6 In Expat Life/ Netherlands

The Process Of Getting Dutch Citizenship: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

If you are wondering what it actually costs to gain Dutch nationality and become a Dutch citizen, you’ve come to the right place. This post shares an overview of the process and costs, based on my own situation of renouncing British citizenship for Dutch citizenship. Luckily the total cost is under 2,000 EUR, but it’s not far from it when all the processes are added up!

My Situation

As of 2021 I have been in the process of getting Dutch Nationality through naturalisation. Since I was living in the Netherlands for more than 5 years. Ultimately also meaning that I was ending my British citizenship during the nationalisation process, since dual citizenship was not applicable for my situation. 

The Process and Costs Of Obtaining Dutch Citizenship

So the process on how to obtain dutch citizenship is a long one, at least for me it was, so don’t expect everything to be done and smooth if you are starting in the same situation as I did. I started the process in 2021 with the full knowledge that I was not going to keep my British citizenship. This was due to processing this not based on marriage but based on continuously living in the Netherlands for more than 5 years. 

The costs shared are rounded up or down to the nearest full number. With the process being in order too.

The Beginning Phase – Dutch Language Exams

So here I want to share my process and costs that I have spent over the last 2 years to gain Dutch citizenship and to stop my British citizenship. I start from the very beginning back in 2021… 

First the Dutch language exams, which were the main 4 exams for speaking, reading, writing and reading at a cost of 180 EUR. At the time I took these it was in 2021, so they were 45 EUR each. This was a good start for me since I passed them all on the first try. I have since heard they have gone up in price to 50 EUR each as per 2022. If you fail one test, you have to of course pay again to take it again, so this could be much more expensive depending on your level of Dutch.

For those not with a EU nationality, it was also mandatory to complete a 5th test about the Netherlands back in 2021. However this was not applicable for myself so I am unsure of the costs or if this is still the case for 2022 onwards. 

Next was small costs for the passport photos. These had to be new, and since I didn’t have any recent ones, it costed me 12 EUR at a local shop. 

The Dutch Passport and Citizenship Application

The third step is the actual application fees to start Dutch citizenship. This was the fee that you need to pay directly at your city hall appointment once you have passed all 4 language exams and have the final certificate. The total fee that I pinned on their little payment machine at the appointment was 900 EUR. At this appointment I also had to sign 2 additional forms; 1 confirming that I was giving up my British citizenship due to the request of Dutch citizenship, and the other confirming the process due to Brexit meaning I no longer needed a visa afterwards for the Netherlands. If you wish to change your last name (maybe if its not easy to say in Dutch), then I believe you can also change it with a form at this same appointment.

FYI I see for 2022 the costs are now 945 EUR per application. You can also do this cheaper if you and your partner are applying for Dutch citizenship at the same time, allowing a joint application for 1206 EUR combined. 

The Waiting Phase

Next for me was waiting at least 6 months until I had my Dutch citizenship confirmed, to which I could then request a Dutch passport at the city hall. I was glad it took only 6 months, as they share it’s usually between 9 and 12 months. Once confirmed, I made a new appointment at city hall and requested a standard passport with no urgency, so the price was 94 EUR at the time. I used a same passport photo for the application as above, so that was no additional costs. 

When I picked up my Dutch passport (which was after only 2 weeks waiting), my Brexit work permit visa was of course no longer required. This needed to be handed in at the same time to be officially destroyed. 

The End Of British Citizenship Phase – 2nd Applications

As the next step in the process was to send my Dutch passport to the UK Government for confirming my new nationality, I would have been left without any official ID while waiting. It can take up to 6 months for the government to check and confirm this change. As I had travel plans during this time, I needed valid ID to travel with so I made an appointment at city hall for this, using the same passport photos again. The ID card was sufficient to travel with, as I was only travelling within the EU. Else it would not have been possible. It was 74 EUR at the time of request.

So now I was at the point that I had my shiny new Dutch passport, my Dutch ID card and also my British passport. So I now needed to send my Dutch passport to the UK along with the completed UK Government application form to stop British citizenship. It was a 10 page document completed online in their portal, and then to be printed and sent. This to my surprise costed me 440 EUR for processing, as well as 17 EUR to send the application as signed delivery. 

The Final Phase – Informing IND Dutch Government

This previous step took another couple of months of waiting, and simply one day the Renunciation of British Citizenship letter came in the mail sharing the application was processed. However here was a big ugly error from the UK Government, is that they sent this letter without any signature or stamp, so it was like they put it in the post without even checking it. It took me 4 weeks to chase them via email and calls and after providing proof that my letter was not signed, they sent a new one with signed delivery in the 5th week. This was for once costs on them for once! 

