Jul 05 2018

No Guarantees on UK Nationals’ Rights in the Netherlands as Court Dismisses Case


The situation

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal (CoA) recently ruled that the preliminary questions British nationals sought to refer for a preliminary ruling were too vague and held that the case could not be forwarded to the CJEU.

Facts of the case

UK nationals and UK national interest groups brought a case against the Dutch state and municipality of Amsterdam seeking protection of their rights as UK nationals to stay in the Netherlands after Brexit, and asked the Amsterdam court to refer preliminary questions to the CJEU.

The Amsterdam court decided on February 7, 2018 to seek clarification from the CJEU on the impact of Brexit on UK nationals in the Netherlands, and whether UK nationals would be subject to conditions or restrictions with respect to their EU citizenship rights after Brexit.

The Dutch State and municipality of Amsterdam lodged an appeal.

The CoA ruled on the appeal on June 19, 2018.

The decision

  • The CoA agreed with the Amsterdam Court of First Instance that the question concerning the position of UK nationals in another EU Member State should be answered by interpreting EU law.
  • The CoA dismissed the case since UK nationals did not specify which actions they sought the Dutch State and City of Amsterdam to take or to refrain from nor the rights that needed protection.
  • The CoA ruled, however, that the situation was suitable for a court case despite ongoing political negotiations, and that the CJEU would be best placed to advise on EU rights. 



As a result of the dismissal, UK nationals in the Netherlands and in other EU countries have no further information on their legal status after Brexit.

To prepare for Brexit, eligible UK nationals should register with their local Dutch town hall to confirm their residence. This will help demonstrate existing ties to the Netherlands, which should help to claim rights under any post-Brexit agreement.

Fragomen can support in assessing eligibility for Dutch citizenship. In principle, applicants must renounce their current nationality as part of the process. 

Looking ahead

Since the CoA kept open the possibility for future court cases by UK nationals claiming more specific actions and rights, if there are more specific claims, UK nationals may appeal to a Dutch national court. Following such an appeal, the Dutch court would be able to ask the CJEU for preliminary advice.  

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to