• Before coming to the Netherlands: There are certain civic integration entry-requirements as part of the MVV procedure known as Basic Civic Integration.
  • While living in the Netherlands: Since January 2007, the Civic Integration Act requires most non-Dutch and non-EU nationals living in the Netherlands to speak Dutch and have some general knowledge of the country. This is referred to as Civic Integration.

Please note: EU citizens and highly skilled migrants are exempt; see below under Basic Civic Integration and Civic Integration Act for a full list of exemptions.

Anyone intending to stay in the Netherlands on a temporary basis – for example for the purposes of work, study or staff exchange – and their immediate family are also exempt from the integration requirement.

Basic Civic Integration

If you are planning to stay in the Netherlands longer than three months and you are from a country requiring an MVV, part of your MVV procedure may include the basisexamen inburgering. This exam must be completed in your country of residence (at the embassy) before coming to the Netherlands.

The Basic Civic Integration exam consists of the following parts: knowledge of Dutch society; knowledge of the Dutch language.


You are exempt from the basic civic integration test, if:

  • you are under the age of 18
  • you are from a country not requiring an MVV
  • you are of Suriname nationality and have completed lager onderwijs in the Dutch language and can show a written certificate from the Suriname Ministry of Education and Volksontwikkeling
  • you are living temporarily in the Netherlands (for reasons such as studies, au pair, exchange, medical treatment, etc.)
  • you have a work permit, or are zelfstandig or a highly skilled migrant (partners are also exempt)
  • you are a family member of an asylum seeker with an asylum residence permit

Civic Integration Act

Since January 2007, the Civic Integration Act obliges most non-Dutch and non-EU nationals living in the Netherlands to speak Dutch and have some general knowledge of the country. This is referred to as Civic Integration.

General information

In order to promote integration, the Civic Integration Act obliges most foreigners to take part in language and/or civic integration courses. If you are between the ages of 16 and 65 and come from outside the European Union you will probably need to pass the integration exam.

Permanent residence

Civic integration is compulsory if you wish to obtain a permanent residence permit. You will need to have a sufficient command of the Dutch language (level CEF A2) and basic knowledge of Dutch society in order to fulfil the integration requirements.


As of January 2013, foreigners have to prepare for the integration exam on their own. Information and the conditions for applying for a student loan can be obtained from the organisation DUO: www.inburgeren.nl or 050-599 9600.

Certified institutes

In order to qualify for a loan with DUO for your language course, the course must be provided by a certified provider of integration courses. Course providers with this certification are listed on the Blik op Werk website.


The following people are exempt from Civic Integration:

  • people from a EU/EER country or Swiss or Turkish national
  • people younger than 18 or older than 65
  • people who resided in the Netherlands for eight years or longer between the ages of 5 and 17
  • people with a diploma of Dutch secondary education or professional education (MBO/HBO)
  • people with a work permit
  • highly skilled migrants and their partners
  • other temporary residents (for example students and au pairs)

Further information

For more detailed information about the civic integration programme, please visit: www.inburgeren.nl or contact DUO at 050-599 9600.

If you require further information, call the city information number 14 020 (Monday to Friday, 8:00 to 18:00).