The intergenerational impact of naturalisation reforms: the citizenship status of children of immigrants in the Netherlands, 1995–2016

Marie Labussière*, Maarten Vink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


For many children of immigrants to Europe, being born in a
European country does not give them rights of citizenship. To
acquire citizenship of the country of their birth, they typically rely
on their parents’ naturalisation. While many European countries
have tightened requirements for citizenship over recent decades,
the impact of new regulations on immigrants’ children propensity
to naturalise has gone largely unexplored. This paper analyses the
impact of two restrictive legislative changes in the Netherlands:
the re-introduction of a dual citizenship restriction in 1997, and
the introduction of civic integration requirements in 2003. Using
register data and event-history models, we analyse the acquisition
of Dutch citizenship by children born in the Netherlands
between 1995 and 2010 to immigrant parents. We find that
the dual citizenship restriction puts families off naturalising while
mandatory civic integration sees them postpone naturalisation.
The intergenerational impact of naturalisation reforms is also
reflected in the extent to which both parents are involved in the
naturalisation process. Children eligible under stricter
requirements are more likely to naturalise with one parent instead
of both, in contrast to earlier eligibility cohorts. These findings
shed light on key family dynamics in the acquisition of host
country citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2742-2763
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number13
Early online date4 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • citizenship
  • legal status
  • migrant families
  • naturalisation laws
  • second-generation
  • Citizenship

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