Registration at a Belgian embassy or consulate
Why you should register
Having your name registered in the population register kept by a Belgian consulate or embassy abroad entitles you to benefit from the same services as those provided by municipal authorities in Belgium, i.e. the management of your administrative file. Registering allows the embassy or consulate to assist you more efficiently when issuing an identity card, issuing consular certificates (e.g. residence certificates, registration certificates, certificates of nationality, 'household composition' certificates, cohabitation etc.). You may also participate in some elections in Belgium (federal general elections, and European elections if you reside in an EU Member State).
Foreign nationals who are part of your family may also be entered in the relevant population registers. However, registration does not entitle them to obtain a consular identity card or a passport, nor does it give them the right to be registered as a Belgian voter. If they require consular assistance, they should contact the office representing their country of origin.
By keeping your file up to date you will enable the embassy or consulate to help you more immediately, including in situations when you need emergency humanitarian aid (e.g. accidents, natural disasters, evacuations, and so on).
You must meet three requirements for your name to be registered in the register kept by your embassy or consulate:
- You must be Belgian
- Your must not be registered in a population register of a Belgian municipality
- You must prove that your main residence does actually fall within the area of jurisdiction of the embassy or consulate.
Minors must also meet a fourth requirement: The person(s) exercising parental authority over them must have approved of their registering.
You must submit a number of documents (see below) to prove that you meet these registration requirements.
Belgian citizens who do not meet these requirements, but who are residing abroad for a protracted period of time, may notify their embassy or consulate of their presence, but will not benefit from the same services as 'registered' Belgians (see above).
Based on the proof you submit that you are no longer registered in a Belgian municipality, the consulate or embassy will register you in its register. When you apply to have your name struck from the register, the municipality in question will issue you with a document called the 'model 8' form, serving as proof that your name has been removed from its list.
If you are already abroad, you may request that your name be struck from the population register of your municipality by sending a letter to your local municipal authorities (Lettre à la commune pour demander la radiation des registres). In principle, you should enclose proof of being settled abroad (e.g. in the form of a certificate issued by the local authorities or by a Belgian embassy or consulate, a copy of your local residence permit, or such like).
If you come from another country where you were registered with an embassy or consulate, you will not have a 'model 8' form. This being the case, the consulate or embassy will contact the consular office of your last place of residence and request the transfer of your administrative file.
When you register, you will be asked to produce the following documents:
- A 'model 8' form if you have come from Belgium, or some other proof of deregistration, such as an inscription by your municipality on the back of your identity card stating "struck from the register in [name of country]";
- your Belgian identity card, as issued by your municipal authority, consulate or embassy;
- the questionnaire Inscription à l'Ambassade, duly filled in, dated and signed;
- a photocopy of your passport;
- a photocopy of your long-term visa (a tourist visa will not suffice) or your local residence permit or local identity card. Since the nature of the documents required may differ according to the local situation, we would recommend that you contact your embassy or consulate beforehand.
Once you have registered, please alert the consulate or embassy to:
- Any change in your own civil status or that of members of your family, by submitting an original excerpt from the relevant document, e.g. marriage certificate, divorce certificate, birth certificate, adoption certificate or name change deed);
- any change in the composition of your household;
- any change of nationality;
- any change of address or profession.
The embassy or consulate will incorporate any changes into your administrative file and modify your records in the National Register. The National Register is the central database kept by the Belgian authorities. Amongst other things it lists the names of all Belgians registered in the population registers administered by a municipal authority in Belgium or a Belgian embassy or consulate abroad.
Each person whose name features in the population registers of an embassy or consulate is entitled to access and rectify their data (both the details listed in the population registers and those inscribed in the National Register). For more information on this subject, please contact your respective Belgian embassy or consulate.
Returning to Belgium or moving to another country
When you either move back to Belgium or go to live in another country (for which a different embassy or consulate is responsible), it is definitely in your interest to inform your current embassy or consulate of your departure, preferably in writing.
If you so desire, the embassy or consulate can issue a registration certificate detailing your stay within its area of jurisdiction and mentioning your date of departure. When you return to Belgium your municipality will need this certificate to re-register you. In principle you must report to your municipal authorities within 8 working days of your arrival in Belgium.
Your data in the National Register will be updated by the relevant Belgian municipal authority (if you return to Belgium) or by the Belgian embassy or consulate with which you proceed to register (if you move on to another country).
You will find more information on returning to Belgium on the federal portal site.