The Civic Integration Act requires that certain groups of people integrate in the Netherlands. There are also groups which can decide themselves to take an integration course.

Who is it for?

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

Integration obligation after 1 January 2013

Did you receive your residence permit after 1 January 2013? If you have to integrate, you will get a letter from the Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO). The letter states the amount of time you have to pass the civic integration exam: 3 years as of the date you receive 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 need to pass the civic integration exam within the 3-year integration period. If you do not take part, you could get a fine from DUO. Not participating can also affect your residence permit.

Would you like more information? Look at the website Integration in the Netherlands.

If you do not have to integrate, then you do not have an integration period and you do not have to take the exams.

Integration obligation before 2013

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

Did you not pass the civic integration exam within the integration period? Then the municipality will ask you to come in for a consultation. 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.

Integration course

The municipality does not provide any new courses. You need to arrange your integration course yourself. You can take an official course. More information can be found at You may also prepare for your 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 integration course

You can read about whether and how you can borrow money from DUO on the website

Civic integration exams

Do you have to integrate? Then you need to pass all the exams within your integration period. You can apply for these exams at DUO. More information can be found on the website

Participation declaration course

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).

Would you like to learn more about the participation declaration course? Look at Participatieverklaringstraject (in Dutch).

Integration diploma

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


Would you like to go through naturalisation? Then you need to have an integration diploma. Would you like to learn more about naturalisation? Go to Naturalisation, applying for Dutch citizenship.

More information

If you have any questions, contact the SZW customer service.
Do you have questions for the IND? Go to: