Civic Integration Examination
As of 15 March 2006, certain
categories of aliens seeking to settle in the Netherlands who need
an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV) to enter the country will
have to take an integration test before coming to the Netherlands.
This mainly concerns people who want to marry someone in the
Netherlands or join family members. Religious leaders (such as imams
or other clergy) coming to work in the Netherlands will also have to
take the examination.
This requirement does not apply to
MVV applications submitted to a Dutch mission or to the Immigration
and Naturalisation Service (IND) in the Netherlands (through the
advisory procedure) before 15 March 2006. Applications to take the
civic integration examination can only be made as of that date.
What is the civic integration
It is a test that an applicant must
take at the Dutch embassy or consulate in his/her country of
residence before travelling to the Netherlands. People applying for
an MVV must first prove that they have passed the examination. You
need an MVV to apply for a residence permit which is necessary for
a stay of over three months in the Netherlands. The civic
integration examination is an oral test given in Dutch. Candidates
will be tested on their knowledge of Dutch society and their command
of the Dutch language. Anyone who prepares properly should be able
to pass the examination.
It is not possible to take the
examination at honorary consulates, nor are candidates who pass the
examination able to submit an MVV application for family
reunification/formation at honorary consulates.
Before arranging with the embassy to
take the civic integration examination you have to pay the
examination fee (350) into the bank account of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands. To start this procedure, you
first need to fill in the application form, which will be available
here starting 15 March 2006.
To find out whether you have to take the civic
integration examination, go to the Immigration and Naturalisation
http://www.ind.nl/EN/index.asp, and click
Wizard: planning to stay in the Netherlands.
If you want to know more about the
examination, you can order an information leaflet on
http://www.ind.nl/EN/index.asp and click
The embassy cannot provide teaching material
or preparation material for the examination. If you want to know
more about the examination and how to prepare for it, go to
2007: higher pass level for spoken Dutch in civic integration test
On 1 December 2007, changes are expected to be made to the Spoken
Dutch test that prospective immigrants have to take under the Civic
Integration Abroad Act. Research conducted by the Netherlands
Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) shows that the
current proficiency levels required to pass the test are below the
A1-minus level of the Common European Framework of Reference on
which they are based.
The test itself will not change, but the method of grading will. The
level required to pass will remain A1-minus. The pass level is
expected to be raised from 1 December 2007 by requiring candidates
to give a higher proportion of correct answers.
At the request of the House of Representatives, the minister is
currently commissioning further research to ensure that the new pass
level is appropriate. If this research contradicts the TNOs
findings, the pass level will have to be examined yet again. This
may not be done by 1 December 2007. But for the time being, it
remains the target date.
The new grading
system for the Spoken Dutch test will become effective on 1
enrol for the test and pay the fee before 15 September 2007 will
have the guarantee of being able to take the test before the
pass level is raised.
enrol or pay after 15 September 2007 will not have this
guarantee. They will be able to take the test as places become
The test fee must
be received by Ministry of Foreign Affairs by 15 September 2007
at the latest. Candidates should therefore take account of the
time required by the bank to process payment.
As soon as they
have received their confirmation of payment, candidates must
contact the Netherlands embassy or consulate-general in time to
make an appointment to take the examination
Candidates who ask
for their test date to be postponed will not have the guarantee
of being able to take the test before the pass level is raised.
Frequently Asked Questions about
What are the implications of the
Civic Integration Abroad Act (Wet inburgering in het buitenland)?
The Act entered into force on 15
March 2006 and sets an additional condition for obtaining a regular
temporary residence permit, namely that people must first have a
basic knowledge of the Dutch language and Dutch society before they
come to the Netherlands. This basic knowledge will be tested by
taking an examination, the Basic Civic Integration Examination, in
their country of residence.
The entry requirement only applies to
those persons who:
1. must have an authorisation for
temporary stay (known as MVV) to enter the Netherlands, and
2. are obliged as newcomer, under the
terms of the Civic Integration for Newcomers Act (Wet inburgering
nieuwkomers), to participate in a civic integration programme on
arrival in the Netherlands.
Why this Act?
The act is the result of the Dutch
Cabinets Outline Agreement dated 16 May 2003, which reads: Any
person who wishes to settle permanently in the Netherlands must
actively take part in society, learn Dutch, be aware of Dutch values
and abide by the rules.
