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Nationality is the relationship between an individual and a state. States can decide from themselves how their nationals can gain their nationality. The only restriction that is given is that there has to be a genuine link between the person who wants to gain the nationality and the state to which he is applying. This has been shown in the Nottebohm case (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala).
The basic principle of obtaining a nationality is through jus soli or jus sanguinis.
Jus soli is Latin for right of soil and this is the right by which nationality or citizenship is established if you are born in the territory of the state which you will be receiving the nationality from.
Jus saguinis is Latin for right of blood and is the right by which nationality or citizenship is established not by place of birth but by having one or both parents who already have that nationality.
These two ways to obtain nationality are of course not the only ways. There are also people who have been born in a different state and who have parents with a different nationality but for some reason feel more connected with another state. For example if they are living in another state for a long period of time. That's why many states have made it possible for people like this to obtain their nationality as well. This is could naturalization. This procedure can be and is almost always different in each state. In some states you have to do a test on the history and culture of that states. Other states require you to speak the language. And in some states you can get the nationality by living in that state for a certain amount of time.
As you can see there are a lot of different criteria that states can have and this is why I'm going to see what the differences are between the naturalization procedure in Ireland and the one in the Netherlands. After I have established the differences I can then say in what state it is easier for a non-national to become a national.
Ways to obtain the Dutch nationality
There are different ways you can obtain the Dutch nationality. The Dutch use the jus sanguinis way, which is through the bloodline. If one or both parents are Dutch then so are you. This happens at birth, when you are adopted by Dutch nationals, through recognition, if you are a foundling but also if you're a third generation immigrant. So if your grandfather was an immigrant from Turkey to the Netherlands and your parents were born here and so were you then you are automatically a Dutch national.
If you don't have any parents who are Dutch you can apply for the Dutch nationality upon application. Applying by option is a simplified naturalization procedure. To be able to apply for the Dutch nationality this way you will have to be a 2nd generation immigrant. You will also have had to live here from the age of four for about 15 years. They chose the age of four because that means you will have gone to school in the Netherlands.
The procedure this essay is going to focus on is the naturalization procedure. There are a few criteria that have to be met.
You will have to have reached the age of 18 to go through this procedure. A minor can't apply for this on their own. Children under the age of 18 will be allowed to be added to the application of their parents.
You will have to have a permanent residence permit to stay in the Netherlands or at least a valid residence permit with a permanent reason to stay like family reunion. And not like staying here because you are studying in
You will have to have lived in the Netherlands permanently and of course legally for at least 5 years before you can apply for the naturalization procedure. Time spent as a student with a temporary permit for studying in the Netherlands will also count.
The Dutch government also want their nationals to be well integrated in Dutch history and culture. So you will have to do a test where they ask you all different questions about Dutch culture. Once you pass this test you will be eligible for the Dutch nationality. You will also have to be able to speak, understand and write the Dutch language before you can become a national.
The last requirement is that in the four years before you apply for this procedure you can't have had any criminal sentences, training order, community service or high monetary penalty. This is because the Dutch government wants everyone to participate properly in society and you can't reward a criminal with giving him the Dutch nationality.
With the Dutch nationality of course come benefits as well as obligations. Once you become a Dutch national you automatically become a European Union citizen as well. This brings even more benefits a long with the nationality.
Being a Dutch national means that you can vote in the elections, you can work and live freely within the Netherlands without needing a residence permit and renewing it every few years. Apart from that you can also be a politician in the Dutch government and be elected by other nationals. There are other professions within the Netherlands which can only be occupied by nationals. These professions are policemen, soldiers, politicians and mayors. If you don't want to be restricted in the work you will be doing I would recommend becoming a national.
Being a European Union citizen means that you can not only work and move freely within the Netherlands but it also means you can work and move freely within the European Union which is of course a huge benefit to have (art. 20 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). This also means you can vote in European elections or be elected in European elections.
Once you are a Dutch national you will also be provided with diplomatic protection. This means that if your rights or interests have been injured by another state than the Netherlands will take diplomatic and other action on behalf of you towards the state in question.
Dual nationality is the possibility of having two nationalities at once. Each state can make its own rules concerning dual nationality. This means that it is not always possible to keep your first nationality if you apply for a different one.
If you want to become a Dutch national you will have to be ready to renounce your other nationality. The Netherlands is quite strict in this field. You normally have to give up your other nationality unless you fall under the scope of exceptions.
