The Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) recently presented a United States citizen client of Franssen Advocaten to the King for naturalization, despite the fact that she was unwilling to sign a statement saying that she was willing to do everything within her power to renounce her US citizenship after becoming a Dutch citizen.
Until now, the received wisdom was that it was impossible for US citizens to demonstrate that renouncing their US citizenship would cause them to suffer enough financial hardship for Dutch law to exempt them from the renunciation requirement. Only US citizens who were married to or had a civil union (geregistreerd partnerschap) with a Dutch citizen at the moment they became naturalized received an automatic exemption from the renunciation requirement, which effectively allowed only those persons to be dual citizens by naturalization. (US law, for its part, largely does not care about dual citizenship with non-enemy states like the Netherlands, but to be absolutely certain, one should always consult an attorney specialized in US citizenship law to be sure that acquisition of Dutch citizenship will not incur the loss of US citizenship.)
However, due to a change in US State Department regulations that was introduced in 2014, a fee of US$2,350.00 is now charged to any US citizen who wishes to renounce or relinquish their US citizenship. Previously, a lower fee of US$450.00 was charged in cases where the US citizen could say that they obtained their Dutch citizenship with the intention of relinquishing their US citizenship.
Having to pay that inescapable fee, which amounts to over €2,000, would not constitute an absolute financial hardship for anyone: for that, Dutch law provides that the fee would have to exceed €8,660.00. But in the case of Franssen Advocaten’s client, the IND accepted that the fee could be seen as a financial hardship relative to her income and assets, since it amounted to more than a month’s income for her; moreover, the total value of all of her assets, as a single person, did not exceed €6,370.00.
This particular path to dual citizenship is therefore only available to US citizens who have an immigration status (such as a long-term resident permit or residence permit for indefinite time) that does not already require them (or their non-Dutch partners) to have a particularly high income (so this path excludes most persons with a kennismigrant or ‘highly skilled migrant’ residence permit), and who also do not possess any significant wealth in the form of (e.g.) savings, real estate or securities. And they must, of course, satisfy all of the other requirements for becoming a Dutch citizen by naturalization, including the requirement of having had a certain number of years of legal residence in the Netherlands and the requirement of passing the inburgeringsexamen.
For further questions, including general questions about Dutch citizenship/nationality law, contact attorney Jeremy Bierbach.