Quest to regain a Dutch passport – Kelly & Nathan’s story

Dutch passport

A few months ago, I received an email from Nathan who is part of the Dutch Australian community on Facebook.  His wife was upset to discover she had lost her Dutch citizenship in Australia – and only by a matter of 2 days when laws changed.  She is now on a quest to regain a Dutch passport.

They shared this story via email to see if I could help.  Unfortunately visas, citizenship issues and the like are not my area of expertise and I wouldn’t know how to appeal this apart from via the local consulate.  However as this website/blog is to bring Dutch Australians together to share experiences I asked him for permission to publish his email here on the website as perhaps others are in a similar situation?  If so, please contact us and I can put you in touch with Kelly & Nathan, or come and discuss your circumstances and experiences over in the Dutch Australian Facebook community.

Emails received from Nathan April 2013…

Kelly was born in Australia (1977) to Dutch parents, who are still Dutch citizens. I think she got her first Dutch passport in 2000. We went to the embassy here in Sydney.

Below is a link to one of the sections of the Dutch nationality section of their website.

Kelly’s Dutch passport expired in 2005, and the reason why we have not renewed it prior to this is we were not in a position financially or practically to travel to the Netherlands until now. We had 4 children in the period 2004-2009, our first child in 2004 and we had our youngest son in Dec 2009. We simply were not thinking about travelling etc.

We have only just come into a position where a trip to the Netherlands is possible (and very likely) and so we began the process of looking into renewing Kelly’s passport. This literally happened on the weekend of the 31/03/2013 when we found out the unfortunate news of the 31/03/2013 citizenship cut off date. We sent an email straight away (on the 31st) to the consulate asking if they would allow that email to be considered the start of our application process (as we were technically still within their cut off date) however we could not physically come into the office as it was closed. 

We still have not had an official reply to that email, but we went into the consulate the following week (as soon as we could) and were told that our application would most likely be rejected, but could still apply if we chose to (and then possibly appeal if rejected) but were told that it would be highly unlikely to succeed.

We are really disappointed about this as our Dutch heritage is very important (to both of us) particularly, as we parent out children and look to our future and travel plans etc. 

A few quick points about our Dutch heritage are listed below… 
  • Kelly’s parents are both Dutch, (they have not become Australian citizens even though they have lived here for 30+ years)
  • Much of her extend family still lives in the Netherlands
  • Kelly is only Australain by birth, not by acquisition.
  • We teach our kids Dutch songs that Kelly’s mum and dad taught her
  • Kelly still speaks Dutch (although a bit rusty, she picks it up again when she is surrounded by others speaking it!)
  • We have dutch food traditions that we continue in our home and at special times of the year such as…oliebollen, poffertjes krautcuk, speculaas, hagelslag, stroopwafels, zoute drops, ontbijtkoek, to name a few
  • Dutch art and clogs etc are in our home and we teach our kids about them

Is anyone else in a similar situation or have any advice?  Please comment below, contact us or come and discuss on the Facebook page.

Dutch Australian is a community of those with connections to both Australian and The Netherlands.  This blog follows the adventures of our Dutch Australian family as well as highlighting information and articles of interest to dual nationals.  You might like to read more about me, get to know other Dutch Australian people and explore other articles on the blog.  Come and chat to others over in the Dutch Australian Facebook community, we’d love to meet you!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d really appreciate you taking the time to comment below or share.  You can also contact me directly and sign up for our e-newsletter to keep up to date.

81 thoughts on “Quest to regain a Dutch passport – Kelly & Nathan’s story

  1. Hello, I’m not sure if this is still an ongoing issue for you, but it follows a similar vein to my story. I have been told that although I miss out on citizenship due to the new law, my Dutch heritage gives me the unique option of living in The Netherlands for one year (usually requires 10 years) and then the approval of Dutch citizenship is almost automatic. The Dutch consulate in Sydney informed me of this. I am in the process now of securing a visa to be allowed to live in NL for a year (no small feat) in order to acquire the citizenship. (I will be self employed and therefore come under an entrepreneur visa.) I can recommend a person called Lutina van Tebberen who is a Senior Consular Officer. Her email address is:
    It’s not an easy road to citizenship, and it’s a path paved with loads of paperwork and red tape, but it’s not impossible. All the best! Juliette

  2. Hi!

    I came across this blog as I was searching for any updates following the 31/3/13 deadline. I don’t live in Australia, but in the US, and also lost my citizenship on 1 April 2013. I am working with a lawyer in the Netherlands on my appeal. In my case, I had all the proper information in to the consulate, but I was missing one document that would verify the dates I was supplying, and they were not willing to accept the documentation I provided. One thing to look into, is the possibility that your children are still Dutch citizens. There are exceptions in the RNW that apply to minors whose parents lost their citizenship when the children are underage. I am happy to talk more with you about the particulars of my case, and the legal advice I have received (recognizing this may not apply to you). I am still waiting to hear about my appeal, which will likely be unsuccessful, but the MBZ informed me that I might still have a chance to regain citizenship by appealing in a civil court. And, for clarification, I was born in the Netherlands, to Dutch parents. I lost citizenship as a minor when my parents naturalized, but citizenship was restored in 2003 under a change in the law. Funny, they don’t send you an email when that happens (note my sarcasm) and I didn’t know until I stumbled upon the legal text in Dutch and made an inquiry, which was too late.

    1. I came across this blog as I was searching for other Dutch people who had lost their nationality in a similar situation as mine. I want to now appeal. I live in Swaziland/South Africa and am/was Dutch. Could you refer me to the same lawyer in Holland you are using? I was also missing 1 document and they wouldn’t accept any other documents I tried to submit. I was also born in the Netherlands to Dutch parents. I lost mine this year when I tried to renew my passport.