If you were born in the state of the nationality that you have at the moment and have or had your principal residence in that state when you acquired that nationality you will be allowed to keep it once you apply for the Dutch nationality.
If, before you reached the age of 18, you had your principal residence in the state of your other nationality for an uninterrupted period of five years you will also be allowed to keep this nationality once you become Dutch.
The last exception for not being allowed dual nationality is if the person you married possesses the nationality that you would like to acquire.
How to submit an application for naturalization
You should first look into if you are eligible for the option procedure, seen as this is an easier way and takes less time to get the Dutch nationality. If you are not eligible for this procedure you have to send your application for the naturalization procedure to the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the Netherlands.
If the Immigration and Naturalization Service finds that you are eligible for the Dutch nationality, then you will be granted the nationality by the head of state. In this case the Queen of the Netherlands. The procedure will cost between € 500 and € 1000. And it can take between 6 and 12 months for the application to finalise. Once you have been granted the nationality you will have to attend a mandatory naturalization ceremony were you will receive a written confirmation of your Dutch nationality.
If the Immigration and Naturalization Service finds that you aren't eligible then they will inform you by letter. And you will be able to appeal against this decision.
Ways to obtain the Irish nationality
Article 9 of the Irish constitution states how a person can become Irish. Irish citizenship can be obtained in many different ways. First of all most Irish citizens become Irish by birth or descent. There is a mixture between the principle of jus soli and jus sanguinis in the way to obtain the Irish nationality.
Article 9 of the Irish constitution is applicable to people who were born in Ireland on or before the first of January 2005. According to this article you can become an Irish citizen;
- 'if you are born on the island of Ireland, including northern Ireland, and if you are not entitled to the citizenship of any other country and
- if at least one of your parents is an Irish citizen (or entitled to be an Irish citizen), a British citizen, a resident of the island of Ireland who is entitled to reside in either the Republic or in Northern Ireland without any time limit on that residence or a legal resident of the island of Ireland for three out of the 4 years before the child's birth (time as a student or asylum seeker does not count)'.
If you were born before the first of January 2005 then there is a different way to obtain the Irish Nationality. The most used principle was the one of jus soli, but you were also able to obtain the Irish nationality based on the principle of jus sanguinis. The latter was applied to benefit the people who were born abroad with Irish parents.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement resulted in the fact that every person born on the island of Ireland was entitled to be a Irish national. This was mainly for the people born in Northern Island so that they could identify themselves as being Irish. This rule was later changed, because there was a fear that it was being misused by the immigrants of Ireland who didn't have a genuine link with the state.
You can also be granted honorary citizenship according to section 2 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1956. It states that you can be granted this kind of citizenship as a token of honour because you have done something good for the nation. It's called honorary citizenship, but it's actually the full form as you have all the rights and obligations and passport as a normal Irish citizen. An example was Tiede Herema, who was a Dutch businessman kidnapped by the IRA.
The Irish minister for Justice holds the power to grant a person the Irish nationality based on the naturalization procedure. It is granted under a number of criteria. These are as followed.
You will have had to have reached the age of 18. If you are under the age of 18 and you want to apply for naturalization you will have to be married.
You are supposed to be of good character. They judge this by having Ireland's national police force make a report on your background. If you have any criminal records or on-going proceedings this will be taken into account whether or not to grant you this nationality.
You will also have had to have a permanent residence in Ireland for at least 5 years. The year before you apply, you will have had to have stayed in Ireland continuously. If you are married to an Irish citizen though, this period is shortened to 3 years. Not all of the time spent in (Northern) Ireland will be counted though. The time that you have spent seeking asylum or staying in the country illegally will not be counted. And if you are a non-EEA national then the time that you have spent in Ireland studying will also not count.
You must also intend of staying in Ireland after you have obtained the Irish nationality.
With the Irish nationality you get certain benefits. Once you become a Irish national you automatically become a European Union citizen as well. Because you have an Irish passport you will have more benefits within the European Union than you would if you applied for a nationality outside the European Union.
Being a Irish national means that you can vote in the elections, you can work and live freely within Ireland without needing a residence permit and renewing it every few years. Apart from that you can also become part of the Irish government and be elected by other nationals. There are some professions within Ireland which can only be occupied by nationals. Like politicians and soldiers.
Being a European Union citizen means that you can not only work and move freely within Ireland but it also means you can work and move freely within the European Union which is of course a huge benefit to have (art. 20 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). This also means you can vote in European elections or be elected in European elections.
