Civic integration

The Civic Integration Act makes it mandatory for certain groups of people to integrate in the Netherlands. There are also groups of people who can decide to take an integration course on a voluntary basis.

For everybody who would like to integrate or is required to integrate in the Netherlands.

Did you receive your residence permit after 1 January 2013? And do you have a civic integration requirement? You will get a letter from the Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO). The letter states how much time you have to pass the civic integration exam: 3 years as of the date you received your residence permit. This is your ‘integration period’.

  • You are responsible for your own integration.
  • You have to look for your own integration course.
  • You have to pass the civic integration exam within the 3-year integration period. It is important for you to go through the civic integration process. If you do not participate, you could get a fine from DUO. And it can affect your residence permit.

Civic integration course

The municipality does not provide any courses. You need to arrange your integration course yourself. You can take an official course. More information can be found at link). You are allowed to prepare for the exams in your own way: at home, with a private instructor, in a neighbourhood centre and/or online. It is up to you.

Borrowing money for the civic integration course

On the website of DUO(External link) you can read about whether and how you can borrow money.

Would you like more information? Look at the website Inburgeren in Nederland(External link).

You do not have an integration requirement? Then you do not have an integration period and you are not required to take the civic integration exams.

Did you get your residence permit before 2013? Then you received a letter from the municipality about your civic integration requirement. This letter states when you need to pass the civic integration exam: your ‘integration period’.

Do you need help with your civic integration process? Send an email to

Did you not pass the civic integration exam within the integration period? Then the municipality will ask you to come in for a talk. If you do not have a good reason for the delay, you could get a fine of € 200. Your integration period will then be extended by a maximum of 2 years. If you are still not integrated after this period, you could get a fine of € 400.

The new Civic Integration Act took effect on 1 January 2022. It is now the responsibility of municipalities to assist newcomers in learning Dutch as quickly as possible. And to participate in daily life. By making sure that they take language lessons, find work or get qualifications. Because participating in Dutch society is the best way to integrate. The new Act places priority on an individualised programme and a speedy process.

Warm welcome and a fast start

Newcomers (status holders, family migrants and other migrants) will get a warm welcome in The Hague. They will be given personalised guidance in preparing for the civic integration exam so that they can fully and quickly take part in the daily life of the city. The municipality will devise an individual Civic Integration and Participation Plan (PIP) for each participant. The plan will contain a tailor-made integration programme. The municipality will look at what participants are capable of learning and how self-reliant they can be.

Do you have a civic integration requirement? Then you need to pass all the exams within your integration period. You can apply to take these exams at DUO. More information can be found on the website Inburgeren(External link).

Taking a participation declaration course and signing the participation declaration is an important part of the civic integration procedure. It is important that you take part in the course at the Dutch Council for Refugees (VluchtelingenWerk).

Read more about the participation declaration procedure on the website of DUO(External link) (in Dutch).

If you pass your civic integration exams, you will get a diploma from DUO.

Would you like to become a Dutch citizen? Then you must have an integration diploma. More information about naturalisation can be found under Apply for Dutch nationality.

If you have any questions, contact the SZW customer service. Do you have questions for the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)? Go to link).


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