What is the object of the Act?
Foreign nationals who voluntarily
choose to permanently settle in the Netherlands are expected to
prepare themselves abroad for their arrival in the Netherlands. As
integration in Dutch society is a lengthy process, it is important
that newcomers have a basic command of Dutch and some idea of the
society they will be joining before their arrival in the
Netherlands. This will help them integrate better after their
arrival in the Netherlands.
At which groups is the Act targeted?
The obligation to take the Basic
Civic Integration Examination before coming to the Netherlands
applies to persons aged between 16 and 65 years who:
1. must have an MVV to enter the
2. are obliged as newcomer, under the
terms of the Civic Integration for Newcomers Act, to participate in
a civic integration programme on arrival in the Netherlands.
It primarily concerns people who want
to form a family (by marriage for example) with someone in the
Netherlands or who want to join family members already living in the
Religious leaders coming to the
Netherlands for the purpose of employment will also have to take the
Basic Civic Integration Examination.
Young people who have to attend
The Civic Integration for Newcomers
Act applies to young people aged 17 years or over and therefore,
they will also have to take the Basic Civic Integration Examination.
Young people aged 16 years will only have to take the Basic Civic
Integration Examination if they are not obliged to attend school
(for more information on compulsory education,
please see the website of Postbus 51:
The Civic Integration for Newcomers
Act does not apply to foreign nationals who only want to come to the
Netherlands temporarily, such as students, au pairs and work
migrants, for example. Therefore, the act does not apply to them.
They do not need to take the Basic Civic Integration Examination in
their country of origin.
Are exemptions granted?
The following groups of people are
exempted from taking the Basic Civic Integration Examination (Dutch
Language test and Knowledge of Dutch Society test) (Section 17 (1)
of the Aliens Act 2000 (Vreemdelingenwet 2000).
persons of Australian, Belgian,
Canadian, Cypriot, German, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French,
Greek, British, Hungarian, Irish, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese,
Latvian, Liechtenstein, Lithuanian, Luxemburg, Maltese,
Monegasque, New Zealand, Norwegian, Austrian, Polish,
Portuguese, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Czech, Vatican,
American, Swedish or Swiss nationality;
persons of Surinamese nationality
who have completed a minimum of primary education in the Dutch
language in Suriname or the Netherlands, and can show this by
means of written proof (certificate, testimonial) issued and
authenticated by the Surinamese Ministry of Education and Public
persons who are coming to the Netherlands for a temporary
reason, such as study, au pair work, exchange or medical
persons with a work permit, self-employed persons and knowledge
family members of a person in
possession of an asylum residence permit.
These categories of foreign nationals
will not therefore have to take a Basic Civic Integration
Examination. However, once in the Netherlands, they will have to
follow (the rest of) the civic integration programme if they are
newcomers as defined in the Civic Integration for Newcomers Act.
What does the Act mean for asylum
migrants and their family members?
The Act will not affect the position
of asylum migrants. Anyone who qualifies for a temporary residence
permit on the grounds of being an asylum migrant does not need an
authorisation for temporary stay (MVV). The spouse, partner and
child of the asylum migrant who has been admitted need not take the
Basic Civic Integration Examination in their country of origin if
they wish to come to the Netherlands for the purpose of family
reunification (this is laid down in Section 29 (1) under e and f of
the Aliens Act 2000).
Once asylum seekers have been
admitted to the Netherlands, they will have to follow (the rest of)
the civic integration programme in the Netherlands.
Does this Act also apply to Dutch
citizens who were born outside the Netherlands (such as, for
example, people from the Antilles)?
No, the Act does not apply to these
people. Therefore, they do not need to take the Basic Civic
Integration Examination, as the Aliens Act 2000 does not apply to
The Basic Civic Integration
What is the aim of the Basic Civic
The Basic Civic Integration
Examination aims to verify whether people who wish to qualify for an
MVV meet the requirements of command of the Dutch language and
knowledge of Dutch society, as has been laid down in the Aliens Act.
Listening and speaking skills in the Dutch language and knowledge of
Dutch society will be tested in the Basic Civic Integration
The examination programme has been
derived from the subject matter described in the Advice on the Level
of the Civic Integration Examination Abroad of the Standards Civic
Integration Requirements Advisory Committee (Civic Integration
Tested, Franssen Advisory Committee, February 2004).
