Acknowledging Dominican children

As of March this year, children younger than 7 years of age who are acknowledged by a Dutch male citizen will legally receive the Dutch nationality. A press conference was held on this subject yesterday.

A Dutch male acknowledging one child (or more children) from a Dominican mother, has been a legal issue with the Antillean, Dutch, as well as the Dominican authorities for years.
When this person – who has been acknowledged by the Dutch father – applies for a Dutch passport, it is of importance whether the Dominican authorities will maintain this acknowledgement.

The demands and regulations in the Netherlands on this issue have been adjusted through the years. From January 1st, 1985 up to and including March 31st, 2003, article 4, part 1 of the National Law on the Dutch nationality (RWN) applies, which simply states, ‘a minor foreigner will receive the Dutch nationality upon the acknowledgement or legitimating by the Dutch father’.
As of April 1st, 2003, it is applicable that a child acknowledged by the Dutch father could choose to apply for the Dutch nationality in conformity with the RWN, article 6. This article is still effective.
In addition, an ‘accentuated’ version of RWN-article 4 dated March 1st, 2009, states that children younger than 7 years of age, who are acknowledged by a Dutch father, legally receive the Dutch nationality.
For children from the age of seven onwards, article 6 only applies after the acknowledging male proves his fatherhood by means of a DNA-test, which complies with strict quality standards.

Narrow definition
The authorities in the Dominican Republic employ a concise version regarding fatherhood and acknowledgement. Articles 63 and 66 of the Código para el Sistema de Protección y los Derechos Fundamentales de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes (the Law of the Protection System and Civil Rights of Youngsters and Adolescents) of that country, indicate that only the biological father can acknowledge a child.
However, an acknowledgement by a non-biological father can only be quashed by the Dominican court.
This prerogative is so well defined that foreign entities such as the Netherlands-Antilles authorities cannot even make an appeal to the Dominican court for an annulment of the acknowledgement.
The Antillean position in this issue is that as long as an acknowledgement has not been annulled legally, this will have legal consequences, whereby in principle the Antillean government adopts the Dominican acknowledgement.
On the other hand, a Dominican acknowledgement will be refused by the Antilles if for example the child already had a legal father at the moment that he or she was acknowledged by the Dutch father.


A person with a Dominican mother, and acknowledged by a Dutch male, who is not his or her biological father, may apply for a Dutch passport.
This application will not be refused merely because of the fact that the acknowledging man is not the biological father.
Moreover, passport applications may be refused on the usual grounds for refusal as described in the articles 18 up to and including 24 as well as articles 28 and 29 of the Passport Law. In addition, the articles 9, 34, and 35 of the Passport Implementation Order of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (Puna) are of importance in this framework. One of these grounds for refusal regards not being able to submit a valid birth certificate.
Other people not receiving a passport ‘due to a legal decision’, are informed by the Lieutenant Governor as soon as possible, and who cooperates with the Aliens Registration Office (VD) in taking the appropriate provisions for the accommodation of these people on Curaçao.

(Source: National Newspaper Amigoe)

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