Essential information about the inburgering exams
Oct 22, 2023


The inburgeringsexamen is a topic that always raises a lot of questions among non-Dutch residents of the Netherlands. Which exams are there? What is the difficulty level? Are they mandatory for me? And how do I get ready for these exams. In this article the most frequently askes questions about the inburgering exams will all be answered.


Which exams are there and who has to take them?
The inburgering exams consist of four language exams (reading, listening, writing, and speaking) and an exam about Dutch culture and society. The reasons why people complete these tests is because they either want permanent residence in the Netherlands or a Dutch passport.


For some exam candidates it is also required do a participation seminar to show that you know enough about working in the Netherlands.

There are two groups who  take the exams. For one group it is mandatory, for the other voluntary: 

  • The group for whom it is mandatory consist of refugees and family immigrants(people who have a temporary residence permit because of their relationship with somebody who already permanently resides in the Netherlands).  If you are in this group you have to complete the exams within three years starting from the moment you receive a letter from DUO (the Dutch educational department that organizes the exams) in which it says that you must integrate.
  • The second group are people who voluntarily take the exams because they want permanent residence or a Dutch passport. Usually these are highly skilled immigrants with a temporary working visa. If you are in this group you must have lived in NL for at least 5 years before you can apply for permanent residence or a Dutch passport. However, you can decide when you want to take the exams. If for instance you complete the exams in the first year of living here, it will still be valid at the moment when you are allowed to apply after having lived here for 5 years.


Note: If you are from an EU country, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland you only have to complete the exams to receive a Dutch passport, not to get permanent residence.


What is the language level of the exams and how long does it take to prepare for them?
Because of changes in the Dutch integration law the required level of the exam is not the same for everybody. Below you can read which level might apply to you.

A: Refugees and family immigrants
If you received the letter from DUO after January 1, 2022, stating that you are required to integrate, your language level is B1. If you received that letter before January 1, 2022, your language level is the easier A2 level. 

B: Integrating voluntarily (mostly highly skilled immigrants with work visa)
If you are voluntarily integrating to get permanent residence or a Dutch passport, in 2024 it seems that you can still apply if you have passed Dutch exams at level A2. At least, in the first part of 2024. For a couple of years already the Dutch government intend to increase the required level of application to B1 for this group of integrators as well, however, it has not yet been decided when exactly this will happen.  

As the level will probably go up to B1 soon and if you want to take the easier A2 exams, it is recommended to take the A2 exams as soon as you can.


What is the price of the inburgering exams?
The inburgering exams cost from €40 to €50 each. Excluding study and preparation costs the integration process costs somewhere between €240 and €390.

Preparation costs can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of euros depending on which language schools and courses you take. However, self-study from the right sources can make the whole process a lot more affordable and less time-consuming.

If you go for an approved language school, there is a chance that you can get a loan from DUO, that you will be able to pay back in 10 years, under the condition that you pass the exams.

If you want an affordable time-saving option, go for online self-study classes. The guided online preparation courses at, can cost less than €9 a month.


How should I study for the exams and how much time will I need to prepare?


How to study for the exams:

The recommended order of taking the exams and studying for them is from easy to difficult / from receptive to productive. This gives you the following order: 


Reading > Listening > Writing > Speaking > KNM


You should already be able to study for and complete the KNM(Dutch culture) exam after having completed reading and listening. However, most students prefer to first focus on the language skills and keep the KNM exam for last.

Another tip that can save you a lot of time and make your studies more effective, is to study different language skills at the same time. Reading and listening, for example, require similar skills and also have similar exams. The same goes for writing and speaking. These also require similar skills and have similar exams.


Finally, it is recommended to study regularly. Pick a couple of days per week to study and stick to it.

The courses at have an intuitive and logical setup which makes it easy to work through the courses. You can study from the courses at your own pace, where and whenever you want. Registration for A2 courses is possible here and for the B1 courses here.


How much time do I need to get ready for the exams?
If you are a beginner or have very little knowledge of Dutch and study 3-4 times a week for 7-10 hours in total per week, you should be able to comfortably take the exams after approximately 6 months. If you already have experience with self-study, you are a quick learner and/or you already have some basic knowledge of the Dutch language the required timeframe can be (a lot) shorter. Some students who already have some basic knowledge of Dutch and have some experience with self-study have been able to prepare for all exams within 2 months, using the self-study courses at


How do I register for the exams?
You can register for your exams and plan a date here. You can only plan your exam date up to two months ahead of the day that you register to take them.


Within 45 days I passed all exams.

This is probably the best course. I am happy to inform that within 45 days I passed all exams. The best part is when KNM course was added. It helped immensely reduce the preparation time from many months to a few days. I highly recommend this course.


It's better than spending lots of money on classes.
The course is very very good, friendly to study alone. In fact it's better than spending lots of money on classes. I passed my exam and I would not have been able to without the course. Thank you guys.


Highly recommended!

Great course. The content is presented in a way that motivates you to keep going. The content and exercises are very well aimed to complete the integration exam. If you have questions, you send an email and get a very quick answer. Highly recommended!