      1. Thank you JJ , I have waited very long for someone to give a name of lawyer that understand in those matter.

        I will send him email behalf of the name of my wife and see what he can do for us.


  3. Hello!

    I know this thread has been inactive for a few months, but I found out today that I may – unfortunately – have a similar problem.

    My mother is Dutch, but I’ve been brought up in Australia (though I did do a year of school in the Netherlands when I was younger, and speak it well).

    I’ve applied to renew my Dutch passport, but as it was issued in June 2003 it’s now past the 10 year limit. I only found this out this morning – from the information I was able to find on their site, I thought I would be OK as I have had my Australian citizenship since birth.

    The lady at the consular office was very kind, but I think she was preparing me for a rejection. The option whereby I live in the Netherlands for a year may be feasible for me, if I have to appeal and that fails.

    Does anyone know of anybody with success via the appeal, or more details of a similar situation? I’d love to correspond with some of the posters above. It would be a huge, devastating to blow to effectively lose part of my heritage – I grew up singing Dutch Sinterklaas songs (I’m sure we all know some of those!), and have a 91 year-old grandmother and lots of extended family in the Netherlands.

    Any help and info would be appreciated.

    1. Thanks for sharing Paul and sorry to hear about your difficulties – I’ve approved the comment and perhaps someone else can give you some information, and I’ll share across our Facebook page and Twitter again to see if anyone can give you some more information. Renee

  4. My girlfriend from Israel have the same problem.
    She couldn’t renew the passport due to finance situation she was student back than and now the clerk in the Dutch embassy told her she can do the request but she would probably be denied.
    Any news or success in applying for denial due to this law?

    1. Hi Ben, No I’m sorry, I know very little about this personally and can only recommend that you contact the embassy again another time, or do as they suggested and attempt it. Or does anyone else reading this have experience to share? Good luck! -Renee

  5. I know it’s a bit late, but having worked in the consular department of the Dutch Embassy (not Australia) for some years, I thought I would throw my 2 cents in. This is a situation that occurs quite often. After turning 18, a Dutch national who lives outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or the EU with dual nationality, is required to confirm their Dutch nationality every ten years or face loss of nationality. Whilst the cost and associated time/travel required to apply for a passport can be prohibitive for some people, this is unfortunately not a valid ground of appeal for loss. In fact, to overcome this, it is possible to apply for a statement of possession of Dutch nationality via mail for relatively little money, which also confirms Dutch nationality. With regards to minors, whilst they might have been born Dutch, a child’s nationality is dependant upon the parents. As such, if the Dutch parent(s) loses their Dutch nationality before the child turns 18, the child will also lose the Dutch nationality. It is possible to regain the Dutch nationality, which involves living in the Netherlands for I believe 1 year. Contact the IND for the most complete information. Hope this helps.

  6. How are you progressing with this? I had a similar problem back in 2000 and applied to the Court in The Hague using an Amsterdam based lawyer. Years later my children also have Dutch nationality. I didn’t find the consular staff knowledgeable about the law or even interested. The decisions regarding nationality are made in The Hague. I hope it ended well for you.

    1. Benny (August 24 email), sorry to have not responded sooner. My lawyer was Jan Holthuis in Amsterdam but it was 15 years ago so he may no longer be practising in immigration and the laws may have since changed. Also, my circumstances may be different from others. I had left Australia (where I was born to Dutch parents) and moved to the UK just at the end of the 10 year period when they removed my Dutch nationality. I was determined but the legal process was difficult and expensive. For me it was worth it and good legal representation is very important. My cousin in Melbourne was born in NL, lived in Australia for 40 years but never had an Australian passport (so never naturalised) and was recently successful in getting his Dutch passport without a lawyer or even leaving Australia but it really depends on your particular circumstances.

  7. I was born to a Dutch mother and and an Australian father in Australia. It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I found out that I could hold dual citizenship. I first applied in 2011 when I was 26. They rejected my application at the time cause they wanted proof my mother was a Dutch citizen when I was born. My mother is and always has been a Dutch citizen but has lived in Australia for 58 years. They told us that we would need to get this proof from The Hague and reapply in person there. This meant flying my mother and myself to The Hague which has not been financially viable up to this point. So my application got put on the back burner until my older brother decided he wanted his Dutch citizenship this year so that he could move over there. As my brother was born prior to 1985, he had a different application process which I can’t remember what the correct terminology for it is but it is essentially pledging allegiance to The Netherlands. During his application process he found out that by law I am technically already a Dutch citizen, I just needed to prove it and that my mothers passport from the time I was born was sufficient. So we dug up my previous application. Only this time I was rejected because the cut off age is 28. Now in order for me to apply again I must live in The Netherlands for a year. This is not really an option right now as I have a young family. While my brother was at his ceremony this week, he asked the consulate general if there were any grounds for appealing this as I started my application before I turned 28. To which the consulate general replied “No, the law is very black and white when it comes to these things”. I am now considering contacting a lawyer in The Netherlands to see if they believe I have any grounds for appeal. I just want my son to have the opportunity to be a Dutch citizen and embrace his heritage.

