Dutch citizenship through naturalisation is granted upon request to non-Dutch persons who have filed an application and who have fulfilled certain conditions: they must meet civic integration requirements and have lived here for at least five consecutive years. There are some exceptions to this 5-year term.
Since the introduction of the Naturalisation Test in 2003, the number of naturalisations has been fairly stable, ranging between 20 and 27 thousand per year. It went up considerably in 2020. This is linked to the relatively high numbers of refugees – from countries such as Syria – who had applied for asylum in the Netherlands five years earlier.
|jaar||Acquisition of Dutch citizenship (x 1,000)||Naturalisations (x 1,000)|
4 in 10 naturalised immigrants originally from Syria or Eritrea
Four in ten of the 49 thousand persons who became naturalised Dutch citizens last year were originally Syrians (15 thousand) or Eritreans (3 thousand). Other groups with a larger number of naturalisations include stateless individuals and those with unknown nationality (9 thousand) and people from the former Soviet Union or India (both 2 thousand). Back in the late 1990s, naturalisations mainly involved people from Turkey, Morocco and former Yugoslavia, most of the time while retaining their original nationality.
Slightly earlier naturalisation for Syrians than for Eritreans
The year 2020 marked the 5-year term for refugees from Syria and Eritrea who came to the Netherlands in 2014-2015, allowing them to apply for Dutch citizenship. Of the 15 thousand Syrians who obtained Dutch citizenship in 2020, almost half arrived in 2015 while one-third settled here in 2014. Almost half of the 3.7 thousand Eritreans who were naturalised last year came to the Netherlands in 2014. The length of residence before naturalisation is therefore slightly longer among Eritreans than among Syrians. One possible explanation for this is that they need more time to pass the civic integration examination.
|prior to 2013||15||24|
One-third of Syrian migrants holding Dutch citizenship
Almost one-third of the 100 thousand persons born in Syria and residing in the Netherlands as at 1 January 2021 have acquired Dutch citizenship. The share is nearly 20 percent among Eritrean migrants. In the past, Dutch citizenship was mostly acquired by persons from the former Dutch colonies, followed by groups of migrant workers in the 1960s and 1970s (Moroccans, Turks and former Yugoslavians) as well as asylum seekers. Over 65 percent of these groups have meanwhile obtained the Dutch nationality. The share is smaller among EU citizens. Due to the free movement of persons and services, Dutch citizenship hardly offers them a comparative advantage. Not even 10 percent of those born in Poland and Bulgaria, for example, have the Dutch nationality.
|Geboorteland||Dutch citizenship (%)|
|Former Soviet Union||37.55|