To obtain Dutch nationality or secure a permanent residency in the Netherlands, one needs to take the civic integration examination in the Netherlands. It is known as “Inburgeringsexam”. Inburgering is, therefore, a civic integration course.
It can be taken either before coming to the Netherlands or once you start living here. After you clear this exam, you’re given a diploma called the Inburgeringsdiploma. The alternative to the inburgeringsexam is the NT2-programme.
Inburgeringsexamen- What’s that?
Learning Dutch is part of the integration process. Most knowledge migrants (kennismigranten) & expats, do not need to have fluency in Dutch due to the international character of their jobs. For them, qualifying for the easier, basic version of civic integration exams is good enough. The exams test whether they’ve sufficient knowledge of the Dutch language and society. So Inburgeringsexam tests the language skills of the integrating citizens. Eindhoven News tries to provide some details of this basic exam, based on the questions that we receive from our expat readers.
The examination structure
The integration exam consists of mainly five parts. You need to qualify in all these five parts to get an Inburgeringsdiploma. These are Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Knowledge of Dutch Society (Kennis van de Nederlandse Maatschappij or KNM). Most of the questions are multiple-choice, except for the writing part. What if you fail the test? You can book your exam again. Of course, you need to pay again.
You may also have to take the Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market(Oriëntatie op de Nederlandse Arbeidsmarkt or ONA) exam, but this will depend on your working situation. At the moment, the level to qualify for these exams is A2. However, you would need a higher level of B1 from June 2021.
Requirements for the Integration exam
So, you’ve been living in the Netherlands for the last five years or more and wish to be integrated. That’s great. The requirement to take the exam is that you have an A2 level of Dutch. Therefore, you need to follow the Beginners Level (A1) and Semi-Intermediate (A2) courses. You need this level to be able to take the reading, writing, speaking and listening exams. However, quite many students have been able to qualify for a few parts while on their way to finishing their A2 level.
Why should I do this course?
-If you need a valid resident permit (when you don’t have a Dutch, Swiss or EU passport).
– If you apply for a Dutch passport.
Best way to learn Dutch
There’re no best ways, but surely several good ways. You can learn Dutch any way you choose, from any school or any teacher, or even through self-study. There’re plenty of good books available and many online resources. The focus of the courses is not only on grammar and sentence construction but also on acquiring knowledge and vocabulary. Topics covered are mostly about daily life, culture, society and geography about the Netherlands.
Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (the Education Executive Agency) is responsible for organising the Inburgeringsexamen and Staatsexamen. You can find more information on the exams at www.inburgeren.nl. DUO informs you about the details of the exam once you register for the same. The maximum waiting time for the results is eight weeks. The results for Listening, Reading, and KNM usually come within a week; the results of the Writing and Speaking sections may take up to 6 weeks.
What’s an NT2 exam? Is it different from the Integration exams?
NT2 exams (Dutch as a Second Language) State exam is the official national exam. Please note: The NT2 diploma gets you Dutch citizenship, and exempts you from the Inburgeringsexamen. However, the NT2 state examination is difficult than the integration examination.
The NT2 State examinations
This exam consists of two parts namely Programme I and programme II.
Programme I (B1 level): Those wishing to study at a vocational institute (MBO) will need a higher language level, B1. They have to pass the Staatsexamen I programme.
Programme II (B2 level): Those wishing to follow a higher professional education or an HBO/ university-level programme will need B2 level.
An Inburgeringsdiploma (A certificate of integration) is needed for many reasons. For some nationals, such a diploma is essential to have the right to live and work in the Netherlands; there are others for whom it is mandatory to obtain a permanent residence permit. Only then they can apply for a Dutch passport. Qualifying in all the 5 (or 6, if applicable) sections of the civic integration examination, gets you an Inburgeringsdiploma!
Is Inburgeringsexam difficult?
Most of the expats find writing and speaking to be difficult. But here’s the answer- preparation for the exams are essential and hence beginning early is the key, as the entire process from learning to qualifying for all the exams, is indeed a lengthy affair. I would surely recommend you to to do it as soon as possible!
For Eindhoven News: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives ONLINE Inburgerings classes at
ON POINT Communications.