Which tests must be taken?
The Basic Civic Integration
Examination consists of two parts:
1. Knowledge of the Dutch Language,
2. Knowledge of Dutch Society.
Knowledge of the Dutch Language
In the Dutch language test, the
required basic level will be level A1- of the Common European
Framework for Modern Languages. Only oral skills (listening and
speaking skills) will be tested, which means that illiterate people
will also be able to take the examination. A command of the Dutch
language at level A1- means that the examination candidate
understands a limited number of familiar everyday words and basic
sentences that relate to his/her immediate personal life and to the
bare necessities of life; and only in direct contact with Dutch
speakers who are used to conversing with foreign speakers, when they
speak slowly and clearly. The examination candidate can also express
himself/herself to a very limited degree, in fact only with the
assistance of isolated words and standard formulas (Formulaic
Speech), in a small number of areas that are related to his/her
immediate personal life.
The listening and speaking skills
part of the examination includes responding to tasks and answering
questions by means of which a measurement can be taken of the extent
to which examination candidates can understand Dutch spoken at a
normal rate and are able to respond to this intelligibly and at a
normal rate of conversation.
This part of the examination contains
a total of 50 items. The items are randomly selected per type of
task from a large item bank, in such a way that each examination
candidate is presented with a different set of items. The listening
and speaking skills part of the examination consists of 5 tasks.
1. Repeating sentences
The examination candidate hears
separate sentences, spoken at a normal rate of speech and has to
repeat these sentences. The sentences vary in length from 3 to 15
words. The sentences presented become increasingly more difficult.
2. Answering short questions
The examination candidate hears short
questions, spoken at a normal rate of speech, and answers the
questions with a single word or short sentence. The questions are
about basic information. The examination candidate does not need to
have any specific knowledge about Dutch culture, history or other
themes in order to answer the questions.
3. Repeating sentences
This part of the examination is the
same as the first task: sentences - new ones - will again be
presented and will have to be repeated.
The examination candidate hears a
word and responds by saying a word with an opposite meaning.
5. Retelling stories
The examination candidate hears two
short stories told at normal rate of speech and has to retell these
short stories as well as possible.
The answers given will be assessed
for pronunciation, fluency, sentence construction and vocabulary.
Knowledge of Dutch Society
Besides testing the Dutch language,
the government feels that knowledge of Dutch society should also be
tested. This part of the basic examination may not require a better
command of Dutch than that required for the language examination.
This means that the examination candidate must have a command of
oral skills at level A1-. The Knowledge of Dutch Society part of the
examination includes 30 questions that correspond to images selected
from the film Coming to the Netherlands. The questions assume that
examination candidates have seen the film Coming to the
Netherlands (in their own language and/or in Dutch) and that they
are able to answers questions via the telephone. The questions cover
seven subjects from the film Coming to the Netherlands:
geography and living in the
Netherlands; history; constitution, democracy and legislation; the
Dutch language; parenting and education; health care; work and
income. These are short questions, spoken at a slow rate of speech
and must be answered with a single word or phrase. Three types of
questions are asked:
How can I register to take the Basic
Civic Integration Examination?
You can register to take the examination via
the website of the IND (www.ind.nl)
Go to the registration form via
the website of the IND. You or your sponsor can fill in this
A message, stating the payment
details and a unique identification number, will be
automatically sent to the email address that you or your sponsor
You or your sponsor will transfer
the examination fee (350) to the bank account of the Ministry
for Foreign Affairs. Please note: it is important to quote the
payment identification number and the name of the person who is
going to take the basic examination.
Once payment has been received,
you will receive at the email address provided a message
acknowledging receipt of the payment and informing you that you
can contact the Dutch representation in the country in which the
examination has to be taken, in order to make an appointment to
take the examination.
You may also register in writing. You
can request a registration form from the IND (0900-1234561). This
procedure does, however, take longer than the digital procedure.
Where will the basic examination be
The basic examination will be held at
the Dutch embassy or consulate general abroad. If there is no Dutch
embassy or consulate general in your country of continuous
residence, then the examination will be held at the nearest Dutch
representation in a neighbouring country.