  8. Thanks for the referral, JJ! Yes, Nick vanG’s summary of the law is absolutely accurate. The law is absolutely merciless: if you have another nationality in addition to your Dutch nationality, and you let 10 years pass after reaching the age of 18 without either making use of your Dutch nationality by residing in (not just visiting) any country in the EU, the EEA, or Switzerland, or without having a passport, ID card, or proof of Dutch nationality ISSUED (it’s the date of issue that counts, not the date you applied for it), then you lose your Dutch nationality by operation of law, like a guillotine chop. Some variant or other of this ten-year rule has already been in effect in the law since 1892(!), so one of the most commonly heard arguments of the Dutch government, when they reject appeals against the loss of Dutch nationality for this reason, is that the person losing it had every opportunity to know that that was the rule. I see a chance for a fruitful court case, however, in the situation that someone has at least applied for a passport, ID card, or proof of Dutch nationality, or otherwise sent some kind of signal to any Dutch government agency that they wanted to keep it, before the 10-year period elapses.

    Otherwise there is indeed the consolation prize that as a so-called “ex-Dutch national”, if you can become a legal immigrant to the Netherlands for a permanent-ish purpose of stay (like work or partnership, not, in any case, study or working holiday), and remain one for just over 1 year, then you can “opt” to regain your Dutch nationality. Note that this technically has nothing to do with having Dutch “heritage”. Dutch nationality law, for the most part, does not care how (culturally) Dutch you feel. It’s purely about the formal condition of having at some time possessed Dutch nationality, and having lost it.

    I’d be glad to assist anyone who has any further questions about Dutch immigration or nationality law.

    1. Hi Jeremy, watching this space with interest. Reason, my son who is now 24 living with me as I (his father) am a Dutch passport holder on an Australian permanent visa in Australia since 1967. His (my son) passport was issued in 18 Nov 2014 when he was 16 years young, however, his Dutch passport expired in Nov 2019 aged 21. So, as I am a bit confused with the changes and conditions of Dutch passport holders residing in Australia. My question, can he still get a renewal or is he able to reapply for a new passport?

  9. I am in a similar situation. I lost my dual citizenship. I was born in Australia to Dutch parents. I speak Dutch and write Dutch. I eat Dutch food, think of myself as Dutch and I am married to a Dutchman. The whole citizenship has become confusing as you could be dutch then you couldnt and then you could again. I had children in the middle of all this and missed out on be able to renew my citizenship. I would very much like to have my citizenship back as I still think of myself as Dutch. I love Australia but I also love Nederland. I have been there 5 times and hope to go again soon.

  10. Hi, I’m in a situation where I’m deemed ineligble as well – but I just don’t want to let it go!
    My father was born in Holland and immigrated with his parents in the 1960’s. They all naturalised to Australian when I was 8 years old, and I unknowingly lost of dutch subject status. My father was able to reclaim his passport in 2013 (I believe through the option procedure), and now is a dual passport holder. Unfortunately, this does not apply retrospectively to myself or my siblings, and we were told again we have no claim.

    The disappointing thing is, it doesn’t appear we have a claim to Dutch nationality anymore than any other Australian. If anyone has some advice with similar situation I’d be greatful to hear it!

    1. Dear Joel and Monica,

      I’m so sorry to hear it. I can only refer to my answer above, which is that for all ex-Dutch citizens there is always the consolation prize of being able to opt for Dutch nationality again after being a legal immigrant in the Netherlands (which, if you were not born and raised in the Netherlands, you would have to qualify for like any other Australian) and living there for 1 year. (And if you have underage children with you, they will become Dutch citizens at the same time!)

  11. I am a South African born from 2 Dutch parents in 1956.
    8 years ago I went to renew my passport and it was duly confiscated at the Dutch embasy in Pretoria.
    They said that my parents gave up their Dutch nationality to become South Africans.
    I really want to have it renewed as I have a daughter in Kent UK who works in Holland and this would save me from getting a visa each time I want to visit.
    I would appreciate any advise as to how I should go about getting my Dutch Passport again.

    1. Hi Maria,
      Sorry to hear your story! Unfortunately I really can’t help with any of this kind of advice…the embassies are the only authorities on this. As you have no doubt seen here, I try to share stories though of what others have gone through to see if we can learn from each other. If you like, I can share your comment over on the Facebook page and see if there is anyone who has been in a similar situation. It also seems rules change so always good to keep an eye on the official websites such as

      Good luck and kind regards,

    2. I am in the same boat. I only have one child left (lost my son) and remaining daughter and grandchildren live in the UK! I live in South Africa and did not need my Dutch Passport while raising my children! Both my parents are Dutch but I let my passport expire in 1987…when I tried to renew it in 2005 I was sent home to get an unabridged Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate, which I did, when I came home the Birth Certificate was wrong. I did not have time to go back to Home affairs as I had two children in Varsity. I have been to the UK 5X and everytime I have to get a visa (which is a nightmare) all my family live in The Netherlands, and I am unable to visit them, therefore I find they are denying me my heritage, as I see myself as Dutch!

      1. Well – My situation is pretty funny. I was born Dutch (Curacao) My whole family lives in Curacao and Holland. I didn’t notice that my passport expired and I became an American citizen. When I went to renew my passport, they yanked the passport out of my hand and told me that I was no longer a Dutch citizen. Once again to clarify. I was born Dutch, I went to school in the Netherlands, I speak the language and now all of a sudden i am no longer Dutch. I have never renounce my citizenship thus I am trying to appeal this. Can Anyone help? I know that the other solution is to go live in the Netherlands which is not that big of a deal. I wanted to check if there is a solution while i am still in the States. Much appreciated. Even my American Passport says that I am a Dutch national.

