Registration certificates

How to obtain a civil status certificate

1. Belgian civil status certificate

2. Foreign civil status certificate

2.1. Foreign nationality
2.2. Only Belgian nationality
2.3. Dual nationality

3. Foreign death certificate

4. FAQ


1. Belgian civil status certificate

If you wish to obtain a copy or an extract of a civil status certificate that was drawn up in Belgium, you can contact the Belgian municipal authority that drew up the certificate.

Even if you are resident abroad, and where appropriate are registered with a Belgian embassy or consulate, the Civil Status and Family Law Service of the FPS Foreign Affairs (C 3.2) and the local Belgian Representation will not intervene on your behalf in the procedure needed to obtain such documents.

 

2. Foreign civil status certificate

NB: for death certificates, see below

Before starting any procedure abroad, ensure that the civil status certificate in question was never transcribed in the civil status registers of a Belgian municipal authority or filed with the FPS Foreign Affairs in Brussels.

To obtain extracts or copies of certificates transcribed in the civil status registers of a Belgian municipality, please contact the relevant municipal authority.

To obtain extracts or copies of certificates filed with the FPS Foreign Affairs, please write to the following address:

FPS Foreign Affairs
Service Dépôt-Actes (Certificate Filing Service)
Rue des Petits Carmes 15
B-1000 Brussels

You can also send your request by fax to +32 (0)2 501 84 69 or by email to:
actes@diplobel.fed.be

Since January 1, 2007, copies or extracts of foreign civil status certificates or judgements and family registers have been issued free of charge.

If the civil status certificate in question was neither transcribed at a municipality nor filed with the FPS Foreign Affairs, a distinction has to be drawn between individuals with foreign nationality, individuals with only Belgian nationality and individuals with dual nationality (Belgian + X), whereby the non-Belgian nationality is the nationality of the country where the certificate was registered.

2.1. Foreign nationality

You have a number of options:

  • You can obtain the civil status certificate yourself either by submitting an online or written request to the relevant local authority (i.e. the civil status office that issued the certificate and not the local Belgian Representation) or, during a stay abroad, by asking the relevant local authority.
  • Where appropriate, friends, relatives abroad, a notary or a local lawyer could submit a request on your behalf. In principle, they can also take care of legalisation and payment of all the costs (i.e. the costs of issue and of legalisation).
  • Alternatively, you can obtain information from your embassy or consulate in Belgium about the procedure for obtaining (and for legalisation or addition of an apostil) of the civil status certificate in the country in question.
    Certifications of civil status issued by an embassy or a consulate are not regarded as civil status certificates.
  • Under no circumstances will the Civil Status and Family Law Service of the FPS Foreign Affairs (C 3.2) or the local Belgian Representation intervene on your behalf in the procedures needed to obtain such documents.

2.2. Only Belgian nationality

You have a number of options:

  • You can obtain the civil status certificate yourself either by submitting an online or written request to the relevant local authority (i.e. the civil status office that issued the certificate and not the local Belgian Representation) or, during a stay abroad, by asking the relevant local authority.
  • Where appropriate, friends, relatives abroad, a notary or a local lawyer could submit a request on your behalf. In principle, they can also take care of legalisation and payment of all the costs (i.e. the costs of issue and of legalisation).

2.3. Dual nationality (Belgian + X)

Finally, if you have not only Belgian nationality but also another nationality (X), note that international agreements prevent us from providing consular assistance to individuals with the nationality of the country where action would be required. If the certificate you want to be issued is drawn up in the country whose nationality you hold, please follow the appropriate procedures with the relevant local authorities (i.e. the civil status office that issued the certificate and not the local Belgian Representation), where appropriate via your Representation in Belgium.

Under no circumstances will the Civil Status and Family Law Service of the FPS Foreign Affairs (C 3.2) or the local Belgian Representation intervene on your behalf in the procedures needed to obtain such documents.


3. Foreign death certificate

You can only request that such a certificate be issued via our services if the deceased was a Belgian or, if he or she had dual nationality (Belgian + X), he or she did not hold the nationality of the country in which he or she died.

If you meet the conditions to request an intervention by us towards obtaining a foreign death certificate, please give the following details when submitting your request: the full name (surname and first name(s)) and date of birth of the individual covered by the certificate; your full name (surname and first name(s)) and the capacity in which you are acting, the type of certificate, the date of death and the place of issue of the certificate.

Please send your written request through the municipality which will transcribe the certificate, to the following address:

FPS Foreign Affairs
Service Etat civil (Civil Status Service)
Rue des Petits Carmes 15
B-1000 Brussels.

Note that when a certificate is issued, this may incur some costs. If that is the case, you will be asked to make a payment to cover these costs.

The certificate obtained is never sent directly to the individual requesting it. Instead, it is sent for transcription purposes to the municipal authority of the last domicile of the deceased in Belgium. In the event that the deceased was never registered in Belgium, the certificate will be sent by default to the City of Brussels for transcription.

Note also that we cannot guarantee a successful outcome to the procedure or specify a time-frame for its completion.


4. FAQ

4.1. What should you do with the foreign civil status certificate you have obtained?

Foreign civil status certificates relating to Belgians can be transcribed in Belgium. Indeed, we strongly advise such transcription because once the certificate has been transcribed, you can easily obtain copies or extracts of the certificate from the relevant Belgian authority. In certain countries, obtaining a copy or an extract of the document can prove very difficult or in some cases even impossible (e.g. due to destruction of the civil status registers in wartime or in natural disasters).

In Belgium, such certificates can be transcribed in the civil status registers of the municipality of your domicile, or of your first abode after your return to Belgium. If you are neither domiciled nor resident in Belgium, you can have the certificate transcribed in the civil status registers of the municipality of your most recent domicile in Belgium or of the municipality where your ascendants were domiciled or of the municipality of your birthplace in Belgium or, in the absence thereof, in the City of Brussels.

4.2. What conditions does a foreign civil status certificate have to meet to be recognised in Belgium?

Foreign civil status certificates must have been drawn up by the relevant foreign local authority in the standard form used in that country. The certificate must have been issued by the foreign authority that drew it up or, in the case of a judgement, by the clerk of the court that passed sentence.

Where appropriate, foreign certificates must be legalised or an apostil must be added to them in the country of origin.

Certificates that have been drawn up in a foreign language must be translated by a sworn translator into Dutch, French or German, depending on the municipality in Belgium where the certificate will be transcribed.

In Belgium, a list of sworn translators can be obtained from the clerk of the court of first instance. A foreign sworn translator’s signature also has to be legalised.

4.3.How to obtain a family register if you got married abroad

If your marriage certificate was transcribed in the civil status registers of a municipality in Belgium, please contact the municipal authority.

The FPS Foreign Affairs automatically issues a family register when a foreign marriage certificate is filed in its archives.

4.4. Is a Belgian civil status certificate valid abroad?

The foreign authorities will decide on this. Where appropriate, the certificate must be legalised or an apostil added to it, and/or translated.