality, is not required to wait for another year before opting for Dutch nationality as the time that they spent as a Dutch citizen is also taken into consideration in the calculation of the one year requirement as they have always been an EU citizen at that time. By analogy, the same applies to UK-citizens with a residence right on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement. As UK-citizens with this Brexit-related residence right are considered a special group which have retained some of their former European Union rights, they too are exempt from the 1 year waiting period to opt for Dutch nationality on the basis of article 6, sub 1 under f of the Dutch Nationality Act. 

This is especially interesting for EU and UK nationals who have recently acquired Dutch nationality. Now that a bill has been published by the Dutch government which proposes to put an end to the possibility of re-gaining Dutch nationality through the option procedure without having to give up your original nationality for anyone who has lost Dutch nationality on the basis of article 15, sub 1 under b of the Dutch Nationality Act, i.e. by signing a renunciation declaration of Dutch nationality.

If you are finding yourself in the later stages of becoming Dutch as an EU citizen, or if you have recently become Dutch and have not renouced your original nationality yet, it may still be possible to complete the option procedure before the amendment of the law takes place since the one year waiting requirement is not applicable to you. There is however the risk of the law being amended before completion of the option procedure, making anyone subject to the duty to renounce the original nationality. If you are not prepared to do this, the Dutch nationality will have to be renounced again or it will be taken away from you if not renounced in time.

At Mynta Law, we understand the significance of this ruling and its implications for individuals seeking Dutch nationality. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers is well-versed in the intricacies of the  nationality law and can provide expert guidance and assistance throughout the option process. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and how we can support you.