Dutch nationality by naturalisation may be granted to non-Dutch applicants aged 18 years or older (independent naturalisation). Under-aged children are naturalised along with their parents. Minors aged 12 years or older have a right to express their wishes. If they do not want to be naturalised, they will not be.

Applicants must comply with a number of conditions. They must be resident in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba for at least five years (or three years if married to a Dutch national) directly preceding the application, and must be considered to have assimilated in Dutch society. This must be demonstrated by a reasonable knowledge of the Dutch language and social culture.

Since 1 April 2003 this knowledge is tested by means of a naturalisation test. The test corresponds with level 2 of the assimilation exam which is used for new immigrants to the Netherlands. This exam consists of two parts: an oral and a written test. Applicants who have completed the assimilation course at level 2 or higher and have spent a prolonged period in Dutch education are exempted from the exam.