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The Netherlands: Overseas territories subject to Dutch sovereignty; whether citizens of these overseas territories enjoy the right to live and work in the Netherlands; if so, whether there exist any restrictions on their enjoyment of these rights (June 2005)

Publisher Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa
Publication Date 7 June 2005
Citation / Document Symbol NLD100219.E
Reference 7
Cite as Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, The Netherlands: Overseas territories subject to Dutch sovereignty; whether citizens of these overseas territories enjoy the right to live and work in the Netherlands; if so, whether there exist any restrictions on their enjoyment of these rights (June 2005) , 7 June 2005, NLD100219.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/440ed73820.html [accessed 17 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Territories Subject to Dutch Sovereignty

Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are autonomous regions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Information Please Database 2005; Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005). Cooperation between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the autonomous regions is coordinated by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (Netherlands n.d.c). For information on the regions and their political relations with the Kingdom, please refer to .

The Right to Live and Work in the Netherlands

According to an official of the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Netherlands, in Ottawa, citizens of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba have the right to live and work in the Kingdom of the Netherlands so long as they are in possession of a valid Dutch passport, which is only issued to citizens of the Netherlands (6 June 2005). The official explained that until 1985 individuals from the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba could obtain Dutch nationality only if their father was a Dutch national at the time of their birth (Royal Netherlands Embassy 6 June 2005). In 1985 the law was amended to allow individuals to obtain Dutch nationality if either their mother or father was a Dutch national at the time of their birth (ibid.).

According to information posted on the Website of the IND, the organization that implements immigration and integration policies in the Netherlands, there are two procedures for obtaining Dutch nationality: (1) the option procedure and (2) naturalisation (The Netherlands n.d.a). The IND Website indicates that it is easier and quicker to obtain Dutch nationality through the option procedure, but in order to be eligible for this procedure one must have a valid residence permit in the Netherlands or one of the autonomous regions, and must belong to one of the following categories:

– You are of age, were born in the Netherlands and have lived in the Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles or Aruba continuously since your birth.

– You were born in the Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles or Aruba, you have lived there for an uninterrupted period of at least 3 years and since your birth you have not had a nationality (you are stateless).

– You are of age and you have legally lived in the Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles or Aruba since age 4.

– You are of age, you are a former Dutch citizen and you have lived in the Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles or Aruba for at least 1 year on the basis of a permanent residence permit or a residence permit for a non-temporary residence objective (for instance family reunification or employment).

– You have been married to a Dutch national for at least 3 years and have legally lived in the Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles or Aruba for an uninterrupted period of at least 15 years.

– You are 65 or over and have legally lived in the Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles or Aruba for an uninterrupted period of 15 years.

– You are a minor and, as a result of a Court decision or by law at the time of your birth, are under the joint custody of a non-Dutch father or mother and another person who is a Dutch citizen. Since the start of this custody you have been cared for and brought up by this Dutch citizen for a period of at least 3 years. Since then you also have not had your principal place of residence in your county of origin anymore (The Netherlands n.d.a).

To obtain Dutch nationality by naturalization, a person must meet all the following conditions in addition to having a valid residence permit:

– You are of age.

– You have lived in the Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles or Aruba for an uninterrupted period of 5 years with a valid residence permit. This also means you have always extended your residence permit on time. There are a number of exceptions to this rule.

– You are sufficiently integrated in Dutch society and are able to read, write, speak and understand Dutch. You must prove this by taking a naturalization test. If you successfully complete an integration course (at NT2-level 2) or attain another diploma you will be eligible for an exemption.

– In the last four years you have not been given any custodial sentence, training order, community service order or high monetary penalty.

– You are prepared to give up your current nationality. If you do not give up your current nationality even though you are supposed to, your Dutch nationality may be revoked. There are a number of exceptions to this rule.

– You have a residence permit for a non-temporary objective, such as family reunification (The Netherlands n.d.b).

The embassy official pointed out that simply having been born in the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba does not entitle such individuals to Dutch nationality (6 June 2005).

Other Relevant Information

As of 1 April 2003, Dutch citizens with dual nationality who reside outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands or outside the European Union for a period of 10 years or more will risk losing their Dutch nationality unless they obtain a principal residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or the European Union for at least one year, or they apply for a Dutch passport or proof of Dutch nationality before 1 April 2013 (Netherlands n.d.d). A new 10-year period will start on the day they are issued a passport or proof of Dutch nationality.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004. 28 February 2005. "The Netherlands." United States Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 3 June 2005]

Information Please Database. 2005. "Netherlands Autonomous Countries." [Accessed 3 June 2005]

The Netherlands. n.d.a. IND, the Organisation for Entry into the Netherlands. "Conditions." [Accessed 3 June 2005]
_____. n.d.b. IND, the Organisation for Entry into the Netherlands. "Conditions for Naturalisation." [Accessed 3 June 2005]
_____. n.d.c. Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. "Organisation." [Accessed 7 June 2005]
_____. n.d.d. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "I Have Another Nationality in Addition to My Dutch Nationality. Will I Lose My Dutch Nationlaity If I Live Abroad?" [Accessed 3 June 2005]

Royal Netherlands Embassy, Ottawa. 6 June 2005. Correspondence from an official of the Consular Section.

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: The Netherlands Government Website, Royal Netherlands Embassy (Ottawa).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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