If you are Belgian, all changes to your civil status are governed by Belgian law. Belgian law applies even if you live abroad.
If you live abroad, you must inform your local Belgian embassy or consulate of all changes to your civil status.
Where should a birth be registered abroad?
The birth of a child abroad should be registered with the local authorities who will issue a birth certificate. This document will be recognized in Belgium if the certificate has been issued by the relevant authority in accordance with standard procedures in that country. A Belgian embassy or consulate can also issue a birth certificate for Belgians who are born in the area covered by its remit.
Does a birth certificate have to be entered into the Belgian registers?
A birth certificate issued by another country can be entered into the Belgian registers. This means that it will always be possible to easily obtain full or short form certified copies in Belgium. Further information is available under Registration certificates.
How is parentage established under Belgian law?
Inclusion of the mother's name on the birth certificate is enough to identify the child's mother. If the spouse of the mother has not a filial relationship with the child, a descendant relationship still can be created through adoption.
If the name of the mother is not mentioned on the birth certificate or, in the absence of a birth certificate, the mother still can acknowledge her child.
Maternity can also be established through legal channels.
To establish the identity of the father, regulation differs according to the period.
1. Before 1 July 2007
If the child was born whilst the mother was married or within 300 days following the dissolution of her marriage (by divorce or death), the mother's (ex-)husband will be identified as the legal father of the child.
If the mother remarries within 300 days of a divorce and if the child is born during that marriage, the mother's new husband will be identified as the legal father of the child.
If the mother is not married, the father can only be identified after he has acknowledged parentage of the child. A court can also identify the father.
2. After 1 July 2007
If the child was born within the marriage, the spouse of the mother is the legal father.
However, this rule does not apply if the child was born:
- more than 300 days after the date of the legal confirmation of an agreement between both parties to stay in different places of residence, or after the date of the legal authorization to stay in different places of residence;
- more than 300 days after the date of lodging a mutually agreed divorce petition;
- more than 300 days after the date of the justice of peace¿s decision to authorize the parents to stay in different places of residence and less than 180 days after the date on which this decision has expired or on which the parents actually reunited;
- more than 300 days after the date on which the spouses are registered at different places of residence according to the population register, the aliens register or a waiting list, as far as they have not been re-registered at the same place of residence.
These exceptions do not apply if the spouses have made a common statement at the time of birth.
If the mother remarries within 300 days following one of the three aforementioned data and if the child is born during that marriage, the mother's "new" husband will be identified as the legal father of the child.
In the case of an extramarital child, paternity can also voluntarily be acknowledged or it can be established through legal channels following an investigation.
Does my child have the Belgian nationality?
Further information is available under Nationality.
Which surname will my child be given?
Further information is available under Name.
Further information can also be obtained by contacting:
- Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Registry Department
- The embassy or consulate in your main place of residence abroad