What is the procedure at the
Once you or your sponsor have
transferred the examination fee in accordance with the applicable
procedure and have received acknowledgement of receipt of this
payment, you can contact the Dutch representation to make an
appointment. If the payment has not yet been made or only partial
payment has been made, you will not be given an appointment.
You will report to the Dutch
representation at the agreed date and time. If you are unable to be
present at the agreed date and time, you must timely notify the
embassy or consulate general and you can make a new appointment. If
you fail to arrive at the agreed time, the embassy staff member will
determine whether you can still take the examination or will have to
make a new appointment.
The staff member will check that you
have not brought to the examination aids, such as for example a
mobile telephone, which you are not permitted to use during the
examination. You will be asked to temporarily hand in your personal
Then the staff member will verify the
validity of your proof of identity and you will be registered. Your
personal data will be entered into the computer and a digital
photograph and your fingerprints will be taken. After this
registration, you can start the examination.
The staff member will give you
instructions about the procedure to be followed during the
examination and about the examination itself. Once the staff member
has made sure that you have understood these instructions, you will
start the Knowledge of Dutch Society part of the examination.
After completion of this part, you
will have a short break.
Then you will start the Knowledge of
the Dutch Language part of the examination.
After completion of the examination,
the staff member will inform you when and how the results of the
test will be announced.
How will I be examined?
You will be examined via a telephone
that has a direct connection with a computer. You must respond in
the correct manner to the questions asked by the computer.
The language test will take
approximately 15 minutes.
The test on knowledge of Dutch
society will also take approximately 15 minutes.
How will I know whether I have
The results of the language test and
the test on knowledge of Dutch society will be assessed by the
computer system. If a pass is obtained for both parts of the basic
examination, you will have passed. The embassy will inform you of
the test results. You may submit an application for an MVV as soon
as you have been informed that you have passed the basic
examination. All other requirements for an MVV will, of course, have
to have been met.
Which language is used in the basic
Both parts of the examination, Dutch
Language and Knowledge of Dutch Society, will be examined in Dutch.
The part of the examination concerning Knowledge of Dutch Society
will not require a better command of Dutch than that required for
the language test.
Can I take the examination again?
You can take the basic examination as
often as is necessary. However, you will have to fill in a new
application form each time and pay the examination fee of 350.
How long will a basic examination
pass be valid?
A pass will be valid for 1 year. You
must therefore submit an application for an MVV within 1 year after
passing the examination.
How much will the Basic Civic
Integration Examination cost?
The Basic Civic Integration
Examination will cost 350.
When should the basic examination be
taken, before or after applying for an MVV?
An application for an MVV can be
rejected if the person who wants to come to the Netherlands is
unable to produce examination results showing that he/she has gained
the necessary basic knowledge of the Dutch language and Dutch
society abroad. You are therefore advised to first pass the Basic
Civic Integration Examination before applying for an MVV.
Preparing for the Basic Examination
Will the government provide courses?
No. It will be up to you to decide
how you want to prepare for the Basic Civic Integration Examination.
The government does not set any rules and will not provide courses.
An education pack has been compiled in order to prepare you for the
examination. An education pack costing 63.90 can be purchased from
either Dutch bookshops or via Internet bookshops. Your sponsor in
the Netherlands can buy this pack and send it to you. The pack
a film about the Netherlands on
DVD or video;
a booklet with images from the
a CD containing all the questions
that may come up during the Knowledge of Dutch Society part of
the examination, and
three practice Dutch language
tests with which to practise at home.
a manual explaining how to use
You can use this education pack to
prepare yourself for the Basic Civic Integration Examination.
In addition to this, there is a lot
of teaching material available in the Netherlands, some of which can
also be used independently by examination candidates. The person who
wants you to come to the Netherlands can send you this teaching
How can I - or my partner - best
prepare for the examination?
Preparing for the Knowledge of Dutch
Language part of the examination
Various books for learning Dutch
can be purchased both in bookstores and on the Internet. Many of
these include cassettes or CDs that you can use to practise
with. You can use these for example to listen to Dutch sentences
or do pronunciation exercises.
You will be examined via the
telephone. You can practise by speaking Dutch on the telephone
with your partner or with someone else who speaks Dutch. If you
do not understand the person you are talking to, ask him/her to
repeat what he/she has said. Also ask him/her to correct your
pronunciation of Dutch.