Finally I was at the stage that I could upload the signed confirmation letter of this renunciation of British Citizenship. This was to finalise the confirmation of ending my British citizenship to the Dutch government via the IND. So I attached a copy of the signed and stamped letter via the IND portal. But again I ran into another issue that of course this letter was signed and stamped for the UK, and not yet legalised for the Dutch government. So I had to send the whole letter back to the UK with the request of legalisation. Costing 30 GBP since it was 1 document, plus 17 GBP for sending it back to me, equalling 56 EUR. This process takes around 15 working days from them receiving it to sending the legalised version back.

I’m now at the (dare I say it) final stage of waiting* for the final legalised letter to be sent back to me, which I can then upload to the Dutch IND government as proof. This should be the final step and I am not expecting any more costs, but if there are, I’ll update the post! 

*Update: This paragraph above was written in June and I got the legalised letter sent back to me at the end of July. I submitted it as soon as I got it to the IND portal online. By August 2 weeks later, the IND have 100% confirmed my file is now closed! So the full process for my citizenship is now fully complete!! 

Cost Summary Of Gaining Dutch Citizenship and Renouncing British Citizenship

Here are all my final costs of acquiring Dutch nationality added into a table, resulting in 1,773 EUR in total. 

4 Dutch language exams (reading, writing, speaking and listening) at 45 EUR each 180
New passport photos 12
Dutch citizenship application fee 900
Netherlands passport once application was confirmed 94
Dutch ID card 74
UK Government application fees to stop my British Citizenship 440
Sending the application to the Liverpool UK Government office 17
To get my Renunciation of British Citizenship letter legally signed and stamped 56
Total in EUR 1773

Summary Of The Dutch Citizenship Process 

The Good

Well the good and main thing to highlight is that after 2 years I’m officially a Dutch citizen! Yay! It was all worth the wait and I’m happy to now have a shiny new red passport with Dutch nationality. As by choice, I will now be able to live and work without a visa in the Netherlands as well as travel easier within the EU again. I also look forward to working abroad in another country, so this will help me for that too. 

The Bad

With the bad aspects, I want to focus on the time of waiting for everything. The quickest thing completed in the whole process was the 15 minute passport photo session, whereas the rest of the process ultimately took me around 2 years total. This includes the additional waiting time with the unsigned letter and the overall UK and Dutch government processing times for each applications. 

The Ugly

The ugly part (let’s be honest) is the cost, but I know its nothing compared to other citizenship requests elsewhere and spread over 2 years the total of 1773 EUR is not that ugly. But surely the 900 EUR application fees for Dutch citizenship should at least include getting the Dutch passport as well! 

Another ugly part is the fact that the UK Government sent my confirmation letter of renunciation without even signing and stamping it the first time, causing even more delays. A silly human error that ultimately caused much more time and stress sorting it all out. 

If you’ve gone or going through the same process, let me know in the comments with your experience!

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  • Reply
    Sandra Ans
    5th July 2022 at 9:25 am

    Very interesting post, but I am shocked at how complicated and expensive this experience was! My brother is now changing his citizenship to German and it costs around 500 Euro for everything together. Wow, such a big difference! Nevertheless, I am happy that you made your dream come true! Congratulations!!! 🙂

    • Reply
      9th July 2022 at 5:39 pm

      500 EUR wow haha! Thanks and good luck for your brothers citizenship too!

  • Reply
    15th January 2023 at 11:41 am

    I am about to renounce my citizenship and I never realized it was this complicated?? Did the IND explicitly specify that the document had to be legalized? 🙁 some other Brits say they did it before Brexit and didn’t need the documents legalised, but maybe after brexit it’s a different story…

    How long exactly did you wait for the reply from the British government with your confirmation of renunciation…?
    Kind regards

    • Reply
      17th February 2023 at 7:31 am

      Sorry for the late response!! For me, it had to be legalised and they would not accept non legalised documents in my application. It took a few more weeks for the reply about confirmation of renunciation 🙂

  • Reply
    22nd March 2023 at 11:24 am

    Sorry to hear the process was so painful. I’m currently starting the journey – and apparently to get started you need 2 appointments at the gemeente as part of the application process.
    I just took my first appointment and the earliest was 6 months from now (wow). What was the waiting time for you between appointment 1 and 2 at the municipality? I’m hoping it is not another 6 months 🙁

    • Reply
      19th July 2023 at 6:38 pm

      I hope your journey is going well (sorry for late response your comment was a little lost on my site!). I hope your process was smoother and less stressful than mine!!

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