After five years of consecutive legal residency in the Netherlands, a Dutch passport may be obtained by naturalization or by opting through the Dutch Immigration Service, the IND. For those nationals who are married or who are in a relationship with a Dutch national, naturalisation is possible after three years. In both instances, the foreign national must pass the Dutch Integration exam, may not have a criminal record and must be prepared to renounce their original nationality (unless their own nationality legislation does not allow them to renounce their nationality).

Opting through the IND is possible for foreign nationals who have long-term connections or a strong bond with the Netherlands. This can, for example, be a foreign national that has resided in the Netherlands for an extended period of time or former Dutch citizens. This procedure is faster than the naturalisation procedure and a Dutch Integration Exam is not required.

Considering the above requirements, I often receive the question how our dear Queen Maxima obtained her Dutch citizenship. Of course there is always an exception to the rule. As soon as important Dutch interests are served, the law considers highly exceptional cases. I am happy to say that Queen Maxima was thus able to acquire Dutch citizenship within one year.