  12. I am also sorry to hear it. I would make the general comment that it is important, when understanding what has happened, to distinguish between the concepts of “nationality” (a/k/a “citizenship”), on the one hand, and “passport”, on the other. It is not possible to have a (valid) Dutch passport unless one has Dutch nationality. (The converse is not true, on the other hand: you can be a Dutch national and not have a Dutch passport, although you of course do have a right to one.) So the embassy denied your passport renewal because they are of the opinion that you lost your Dutch nationality when your parents lost theirs, which would indeed be the case if you were under 18 when your parents became South African citizens and thereby lost their Dutch nationality. If you are not (or are no longer) a Dutch national, then that is the end of the story– you cannot get a Dutch passport. You would have to get your Dutch nationality back first– and in most cases, it is not possible for an ex-Dutch national to get back their Dutch nationality while still living in their (other) home country– you would have to legally live in the Netherlands for a year, then you can opt to get it back.

    If your daughter who is working in the Netherlands is a British citizen, or if her spouse is, and if you are financially dependent on them, then EU law does provide the possibility of you getting legal residence in the Netherlands on that basis– and that would provide you with the 1 year that you need to be able to opt for your Dutch nationality again.

    (I would also like to disagree that “embassies are the only authorities on this” 😉 Dutch embassies, in fact, often err on the side of caution, i.e. assuming that someone might have lost their Dutch nationality when in fact there might have been a circumstance that actually prevented that person from losing it. You should always consult an attorney in the Netherlands with expertise in nationality law for a second opinion)

  13. I totally agree with Jeremy’s comments. I appealed to the courts in The Hague after having my nationality removed by an Embassy abroad. I was a “borderline” case. I was successful but it would’ve been impossible without an expert attorney based in the Netherlands or (in my cousin’s case) an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country your currently resided. Each case is determined on the individual circumstances and it is worth taking the steps to get good independent advice.

  14. Good Day
    I wonder if someone can shed light on an interpretation of the valid period of passports. I have a Dutch passport because I lived in holland for five years as a teenager, but was born in South Africa. My children also have Dutch passports through me I presume. Mine is valid for 10 years issued in 2014. My daughters is only valid for 5 years expires in 2019. She has always lived in southafrica and will be 10 next year. Does she loose her passport as she has not resided in an EU country for ten years?
    If not, does she maintain her nationality until 18 if we continue to renew passports diligently on time?
    Also, if we do go to Europe to reside there in two years, does that give us another ten years from the time of residence in an EU country, or 10 years from the expiry of our current passports?
    I’ve tried referring to the websites about these questions, but am still a bit nervous that I have not clearly understood the technicalities.

    Thank you for the blog, it been a great help already been have

    1. Hi Karen, thanks for taking the time to comment. I can’t help with any visa questions myself but perhaps someone reading this will respond, or I suggest calling the official channels. good luck!
      Kind regards,

    2. Dear Karen,

      It sounds like you might have gotten a number of things confused. Only Dutch citizens over the age of 18 who have an additional nationality have to worry about anything happening through inaction. The rule is: if, as a dual national you let any given period of 10 years pass, after you turn 18, without ever doing anything in that period to send a signal on official record to the Dutch government that you want to remain a Dutch citizen (i.e. by renewing your passport at an embassy or consulate), or without ever actually making practical use of your Dutch nationality (i.e. by going to live in the EU, or otherwise working as an employee of the Dutch government outside the EU), then you lose it. So if you renew your passport at a Dutch embassy or consulate outside the EU, the clock is reset and starts ticking on the 10 years, and if you don’t send any other signal in those 10 years, you lose it. If you go to live in the EU, the clock is reset and stops, and only starts ticking again once you move back to a non-EU country.

      Jeremy Bierbach
      Franssen Advocaten

  15. My family on both sides is Dutch for many, many years. My father thought the U.S. Was a safer place to live after living through WWII as a child. I was born in the U.S. but was always so much more Dutch. I have family there and visit every year. I am attempting to acquire a Dutch passport because my aunt is in bad health and will need help soon. I am self employed and have zero desire to gain anything financially from acquiring this passport. I just want to be there for my family. What are my chances and/or what avenue should I take in my appeal?


  16. Hi Fellow Dutch Australians

    If anyone could shed some light on my scenario that would be great, in relation to obtaining dual passports for myself and my 3 minor children who were all born in Australia.

    My parents and I and 5 siblings immigrated to Australia from Nederland in 1969 – I was 3 years old.

    As a minor, I did not hold Australian citizenship until I joined the Australian Armed Forces at the age of 18 and applied for citizenship, which came through in 1985. I have held an Australian passport (valid, expired and again now valid) ever since.

    My parents returned to live in Nederland 30 years after immigrating with their Dutch citizenship intact, but have recently passed away. My only living relative in Nederland is my older sister who retained her Dutch citizenship.

    My children, 2 of which are teenagers, have indicated they’d like to travel to Nederland and Europe in a few years, perhaps even study or work there. I’d like to look at the option of obtaining additional passports from the EU for my 3 children for flexibility if this is possible.

    If it helps, my wife is Australian born with Maltese parents who still have Maltese citizenship. She holds an Australian passport.

    I’d also like to know if it is possible for my wife and/or I to obtain an EU passport.

    Any guidance appreciated!

    Tot zins.


    1. Bud,
      2 of my kids just got their Dutch passport, and they were able to do so because I was still Dutch when they were born ( I became an Aussie in 2010, after living in Australia for 21 years). My youngest child is waiting for his 18th birthday in Dec, so he can claim his Dutch citizenship then too.


      1. Thanks Jolinda. Well done. I guess it will be more challenging for me given I was an Australian citizen before my kids were born.

      2. Hey Jolanda – can you confirm how your youngest child is able to obtain a passport/citizenship when they turn 18, and why they didn’t get a passport at the time like your other children? Thanks

  17. I have a similar story and went through several years working with an attorney to get my Dutch citizenship back. My parents emigrated to the USA when I was three, where I still live. After several losses in Dutch Court we decided to stop. My attorney just contacted me as said that there was a new law that went into effect on 1 April 2016 that might give new hope. Before spending any more money I wanted to know if anyone on this site know anything about the new law as it relates to regaining Dutch Citizenship?

