Learning Dutch for civic integration
What is the inburgeringsexamen and who has to take it?
The inburgeringsexamen (civic integration exam) can be taken out before coming to the Netherlands or once you start living here:
- The basisexamen inburgering buitenland (basic civic integration examination abroad) that is taken in your country of origin or habitual residence before you travel to the Netherlands if you require an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV)
- The inburgeringsexamen (civic integration examination) that is taken in the Netherlands. This is necessary if you want to become a permanent resident in the Netherlands or a Dutch citizen
Basic civic integration examination abroad
This is a test designed to assess basic knowledge of the Dutch language and Dutch society. You take the exam in Dutch, at Dutch embassies and consulates-general in your country of origin or habitual residence, i.e. the country in which you are entitled to reside for longer than three months, for instance on the basis of a residence permit. You have to take the exam before you travel to the Netherlands. The exam must be taken by foreign nationals between the ages of 18 and 65 wishing to remain in the Netherlands if they come from countries whose residents require an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV). Check what applies to your personal situation on the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst – IND) website: ind.nl/en/Pages/basic-civic-integration-examination-abroad.
There is a specific website ‘Naar Nederland’ (to the Netherlands) that you can consult, which provides information for people who wish to prepare to take the basic civic integration examination abroad. Information pages are provided in English as well as Dutch. On this website are sample questions for the exam, there is also study material that you can buy for more examples and learning.
As the law is amended on a regular basis, you should always check the latest information on the IND’s website links mentioned on this section. The Dutch government website can also provide you with further information: www.government.nl/topics/new-in-the-netherlands.
Civic integration examination
If you were not born in the Netherlands, already possess a residence permit and you want to stay in the Netherlands for an extended period of time or permanently (i.e. you may wish to become a Dutch national), you may need to prove that you have integrated in Dutch society by taking the civic integration exam. If you need to go through this process, you will have to register with the Education Executive Agency – DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs).
Once registered, you will receive a letter from DUO that tells you the start date of your integration period. You then have three years to complete the integration process. Within this period, you must pass several tests which comprises the overall integration exam. After taking each test, you will receive the results within eight weeks. If you are successful in passing all of the tests, you will receive a confirmation letter from DUO. This letter will specify where and when you can pick up your diploma. If you fail any of the tests, you will be allowed to take it again. However, you will be asked to pay again for the test.
You can find examples of tests as well as exercises on www.naarnederland.nl/, a government website about inburgeren.
You are usually exempted from taking the civic integration exam if you:
- are younger than 18 years or older than the state pension age. This age depends on your date of birth. You can check which the state pension age applies to you on the website of the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) .
- are from the European Union, a country in the European Economic Area, Switzerland or Turkey
- resided in the Netherlands and attended school for 8 years or longer between the ages of 5 and 17
- have a diploma or certificate that shows that you have a good knowledge of the Dutch language and how Dutch society works. Please check with your municipality to see what are the valid exemptions
- are staying only temporary in the Netherlands for study or for work
For more information on integrating into the Netherlands and registering for the civic integration examination, we suggest that you visit the DUO website which is available in both English as well as Dutch: www.inburgeren.nl/en.