To become a Dutch citizen or not? That is the question.
To apply for a Dutch passport via Naturalisation (the legal act or process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country), you must meet at least the following two main requirements*:
- Be living in the Netherlands for five years (three years if married to a Dutch citizen)
- Show that you can read, write, speak and understand the Dutch language. One method of proving this is by passing the inburgeringsexamen (civil integration exams).
Due to the fact that;
- I have now been living in the Netherlands for almost six years.
- I have been married to and living together with a Dutch citizen for ten years.
- I have passed the inburgeringsexamen.
..it means that I have actually been eligible to apply for a Dutch passport for over two years now. I was aware of this; however, due to the cost of applying for a Dutch passport via naturalisatie (almost one thousand euros!), I have been putting it off.
Now that my five year temporary residence permit is due for renewal this year, I am re-evaluating my options. After speaking with the IND, they have confirmed that I have two options…
- Apply for an onbepaalde visum to become a permanent resident for a fee of 159 euros (and 51 euros every five years thereafter to continue to renew).
- Apply for a Dutch passport via the gemeente (with the IND making the final decision). The fee for this application is now 855 euros and I would be required to attend a naturalisatieceremonie (naturalization/citizenship ceremony). NOTE: This whole process can take up to ten months, so check when your visa expires!
Either option allows me to remain in the Netherlands. As far as I can tell, the only main differences between the two (apart from the significant difference in cost), is that with a Dutch passport I could vote (meh) and work for the police force (not happening). If I had been living in the Netherlands for fifteen years or more continuously, the fee for citizenship would have been significant less. Like 800 euros less.
In any case, the sense of comfort and relief that would come with having an EU passport is priceless and I am the only member of our family who does not hold a Dutch passport. As a non-EU citizen, it would be wonderful to be in a position where I can hold an EU passport in one hand and my Australia passport in the other.
For many, to become a Dutch citizen, it also means that they must be prepared to renounce their nationality. Thankfully, as an Australian married to a Dutch man, if I were to apply for Dutch citizenship, I would not be required to sacrifice my original nationality, as unfortunately many others must. To me, that would be an impossible choice, so I’m relieved that I am in a situation where I no not have to make it. I am proud to be Australian and would never want to give this up. At the same time, I really like the idea of being part of a citizenship ceremony here in the Netherlands. I think it would be a very proud moment.
So…to be a Dutch citizen, or a Dutch resident?? Decisions, decisions…
I will let you know once I decide. What did you decide on if you were faced with this decision?