The Belgian parliament adopted an important and significant amendment to the Belgian Nationality Code.
The main changes came into force on 01/01/2013.
Persons who do not legally reside in Belgium will no longer have the possibility to acquire voluntarily the Belgian nationality. Residence in Belgium means: having your name entered in either the population register or the foreign register or the waiting register.
Subsequently, from 01/01/2013 onwards :
- Naturalisation of persons who do not have their principal residence in Belgium, is no longer possible ;
- the Declaration of Option (Option of nationality on the basis of the Belgian nationality of the spouse or Option of nationality between 18 and 22 years) is no longer possible for persons who do not have their principal residence in Belgium;
- the Declaration of possession of status is void;
- Re-acquisition of the Belgian nationality is no longer possible in a foreign country.
The granting of the Belgian nationality to a child and the Declaration stating the intention to retain the Belgian nationality, remain unchanged.
1. Granting of the Belgian nationality to a child
If at least one of the parents is Belgian, born in Belgium, the child born abroad can obtain the Belgian nationality. To have its name entered in the consular Register of population of the Embassy, you have to forward an original birth certificate provided with an apostille and translated, along with the registration form. This step will permit to assign a national number to the child.
If the Belgian parent was born abroad, the child born abroad will not acquire automatically the Belgian nationality. In order to obtain the Belgian citizenship, the Belgian parent has to make a declaration to grant the Belgian nationality to the child before turning 5. The child obtains the Belgian citizenship on the date upon which the declaration is made.
Documents to submit:
- Original birth certificate, duly legalized (see here) and translated into one of the Belgian national languages (see here) ;
- Certificate of nationality and residence of the Belgian parent; this document is prepared by the Embassy for Belgians registered in the consular population register.
2. Declaration to retain the nationality
If you were born abroad after 1st January 1967 and all the conditions apply to your case, you must make a declaration of preservation of the Belgian nationality at the Embassy before your 28th birthday, in order not to lose the citizenship.
This declaration must be made before you turn 28. Please contact the Embassy before this deadline.
As of 28 December 2006, this declaration has not to be renewed every 10 years; as a result after signing the first declaration, you will be Belgian for life.
1. If you were born abroad after 1 January 1967 ;
2. If you never had your principle residence in Belgium between your 18th and your 28th birthday ;
3. If you have another nationality apart from the Belgian nationality;
4. If you have never had a function in the Belgian administration (federal government, communities and regions, etc.) or you never worked for a company of association under Belgian law.
Documents to submit:
- A recent original birth certificate, duly legalised (see here) and translated into one of the Belgian national languages (see here) ;
- A certificate of nationality and residence of the applicant; this document is made by the Embassy for Belgians registered in the consular Register of population.
Please contact the Embassy or the Consulate General in advance for these nationality files.