You can familiarise yourself with
the sound of the Dutch language by watching and listening to
Dutch language TV, films or songs on video, DVD or CD. This will
help you to listen carefully in Dutch and to pronounce Dutch
Watching and listening to the
Dutch version of the film Coming to the Netherlands (this film
is included in the education pack) will also help. So will
practising the 100 questions for the Knowledge of Dutch Society
part of the examination.
Are you well prepared? Use the
TIN codes in the education pack to sit the three Knowledge of
the Dutch Language practice tests. By doing this, you will
familiarise yourself with the examination.
Preparing for the Knowledge of
Dutch Society part of the examination
You can prepare yourself for this
examination by using the materials provided in the education
pack. Watch the film in your own language for as often as is
Afterwards, watch the film again,
but this time in the Dutch language.
Watch the film per theme in your
own language and then in the Dutch language.
Practise answering the questions
from the photo booklet on each of the themes. Listen to the CD
while at the same time reading the written questions and
Listen to the questions on CD.
Repeat the answers.
Put the paper to one side! (In
the examination, you will only be given one photo booklet and
will only hear the questions. You will not be given any written
Practise the questions and
answers as often as possible and as often as you need
(practising once will not be enough. You must practise at least
4 times until you are able to pronounce all of the answers
Practise answering the questions
by mixing them up, not just in the order given.
Speak aloud when practising,
slowly and clearly.
Try to practise a lot using the
telephone either with your partner or someone else who speaks
Dutch; focus on your pronunciation, speak clearly and not too
Also practise the start of the
examination. Watch the last part of the film again the
examination procedure. You will hear the following Say the
name of the city and country where you are now". You say the
name of your city and country.
Watch the film again several
times in the Dutch language. Now that you are familiar with the
questions, you will understand far more. This also enables you
to learn many of the words you will need for the language test.
How much time will I need to prepare
myself well for the examination?
You will need about 50 -75 hours to
prepare for the Knowledge of Dutch Society part of the examination.
You will need about 250-300 hours to
prepare for the Dutch Language part of the examination.
The more you practise speaking Dutch
with your sponsor, the quicker it will go.
What is the level of the examination?
A command of the Dutch language at
level A1- means that the examination candidate understands a limited
number of familiar words and basic sentences that relate to his/her
immediate personal life and to the bare necessities of life; and
only in direct contact with Dutch speakers who are used to
conversing with foreign speakers, when they speak slowly and
clearly. The examination candidate can also express himself/herself
to a very limited degree, in fact only with the assistance of
isolated words and standard formulas (Formulaic Speech), in a small
number of areas that are related to his/her immediate personal life.
Is this level not too high?
The level of the examination is
reasonable and attainable.
Attaining the A1- level will require
a great effort on your part.
If you pass the examination, you will
demonstrate that you are prepared, motivated and ready to settle in
Dutch society. Once you are in the Netherlands the knowledge you
have acquired will help you to get off to a good start in settling
down and integrating in the Netherlands.
For more information on the level of
the examination, please see the report of the Standards Civic
Integration Requirements Advisory Committee, Advice on the Level of
the Civic Integration Examination Abroad.
Where can I buy the education pack?
What does it cost?
You can buy the education pack in
registered bookshops and Internet bookshops. The pack costs Euro
63.90. You can also order separately 3 practise Dutch language
Is the DVD suitable for all types of
DVD player and VCD player in each country?
Yes, the DVDs in the education pack
can be used throughout the world. Each education pack contains
several DVDs that can be used on both the NTSC and the PAL/SECAM
You can select the DVD that is
suitable for you or your partner.
The manual for your appliance contains more
information on the system requirements. For more information, see
Are the books in the education pack
also available in different languages?
No, each pack contains a manual in
all the languages in which the film is available.
Each education pack also contains a
photo booklet containing images but no text. You can use this photo
booklet to prepare for the Knowledge of Dutch Society part of the
For more information on the contents
of the pack, see
Do I need a computer to use the
practise tests in the education pack?
No, you will not need a computer to
be able to practise but you will need a telephone. You connect with
the computer via the telephone line. More information can be found
in the manual for the pack.
You will need a computer with an
Internet connection to request the score of your practice test. If
you do not have a computer, you can use a computer in public
facilities, an Internet cafe or at the home of family or