    1. There is no new law regarding Dutch nationality that went into effect on 1 April 2016. There is a bill pending in the lower house of Parliament to make a number of changes to the Dutch nationality statute, though, almost none of them benefiting anyone, although at the last minute a rider was attached to make it take 15 years instead of 10 years to automatically lose your Dutch citizenship by not doing anything to claim it (like renewing a passport). That’s all it is, though, just a pending bill– the debate isn’t even scheduled to start until 7 June, and I expect the debate on it (and all the proposed amendments to it) to go on for a few months before it passes, if it passes.

  18. I’m born Dutch in 1967 but live in Australie since 2000, married to an Australian and have 2 kids (aussies) I became Australian citizen in 2004. My NL passport expired and never thought about it as being a problem. Then in 2013 my mother was very ill and I wanted to return to NL to be with her but thats when I realized that for an extended stay ( 3 months +) I needed my Dutch nationality and Passport. I have turned everything up-side-down to get a new NL passport and also dual citizendhip for my 2 boys. The Dutch embassy in Brisbane told me that it was nearly impossible but after a very stressfull few weeks I got them end Feb 2013. It was a very difficult process and had to prove that I was born Dutch, went to school,, addresses I lived, marriages, anything thinkable really. I needed All original NL up-to-date documents, not just certified copies, and also not older then 6 months. I had to fly to NL Den Haag to get the documents and get them appostiled at the consulaat. 80 euro per document! Time consuming, costly and stressful. I think I was lucky there was a small window of opportunity at that time to be able to get our NL citizendhip just before March 2013 when the laws regarding NL nationality changed. Absolutely redicilous in my opinion! And din’t even get me started in my Dutch drivers license….? I gave up on that because their system indicates I never excisted ..:-(

  19. Regarding new law for dual-nationals:

    Reference –

    “In a separate memorandum of amendment the State Secretary proposes extending the term for losing Dutch citizenship in the event of dual nationality and long-term residency outside the European Union, Aruba, Curacao or St Maarten from ten to fifteen years.”

    “Consideration by the Lower House of the legislative bill is scheduled for the week of 7 December 2015. The amendments are expected to take effect on 1 April 2016.”

    1. That news is unfortunately very out of date– I imagine it was posted in October 2015. That is the same pending bill that I referred to in my last posting, for which the consideration by the lower house has been delayed over and over again. Additionally, this news item appears to have simply copied the government’s press release on it, in which they claimed that this bill would already have been passed and gone into effect by 1 April 2016. No, an entire debate still has to take place.

      And to make a further clarification about this provision of the bill: it would only affect future cases, meaning that in the future, you could only lose your Dutch nationality by doing nothing for 15 years. It would not affect past cases, meaning the people who already lost their Dutch nationality by doing nothing for 10 years.

  20. This is the most recent news on the debate/ammendments, which is good news if you lost your citizenship in 2013 by virtue of living outside NL/the EU for more than 10 years as a dual citizen, but failed to renew your passport. All other cases of Dutch citizens losing their citizenship remain unchanged.

    Recovering Dutch citizenship
    Apart from new legislation regarding obtaining Dutch citizenship, a possibility to recover Dutch citizenship has been introduced.

    Former Dutch citizens who have lost their nationality because they did not obtain a new Dutch passport within 10 years of receiving their last Dutch passport, can recover this loss by applying for an option request.

    The arrangement is meant for those people who have lost their Dutch nationality after 1 April 2013 and before this law comes into effect, due to the 10 year loss term. The recovery option will be available for 1 year from the implementation of the amendment.

    Furthermore, the loss term discussed is extended from 10 to 15 years. This is a result of the extended validity of the Dutch passport -10 years instead of 5- since March 2014. Dutch nationals living abroad should apply for a new Dutch passport within 15 years of receiving the last Dutch passport in order to remain Dutch.

    1. As it happened, I actually had some involvement in the legislative process for that amendment to the bill, so I will be available to answer questions about it and help people make use of that provision when the bill finally passes. It is not law yet, but I expect it to pass the Eerste Kamer and be signed into law, probably with effect as of 1 January 2017.

      1. Hello Jeremy,

        I am a Canadian citizen, born to a Dutch mother and a non-dutch father, after December 31st, 1984. I lost my Dutch citizenship after the 10 year period as I was unaware of the time limit. Coincidentally, but still unfortunately, my passport application went in two weeks after the expiry date, and was therefore rejected. I am very curious about the amendment, and if it will apply to former Dutch nationals who never received their first passport. Also, please keep us up to date with any information regarding when the new law will be put into affect so we might take advantage of the one-year grace period.



      2. If the law is passed (it’s still in the Eerste Kamer), then yes, this option possibility would also be available to Dutch citizens who lost their citizenship by the passage of time who had never had a Dutch passport in the first place.

      3. Just writing in to say thank you for all the contributors here. My first comment (above) was over a year ago, but I still track the current comments and am hopeful about the law.

        Thank you especially to Jeremy for helping out and clarifying the most recent events regarding the law.

      4. Hello, Jeremy,

        I was born in Australia to parents who were born in the Netherlands and who retain their Dutch citizenship.

        I believe I may have been misinformed by the Dutch Consulate in Melbourne regarding my eligibility to renew my passport.


