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Hi I was hoping someone might be able to shed some light on this situation for me. I have searched relentlessly but have been unable to find a clear answer to my query. My mother's mother was born in Holland on the 13/02/1939 and emigrated to Australia in 1956. She became an Australian citizen in 1958 or 1959. She was married to an Australian man when my mother was born in 1965 as was my mother when I was born in 1993. Am I eligible for a Dutch passport?

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    Probably not, but maybe. What did your research show, and what do you have trouble understanding? The answer depends on when everyone was born, and on whether their parents were married at the time, and on whether your grandmother naturalized as Australian, and if so, on when, so please edit that into your question. – phoog Oct 15 '16 at 13:07
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    You are eligible for a Dutch passport if you were Dutch when you were born and haven't lost your Dutch nationality. You were Dutch when you were born if your mother was Dutch when she was born and did not lose her Dutch nationality before you were born and, depending on when you were born, whether she was married to your father may be relevant. Your mother was Dutch when she was born if your grandmother did not lose her Dutch nationality before your mother was born, and again, whether she was married to your grandfather at the time is probably relevant. You haven't added enough info to answer. – phoog Oct 17 '16 at 4:59
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    One thing that works in your favor: your grandmother probably retained her Dutch nationality when she naturalized in Australia because she seems to have been under 21 at the time. But Dutch women married to non-Dutch men either lost their Dutch nationality or couldn't pass it to their children; I don't remember which, and I don't remember when that law changed, but I think it was in 1985. So we need your mother's date of birth, your grandmother's marital status on that day, and your date of birth and probably your mother's marital status on that day. – phoog Oct 17 '16 at 5:05
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You may be able to become a Dutch citizen, but I am skeptical. if so, you'll need your mother's cooperation. I am not able to answer the question with certainty because the law is very complex and I am more familiar with the rules surrounding paternal transmission of Dutch nationality. This should give you enough information to start with, though. You should probably continue by consulting with a Dutch immigration lawyer, though you could also go directly to the Dutch consulate.

To start with, your grandmother must have been a Dutch national when your mother was born. Because your grandmother was naturalized before she turned 21, she may have retained her Dutch nationality. However, she may have lost her Dutch nationality if her parents naturalized before she turned 21, so you'll need to find out about her parents.

I am also unsure whether she would have lost her Dutch nationality when she married your Australian grandfather at some point before your mother was born. If she did not, your mother may be able to apply for Dutch nationality through the "option procedure." For an overview, see https://www.government.nl/topics/dutch-nationality/contents/becoming-a-dutch-national.

For specific information on the option procedure, see https://ind.nl/EN/individuals/residence-wizard/dutch-citizenship/option. Your mother would qualify under the last bullet point:

You were born or adopted before 1 January 1985. Your (adoptive) mother is Dutch and your (adoptive) father is not (latent Dutch).

I am not certain whether the option procedure would grant your mother retroactive nationality. If it does, then you would qualify under direct operation of law, because the law changed on January 1, 1985, before your birth. From https://ind.nl/EN/individuals/residence-wizard/dutch-citizenship/citizenship-by-law/Pages/default.aspx:

Each child is a Dutch citizen when at the time of birth:

  • The mother is a Dutch citizen and the child was born after 31 December 1984 (the child does not have to be born in the Netherlands), or
  • ...

I suspect, though, that your mother's Dutch nationality would not be retroactive, in which case you would be out of luck.

Warning: you should take care of this before you turn 28. If you are a dual national, you will lose your Dutch nationality after 10 years of living outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the EU. This 10-year period begins when you reach the age of 18 years, so it expires on your 28th birthday. You can stop the 10-year clock by getting a Dutch passport or other official document attesting to your Dutch nationality. When you get such a document, the clock starts ticking again immediately. In practice, this generally means that you must get a passport every 10 years, and you cannot allow the passport (which is valid for 10 years) to expire.

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