Dual citizenship on the horizon for Dutch citizens in the United Kingdom

On 30 June 2020, the Dutch Senate approved a bill that would temporarily allow dual citizenship for Dutch citizens who reside in the United Kingdom. The bill will enter into force at a later date, but only if the rights of Dutch citizens in the United Kingdom are deemed to be insufficiently guaranteed. Thereby, the amendment aims to safeguard the interests of the approximately 98,000 Dutch citizens residing in the United Kingdom, as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit might compel them to acquire British citizenship.

In principle, Dutch citizenship is automatically lost upon the voluntary acquisition of a foreign citizenship. The bill would introduce a temporary exemption for Dutch citizens who apply for British citizenship between 23 June 2016 and six months after the date on which the bill went into force or alternatively within 18 months after acquiring ‘settled status’. Those who have applied for British citizenship since 23 June 2016 and subsequently lost Dutch citizenship could reacquire Dutch citizenship by declaration. Both provisions are only applicable to persons who uninterruptedly had their principal residence in the United Kingdom between 23 June 2016 and the date on which they acquire British citizenship.

Initially, the bill also included a similar exemption for British citizens residing in the Netherlands, but this provision was later revoked in order to gain the support of a majority in Parliament. The bill was also criticised for its ambiguity, as it is unclear whether it will enter into force. The Junior Minister for Justice and Security, Ankie Broekers-Knol, has stated that the rights of Dutch citizens in the United Kingdom are currently sufficiently guaranteed by the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, but that future developments in this regard will be monitored closely.

For more information on the citizenship policy in the Netherlands check out our country profiles.