        I received my first Dutch passport in 1979, when I was 17 years old. It expired in 1983. When I reapplied in 1985, I was told that I was no longer eligible for a Dutch passport. In 1987, I was again granted a Dutch passport after learning I was again eligible. I only discovered this because I contacted the Dutch Consulate in Melbourne regarding a possible working holiday visa in the Netherlands that year.

        That passport expired in 1992. I made several phone calls to the Melbourne Consulate from 1994 onwards to enquire whether I was eligible for a passport renewal and each time I was told I was no longer eligible. I contacted them several times in the hope that the rules might have changed again, as they had the first time I renewed.

        I discovered a few years ago that my sister had been able to renew her Dutch passport, so I immediately contacted the Sydney Consulate, as the Melbourne office had closed. They informed me that my citizenship had been revoked due to the ten year rule.

        During none of my contacts with the Dutch Consulate in Melbourne was I told my citizenship could be revoked should I not reapply for a passport within the ten year period. This was despite my making several phone calls regarding my eligibility for a new passport within the time frame of ten years, hoping that the rules might have changed in my favour once more. Instead, I was informed that I would not be eligible to renew my passport.

        I am wondering what would be the best way forward for me to regain my citizenship.

      5. Dear Jeannette,

        I’d rather not make a habit of giving answers in public on people’s individual cases. My email address, for anyone who would like to hire me for a detailed analysis of their case, is .

        But in general I can say that merely having been incorrectly informed by consular staff still does not constitute a valid statutory reason not to have lost one’s Dutch citizenship by virtue of 10 years elapsing. The law is very strict: it is the actual _issuance_ of a passport or other official proof of Dutch citizenship by a consulate that resets the clock, not any other form of mere communication with or from the consulate, or even an attempt to renew a passport, or the act of _filing_ an application. Even if the consulate (casually) refused to accept your application for renewal of a passport, that did not reset the clock.

        The only way to regain your Dutch citizenship, in the current state of the law, is to immigrate to the Netherlands (so you do have to figure that out first, i.e. how to get an immigration status as a foreigner, be it for work, for stay with a partner, etc.) for a non-temporary purpose (so not as a student, au pair, or on a working holiday) and reside there for one year: then you can opt to get your Dutch citizenship back.

      6. Hi Jeremy,

        Is there any further news on this bill being passed by the Eerste Kamer?

        Kind regards,

      7. Hello Jeremy,
        Do you know where this amendment stands now ?
        It is more than a year and a half since you expected it would come into effect.
        I am impatiently waiting for this.
        Thank you for any further information you may have on this.

      8. Jeremy, what is the name of the bill and this amendment ?
        Could I find and read it on the internet ?
        Thank you.

      9. Hi Jeremy, my son’s paspoort expired 18 Nov 2019. I (his Dad) am a Dutch Citizen with a valid Dutch paspoort. Am I right in assuming that he can renew his Dutch passport. He does have an AUstralian passport. Regards, JM

    2. Hi janneke. I am confused. I moved to Australia with my daughter who was then 6 and born in the nederlands. I have (had) two passports and my daughter was able to get a citizenship by descent. I just called the Dutch ambassade and they told me that my daughter (who is 25 now) can not apply do a Dutch passport. They also told me that my passport which was valid from 28/6/2007 until 28/6/2012 can not be renewed. And that I had lost my Dutch citizenship. I am absolutely devastated. Anyone suggestions?

  21. Hi Jeremy, I am a British citizen (by birth, British father, Dutch mother) born in 1982. My mother completed the optie verklaring for me when I was 5 I believe. I initially had a British baby passport. I held Dutch passports for 22 years (and always remained within the EU). Got myself a UK passport in December 2016 – all I had to do was surrender my birth certificate and then current Dutch passport. My Dutch passport expired in 2008. Because I have remained within the EU, and obtained UK nationality by birth, and did not lose it when I had the optie verklaring, I have scheduled in an embassy appointment to obtain another Dutch passport. My last Dutch passport was issued 13 years ago or so and the embassy hasn’t heard a peep out of me since the date of issue.

    What are the chances of my success? Also, I am currently missing one of the passports (not my first Dutch passport luckily, as we also don’t now where the optie verklaring certificate is).

    Sorry to invade this thread! But any comments appreciated.


    1. I can be brief: Loss of Dutch nationality due to not renewing one’s passport can only happen if one lives outside the EU/EEA for ten years or longer. I call the rule “use it or lose it”– as long as you are living in the EU/EEA, you are considered to be using your Dutch nationality. And for everyone outside the EU/EEA, it’s having a Dutch embassy or consulate issue a new passport or identity card that can be considered to be using it.

      1. Jeremy – thank you for confirming what I suspected! Feels so liberating amidst the whole Brexit fiasco. If it goes ahead, I will not let my Dutch passport expire (I won’t anyway!)

      2. Hi Jeremy
        Application sent. Now they are asking for my optie verklaring. I have enquirer at several places (IND, Rijks, MBZ) nobody knows a thing, I’m being sent here there and everywhere.
        The fact is, they are not disputing my Dutch nationality – they have also requested proof of residency for at least 1 year between 2009 – 2013 which I assume to mean end of 2013? They are trying to determine whether I still hold Dutch nationality – I do! I have the requisite p60.
        A lawyer has certified a copy of my first Dutch passport issued in 88. Optie was done in 87. Surely they would be ok with that in the Absence of optie?

        Frustrated! I mean why does no one know where a copy would be held? Embassy doesn’t have it.