Once you are an Irish national you will also be provided with diplomatic protection. This means that if your rights or interests have been injured by another state than Ireland will take diplomatic and other action on behalf of you towards the state in question.
As stated before in this essay, each country can make up its own rules on dual nationality. Ireland is very easy on this subject seen as you are allowed dual nationality. The only thing you will have to think of is whether you current nation will allow it as well. Because if you are for example a Dutch national who wants to obtain the Irish nationality as well. This will not be a problem for Ireland. But the Dutch rules state that if you were to apply for Irish nationality you will have to give up your Dutch nationality.
So this means that it depends on the state of your first nationality, whether or not you are able to have a dual nationality with one being Irish.
How to submit an application for naturalization
There are different stages of the application for naturalization. The first stage is called the initial processing stage. Once you have filled in your application form and sent it off, you will be informed within a week if your application has passed the first stage. After this first stage you will be given a reference number and it will be looked at with all the other applications. At this stage there are no fees attached. If the authorities need any further documentation they will ask you for it and if you reply fast then it won't mean your application will be delayed.
Once your application has been approved you will be notified by post. And in most of the cases this is settled within 6 months after applying.
If your application was approved then the letter that was sent to you will have instructions on how you have to complete the procedure before you get your certificate. When you hand in the documentation which is needed and you have paid the fee, you will get an invite to a citizenship ceremony where you will receive your own certificate of naturalization. From the date that is on that certificate you will be considered a Irish national and you will be able to apply for you Irish passport at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Differences and Similarities
The difference between the obtaining the Irish and Dutch nationality by law is that the Irish also used the principle of jus soli. This has now been stopped due to abuse by children of immigrants. But there was a time where they used both principles. The Dutch only take into account the principle of jus sanguinis, so if you're parents are Dutch then you become Dutch as well. However, at if we were to look at children being born from now on. Then these two states are using the same principle, because they both determine the nationality through the bloodline of the child.
The requirements for naturalization are much the same between these two states. They both require the person to be above the age of 18 (with the exception of certain special instances). Secondly, they want their nationals to have lived legally in the country for at least 5 years. Only Ireland makes the exception for people who have an Irish spouse, because then they lower the time limit to three years. Thirdly, they require their nationals to be of good character, which is why they both do background checks and will take your criminal past into account whilst considering the application. The differences between the requirements are that the Dutch are stricter on their nationals knowing the historic and cultural aspects of their country. This is why they have a strict test on these subjects, whereas Ireland does not. As can be seen in this essay Ireland requires their nationals to stay in the country once they have become Irish.
There are no real differences between the benefits that these states have to offer. A national of the state is able to vote, be elected, work, move freely within the territory and have certain jobs in both states. The states are also both a member of the European Union which basically gives you the right to work and move freely within the European Union. So it doesn't make a difference if you are Dutch or Irish on a European level.
The biggest difference is in the fact that Ireland does allow dual nationality whereas the Netherlands is strictly against it (without taking the few exceptions into account which I mentioned earlier). This means that you couldn't have a Dutch and an Irish nationality at the same time. Even though dual nationality is allowed under Irish law, it doesn't mean it will always be possible for you.
There are no real differences between the application for naturalization in Ireland and naturalization in the Netherlands. In both states you have to fill in the application and send it to the department of immigration of the state in question. Following your application you will be informed whether or not you have been granted the nationality. The only difference is that it can take up to a year to finalise in the Netherlands, whereas 70% of the application in Ireland are finalised within 6 months. Afterwards you will have to attend a ceremony in both states where you will receive your certificate. And after that you can apply for a passport and you will be considered a national.
After doing all the research of the naturalization procedures in both states, I have come to a conclusion. There is hardly any difference between the naturalization procedures within these two states at all. It could have to do with the fact that they are both western European countries and have the same basic rules.
The Dutch government is a lot stricter when it comes to the people, who are not yet considered being Dutch, having knowledge of the state. Because the test they have to make before they finish the naturalization procedure is a very difficult one, which even a lot of Dutch nationals would fail if they would have to make it.
For the rest they have much the same requirements. So based on the fact that you will have to pass a difficult test to become Dutch through naturalization, it would be easier to get the Irish nationality through naturalization than to obtain the Dutch nationality that way. In Ireland they don't have such a test, which makes the conditions for the naturalization procedure easier than the Dutch one.
All in all, it doesn't really matter which country you choose because in the end they are both part of the European Union. So you are really considered a citizen of the European Union once you obtain one of these nationalities, which has more of an advantage than just having the Irish or Dutch nationality.