Inburgering (integration) diploma is needed for some nationals to have the right to live and work in the Netherlands, to obtain a permanent residence permit, to apply for a Dutch passport. There are exceptions and exemptions, in order to check whether you are inburgeringsplichtig, consult Mijn Inburgering.
The Inburgering exam consists of several parts: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Knowledge of the Dutch Society (KNM), Orientation to the Dutch Labour Market (ONA) (for those who came to the Netherlands after 1 January 2013) and Participatieverklaring (for those who came to the Netherlands after October 2017). Those who work at least 48 hours per month for at least 6 months are exempt from ONA.
When should I take the exams?
I would recommend to do it as soon as possible, as now it is on A2 level and from 2021 (according to the updated information) it will be B1, which is considerably higher. There’s also a new procedure coming (like personal inburgering plan and obligatory language courses) together with the level upgrade.
Also, you never know how busy you may get when the time approaches, so better to have it ready in the pocket to avoid unnecessary stress and hustle in future.
What if I don’t pass Inburgering exam on time?
If you’re inburgeringsplichtig – obliged to pass the Inburgering exam – and fail to do it before the allocated time, you’re going to get a fee (boete) which can get as high as over a thousand Euro. The amount depends on your situation. That’s another reason not to put it off for too long.
I’m not sure my Dutch is enough to pass the exams.
We were also not sure but, with the help of the resources mentioned below, we passed with the marks 8, 9 and 10 out of 10. And we learned Dutch for free (well, almost), without any tutors or expensive courses.
How does it look like?
The exam centre, located in Old West of Amsterdam (the exact location you receive by post after applying for an exam), is easy to find, it’s next to metro and train stations and there’s plenty of parking spaces around.
Next to the examination centre, there’s an interesting cafe, with plenty of books, some light food and drinks.
It’s important to come in advance – you’ll need some time to register, leave all your things in a locker, go to the toilet, after all. If you’re late for your allocated time, you are not allowed to take the exam and the money is not returned.
Preparing for the exam
There are plenty of resources available on the internet which will help you to prepare and determine if your level is enough.
Most important is the official site. The tasks here look exactly the same as at the real exam (the questions differ, of course). It also gives you the score at the end. This site was very helpful in our preparation.
Listening and Speaking: in addition to the above-mentioned site, you can also practise with the methods listed here.
Reading: with the love of the Dutch to the paper post, you’re sure to have enough of reading practice. A dictionary will help to get through it.
KNM: check if there is a KNM course offered locally, read a KNM book, use the following resources that we found helpful: KNM topics overview, Dutch education system (very complicated, this detailed scheme helps to understand it a little bit better).
You’ll need to know the country’s geography too. A nice way to learn it is to use these puzzles. It is also a great way to combine your own learning with playing with your child(ren).
The listening, reading and KNM results you can expect quite soon, even within a week. Writing and speaking are human-checked, so prepare to wait for about 6 weeks. The maximum time of waiting for the results is 8 weeks.
Do you have more questions? Ask in the comments.
By the way, the article gets updated when new information is available. If you find any information that is outdated, please, let me know in the comments 😉