  22. Hi all. While it’s comforting to know I’m not alone, it’s so frustrating! I hope someone can assist.
    I was born to a Dutch mother and non Dutch father in 1983. When I was very young my mother renewed her Dutch passport and applied for one for me at the same time. My passport expired in 1989 or thereabouts. And my mom lost her dual citizenship in 1994 when she took on south African citizenship (a country she has lived in since the age of three). Last year I tried to ‘renew’ my passport but was told it’s not possible. I then tried to apply under option as I was born before 1985. But this was rejected as I had previously held a dutch passport. Would my first passport have been applied for under option? Can I not argue that I was much too young at the time and therefore the expiring of my passport was not due to my negligence as I was only 6 or 7 at the time.
    Thanks in advance

  23. Hi! Like everyone else here, I’m also trying to regain my Dutch citizenship. I was born in the US, in 1953, but before my parents took US Citizenship. Not realizing the laws, I was in my 30s before I called the Netherlands Consulate and was told I was too late. Now, with the frightening political situation here, I am determined to at least try to get a NL passport. The rules are so confusing, I’ve decided to just move forward and hope for the best.

    1. If you were born in 1953 and your father was an NL national on your date of birth, then you acquired NL nationality automatically through your father and not your Dutch mother as prior to 1 January 1985, NL nationality was acquired solely via the Dutch father (and only through the Dutch mother in very limited circumstances which do not apply to you from the facts you have presented).
      Under the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap of 1892 (WNI (1892)), you had until age 33 as a dual NL national to make your desire known to the NL authorities you wished to retain your NL nationality. As from the facts you have stated you did not make such a declaration to the NL authorities, you lost your NL nationality under Artikel 7 WNI (1892) at age 33: “Nederlanderschap wordt verloren: voor zoveel betreft Nederlanders buiten het Koninkrijk en buiten de Republiek Indonesie geboren, door, behalve in dienst van het Koninkrijk, woonplats te hebben buiten het Koninkrijk en buiten de Republiek Indonesie gedurende tien achtereenvolgende jaren, tenzij de afwezige voor het verstrijken van die termijn aan de bij artikel 12a bedoelde authoriteit kennis geeft, dat hij Nederlander wenst te blijven.” (born 1953+21years =1973+10 years=1984 (age 33). Any of the option provisions to have your lost NL nationality restored and which came into effect on 1 April 2003 and expired on 31 March 2005 do not apply to you as you lost your NL nationality prior to 1 January 1985 (in 1984) when the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (RWN (1985)) replacing the WNI (1892) entered into effect.

  24. I am a Dutch citizen who has been living in the USA (Green Card) since the early 1980s. My Green card is current.
    My Dutch passport was renewed in the USA in March 2010 and expired in March 2015. I did not get a chance to renew it yet.

    Tow quick questions:
    1. I assume I just need to renew my Dutch passport before March 2020 (5 years after it expired) to not lose it completely?
    Thanks in advance for your confirmations and feedback.

    2. My wife is American (I married in 2014). Is there a site with instructions for application of dual citizenship (Dutch and US citizenship)? I searched but did not find anything with specific steps so far.

    If you have the answer to question 1, that is my main concern.

    1. Apparently even if your passport has expired you might be ok. According the Dutch consulate in Sydney you need to have had a citizenship document like a passport or similar issued within the past ten years! So if your passport was issued back in 2010 then it falls WITHIN the ten year rule even though it has expired. Don’t stress you should be ok.

    2. If NL nationality is the only nationality you hold, then under NL and international law you cannot lose it even if your NL passport is expired. Why? Because otherwise you would be stateless. None of the “verliesbepalingen” regarding NL nationality apply to you because, as stated, the only nationality you have is Dutch; you are not a dual national. Also, since 1 April 2003, if you are married to a foreign national or are in a registered civil partnership with a foreign national and which can be recognized under NL law, then you may now naturalize to that foreign nationality and retain your NL nationality. However, if you do not reside in 1) NL or 2) Sint-Eustatius, Bonaire or Saba or 3) Aruba or 4) Curacao or 5) Sint-Maarten or 6) in any other member state of the EU, then you must apply for AND RECEIVE IN HAND (the application in itself is not sufficient; you must actually receive the document in hand), then you will lose Dutch nationality. Therefore, within 10 years of the issuance date of the previously-issued NL document (an NL passport or national NL identification card or a Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate/Verklaring Nederlandse nationaliteit), you must apply for and receive a new one in hand. Upon the issuance date of the subsequent document, a new 10-year period starts to run. Example: you apply for an NL passport on 1 January 2018 (since 9 March 2014 all NL documents are valid for 10 years; only for children under 18 are NL passports only valid 5 years). You must request and receive in hand a new document prior to 31 December 2027 (10 years) IF AND ONLY IF you do not live in any of the geographic areas hereabove referenced. You may hold both nationalities now, as stated, since 1 April 2003 and not lose your NL nationality. However, if you are single and you naturalize to the foreign nationality, you will automatically lose your NL nationality.

  25. I was born in The Netherlands in 1938,moved to Canada in 1957, became a Canadian at age 70,yes rather late! Lost my Dutch nationality,but at this point would like to move back there!
    Is this still possible? And what about Health Care?

    I would love a reply to that and know where I am at!

    Thank you Corrinne De Zeeuw.

  26. Hi,
    At the ripe old age of 69 I am considering applying for my first Dutch passport. I was born in the U.K. to a Dutch father who died just before I was born. Having lived in the UK/EU all of my life do any time restrictions come into play when applying for a first Dutch passport. Hope someone can advise.

