Proposed change to the Dutch Nationality Act scraps possibility to obtain dual nationality – what to do now?

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 on few circumstances someone can be exempted from renouncing your original nationality.

Option procedure

Besides naturalization, the option procedure also provides for opportunities for certain classes of people to obtain Dutch nationality through a simplified procedure. This option procedure can for example be used by people who have lost their Dutch nationality and wish to regain it. This can be achieved by living in the Netherlands on the basis of a valid residence permit for precisely one year (article 6, sub 1 under f of the Dutch Nationality Act). This option procedure has as an advantage that anyone who is eligible to become Dutch through the option procedure, is exempted from having to renounce their original nationality.

Losing Dutch nationality

There are several ways in which someone can lose their Dutch nationality. The most relevant of these in the context of this article is the possibility to voluntarily give up your Dutch nationality. This possibility of provided for in article 15, sub 1 under a of the Dutch Nationality Act.

Regaining Dutch nationality without renunciation obligation

This opens up an opportunity for former Dutch nationals to re-gain Dutch nationality without being under the legal obligation to renounce their original nationality. This possibility is however limited. Anyone who has become Dutch through naturalization and has not given up their original nationality and, as a result of that, has had their Dutch nationality be taken away by the Minister of Justice and Security, cannot regain Dutch nationality through option (article 15, sub 1 under d or e of the Dutch Nationality Act).

In practice, these nationality rules opened up the possibility for anyone who voluntarily renounced their Dutch nationality upon naturalization (so article 15, sub 1 under a of the Dutch Nationality Act) to regain it through option after 1 year of living in the Netherlands on the basis of a valid residence permit.

Proposed change to the Dutch Nationality Act

Now, a bill has been published by the Dutch government which proposes a couple of changes to the Dutch Nationality Act. Among other things, this bill proposes to put an end to the abovementioned procedure. This means that, if the bill is approved, the possibility of re-gaining Dutch nationality through the option procedure without having to give up your original nationality is being scraped from the Dutch Nationality Act. It will require any former Dutch national to renounce their nationality upon re-gaining nationality through the option procedure.

What does this mean?

The bill is now only in the internet consultation stage. This means that the bill still has to pass the vote in Parliament (Tweede kamer) and Senate (Eerste kamer). However, it looks inevitable that this bill will eventually pass as this technicality is undesirable for the Dutch government who still strongly opposes the possibility of obtaining dual nationality. It is hard to predict when exactly the change to the Dutch Nationality Act will be implemented officially.

Can you still become a dual national?

If you are finding yourself in the later stages of becoming Dutch, it may still be possible to complete the option procedure before the implementation of the law takes place. There is however the risk of the law being implemented 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.

Mynta Law has achieved dual nationality for our clients through this possibility in the law. If you wish to obtain dual nationality before the bill is implemented into the Dutch Nationality Act, we would be happy to help you with this procedure. If you would like assistance with this process, or require advice about your own situation, Charley Nieuwesteeg LL.M. can advise you. Please feel free to send her an e-mail today.

Charley Nieuwesteeg LL.M.
Charley Nieuwesteeg LL.M.
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