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My husband's parents were both Dutch citizens who immigrated to SA in 1951 and 1952. They never gave up Dutch citizenship, so my husband, who was born in SA and has always lived and worked in SA, has had dual citizenship, Dutch/SA, for many years, and so have our two children.

Our son is working in the Netherlands now and our daughter is busy applying to work there, so we might also consider living in the Netherlands. Is it possible for me to get Dutch citizenship as a spouse? If so, how do I go about getting it? We got married in 1980, 38 years ago.

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At this point you, without any Dutch ancestry of your own and never having lived in the Netherlands, do not appear to qualify for Dutch citizenship. However you don't need Dutch citizenship to be able to live in the Netherlands with your Dutch partner. He will need to sponsor a residence permit for you and, depending on your situation, this would either be through the EU rules (easier, but requires that he has previously asserted rights as an EU citizen) or through the Dutch rules.

  • She might actually be a former Dutch citizen. As I understand it there was a time when a woman acquired Dutch citizenship automatically by marrying a Dutch man, but I don't know when that ended. It might have been in 1985, though. But she would have lost this nationality under the 10-year rule, in one form or another. – phoog Jul 31 '18 at 0:02
  • @phoog Yes, and in this case, I think the ability to get citizenship immediately after legally residing in three Netherlands may still be easier than the option procedure. – Eric Aug 3 '18 at 19:46
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You would need to legally reside in the Netherlands and demonstrate that you are sufficiently integrated. At that point you could naturalize and retain your existing citizenship (provided that South African law does not strip you of citizenship if you naturalize elsewhere).

The general requirements are listed at the below link: https://ind.nl/en/dutch-citizenship/Pages/Naturalisation.aspx

Normally, you must have resided in the Netherlands for either 3 or 5 years prior to naturalization, but according to the below link, you are exempt from this requirement as you and your husband have already lived together for 3 years: https://ind.nl/en/Pages/Exceptions-5-year-term-nationalisation.aspx

This page explains how, as the spouse of a Dutch citizen, you are not obliged to give up your existing citizenship when naturalizing: https://ind.nl/en/Pages/Renouncing-your-current-nationality.aspx#No_renunciation_nationality%23no_renunciation_nationality

As your husband is a Dutch citizen, you can obtain a residence permit on that basis.

The biggest obstacle may be demonstrating you are integrated, which involves demonstrating proficiency in Dutch and some familiarity with Dutch cultural norms and values. If you can speak Afrikaans, then picking up Dutch is typically not that hard so the norms and values may be where you must spent your effort. You can find some details on the exams that prove you are integrated here: https://www.inburgeren.nl/en/integration-in-the-netherlands/naturalising.jsp

  • If she's a former Dutch citizen, she has other options as well. – phoog Aug 3 '18 at 16:18

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