    1. I’m under the impression one of your parents needed to be a Dutch national when you turned 18, and think it relates to dual nationals, but then I don’t know if that requirement was in place when you turned 18
      It’s worth looking at the Rijksoverheid website and information on the embassy site. I received my passport in January (phew) and my sister hers today 🙂
      Perhaps as a starting point

    2. If your father was a Dutch national and such is stated on your birth certificate, then you were automatically born an NL national under Artikel 1 of the Wet op het Nederlanderschap en het Ingezetenschap of 1892 which states “Nederlanders door geboorte zijn… het wettig kind van een Nederlander die binnen driehonderd dagen voord de geboorte van het kind overleed.” If you are 69 in 2017, then you must have been born in 1948 (2017-69 = 1948). Under the WNI you would have had to make a declaration to the NL authorities you wished to retain your NL nationality within 10 years following the age of majority, which in your case was on your 33rd birthday in 1979 (21 was the age of majority in NL until 1988: 1948+21=1969 + 10 = 1979 (age 33)). As you did not make such a declaration to the NL authorities, you lost your NL nationality under Artikel 7 WNI (1892) at age 33: “Nederlanderschap wordt verloren: voor zoveel betreft Nederlanders buiten het Koninkrijk en buiten de Republiek Indonesie geboren, door, behalve in dienst van het Koninkrijk, woonplats te hebben buiten het Koninkrijk en buiten de Republiek Indonesie gedurende tien achtereenvolgende jaren, tenzij de afwezige voor het verstrijken van die termijn aan de bij artikel 12a bedoelde authoriteit kennis geeft, dat hij Nederlander wenst te blijven.”

  27. Hi, can anyone shed light on the process of getting a visa to work in the Netherlands for the one year option to regain Dutch Citizenship?

    I had an informal meeting with the IND in Den Haag and he looked over my documents and agreed I was Dutch at birth. (I was born to a Dutch father in Canada). He said I needed a job offer, in writing, but did not elaborate further. Has anyone been through the process of getting a visa for non temporary purposes to live and work in Nl? Do you just walk into the IND with your job offer in hand?

    I greatly appreciate any help with this,


  28. Hello

    I would appreciate any help any one here can give me. I am one of the unfortunate souls reading this thread that did not apply for their Dutch passport in the 10 year time limit as I was unaware of the law. I turned 28 last year august so I just missed the gap and stopped being Dutch without even knowing it.

    Even though I was discouraged by the embassy I applied for my Dutch passport. I then got asked to come collect it, and to my surprise and joy received a valid passport. Over the weekend, I booked and paid for flights to immigrate to Germany in three weeks, I informed my work and my boss that I would be leaving and I have even started organizing accommodation, storage and transportation for all our boxes. I am also in the process of selling my car. Today I get an email from the Dutch Embassy saying they made a mistake and I need to return the passport or they will put me on the passport alert register. Can they really take it away? After I have spent all this money, informed my job of the change and turned my life upside down? The embassy is also really far and I have had to take leave each time to apply, collect and now to return it I will also have to take leave from my job! Is there anything at all I can do? Is there anyway to fight it in 3 weeks?

    I am doing this from South Africa.

    Thank you for any advice or help.

    1. Hi Samantha, that sounds like a challenging situation! I am not sure if anyone reading this can help, in this situation I would recommend perhaps contacting an immigration lawyer. Good luck. Renee

    2. Hi Samantha,

      My name is David. I live in Cape Town. My situation is almost similar to yours, though I will only be applying for my passport tomorrow. I would just like to know what eventually happened in your situation. Did you have to return your passport eventually?

      Warm regards,


    3. Your case is a case of “administratief verzuim”. You may appeal the decision, but the Dutch courts almost always side with the NL authorities on cases regarding NL nationality. The facts in your case are unfortunately quite clear that you had not applied for an NL passport or NL national identification card or a Bewijs van Nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate by your 28th birthday but that one was inadvertently issued to you after you had already turned 28.
      If you were 28 in 2017, then you were born in 1989. Under Artikel 15(1)c of the Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap (1985) it clearly states: “Nederlanderschap gaat voor een meerjerjarige verloren indien hij tevens een vreemde nationaliteit bezit en tijdens zijn meerderjarigheid gedurende een ononderbroken periode van tien jaar in het bezit van beide nationaliteiten zijn hoofdverblijf heeft buiten Nederland, Aruba, Curaçao en Sint Maarten, en buiten de gebieden waarop het Verdrag betreffende de Europese Unie van toepassing is, anders dan in een dienstverband met Nederland, Aruba, Curaçao of Sint Maarten dan wel met een internationaal orgaan waarin het Koninkrijk is vertegenwoordigd, of als echtgenoot van of als ongehuwde in een duurzame relatie samenlevend met een persoon in een zodanig dienstverband.” To prevent the loss of NL nationality by the dual NL national NOT residing in the aforementioned geographic regions, all you needed to do to “renew” your NL nationality would be to request and receive in hand 1) an NL passport or 2) a Bewijs van nederlanderschap/Dutch nationality certificate or 3) a national NL identification card once every 10 years. In your case, that would have been up to your 28th birthday and then once every 10 years after that if and only if you do not reside in any of the geographic areas referenced above. Hooftstuk V (Verlies van het Nederlanderschap, Artikel 15, lid 2: “De periode, bedoeld in het eerste lid, onder c, wordt gestuit door de verstrekking van een verklaring omtrent het bezit van het Nederlanderschap dan wel van een reisdocument of Nederlandse identiteitskaart in de zin van de Paspoortwet . Vanaf de dag der verstrekking begint een nieuwe periode van tien jaren te lopen.”
      A Bewijs van Nederlanderschap is very easy to obtain. Unlike an NL passport or national NL identification card (which may only be applied for in person under NL and European Union law), the Bewijs van Nederlanderschap may be applied for via post and is a much cheaper alternative. It costs about EUR 30.00 which is set by the NL government.

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