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How to Obtain Belgian Citizenship

How to Obtain Belgian Citizenship

When moving to Belgium, many foreign nationals intend to make this relocation permanent, meaning that their ultimate goal is to obtain Belgian citizenship. This status is acquired voluntarily for adult foreign nationals who have lived in the country for a minimum amount of time and who also comply with other requirements.

 Quick Facts 
 Minimum time in the country before applying for citizenship5 years 

Conditions for applicants 

 Meet the conditions for a right of permanent stay in Belgium, as well as those concerning social integration, economic contribution and language knowledge.

 Citizenship for children

When one of the parents is Belgian or has the right of unlimited stay, when the child was born in Belgium and has resided here since birth, when the parents have had their main place of residence in Belgium for at least 10 years. 

 Citizenship by descentWhen born abroad to a Belgian citizen; special conditions apply according to the year of birth. 
Citizenship by adoption 

 Applied for by the adopting Belgian parent.

 Regaining Belgian nationality

Possible, but subject to certain conditions. 

Minimum age for citizenship applications 

 18 years, unless the Belgian parent or adoptive parent submits the application for the minor child.

 Citizenship for dependents who join the permit holder to Belgium

Awarded based on their lawful residence in the country. 

 Citizenship for foreign nationals married to a Belgian citizen

 After living together for at least 3 years or being the parent of a minor Belgian child.

Citizenship application documents  ID card/residence card, birth certificate (translated), marriage certificate and child’s birth certificate (if applicable), proof of social integration (diplomas, vocational training courses, proof of working continuously as an employee), proof of economic participation and of participation in the host community.
Cost 

An initial application cost of EUR 150 applies to commence the application for obtaining Belgian citizenship. 

 Citizenship applications processing department

The register belonging to the municipality in which the main residence of the applicant is located. 

 Exceptional submissions to other authorities

For some applicants who have their main place of residence located abroad, the application can be submitted to the Belgian embassy or consulate. 

 Belgian citizenship objection processing time

The royal prosecutor may object to the granting of Belgian citizenship within 4 months from the receipt of the application. 

Dual citizenship permitted   Yes

Your stay in Belgium

Studying and working in the country can be two prerequisites when deciding to apply for citizenship in 2023. Of course, foreign nationals may also have other reasons for staying in the country long enough so that they may apply to become citizens and some of these alternate reasons can include family reunification or opening a business.

Irrespective of your initial motives for coming to the country and seeking permanent residence, obtaining Belgian citizenship will be subject to a set of conditions that refer not only to lawful stay in the country but also sufficient knowledge of the language and social integration.

If you are interested in obtaining citizenship, our Belgium immigration lawyer can answer any questions you may have about the process, not briefly touched upon in this article. We remind individuals that, although the general conditions for citizenship are the same, each case is different and one’s particular situation in the country will be taken into consideration when the application is evaluated.

How can a foreign national obtain Belgian nationality?

There are two ways in which an individual can apply for Belgian nationality: via a nationality declaration and by naturalization. The latter is the most common form of acquiring Belgian citizenship and this is the procedure that is briefly described by our Belgium immigration lawyer in the following paragraphs.

A precondition for those who are interested in submitting a nationality request with the Belgian authorities in 2023 is that they must have their main place of residence in Belgium. Each municipality keeps a register of population and the foreign national should be included there. A checkup is possible with the local authorities in the area where the applicant resides.

If you want to apply for a residence permit in Belgium, our team can assist you. Obtaining citizenship may or may not be your goal, depending on how long you plan on remaining in Belgium. However, having a proper residence permit, according to the purpose of your stay, is always needed. Our team can give you complete information on the types of permits, permanent residence and citizenship, if this interests you.

Minors can obtain Belgian citizenship when the Belgian parent submits an application corresponding to their particular situation:

  • Birth: the child is born to a Belgian parent and they can also be born abroad; in some cases, this can extend to adults who were born of a Belgian parent;
  • Acknowledgement: when parentage is acknowledged by a Belgian citizen, the minor is granted nationality following this occurrence;
  • Adoption: citizenship becomes effective on the adoption date; certain conditions do apply in this situation;
  • Other cases: for individuals born in the country who were stateless or who were born in the country and lost their nationality before the age of 18; other situations may apply.

Our team specializing in Belgium immigration can provide you with complete details on how nationality is granted for those under the age of 18. We can also provide detailed information on the policies set forth by the Ministry of Justice in the Code of Belgian Nationality.

What is the main application procedure for obtaining Belgian citizenship in 2023?

A key part of the application process is to provide the authorities with all of the required documents, including the Belgium residence permit that is valid at the time of the application. The pre-submission phase includes a preparation stage when one of our Belgium immigration lawyers can help you gather the documents and guide you to prepare them (make the necessary sworn translations, if needed). The following is a quick summary of the required documents:

  • birth certificate;
  • proof of legal residence in Belgium for at least 5 years and registration with the municipal register; the Belgium residence permit is the main proof in this case;
  • proof of language knowledge (one of the three official ones, French, Dutch and German);
  • proof of social integration and economic participation;
  • proof of fee payment;
    marriage certificate, if applicable;
  • the child’s birth certificate, if applicable.

One of our Belgium immigration agents can provide more details on the submission steps as well as guide you throughout the process. We also invite you to watch a short video:

https://youtu.be/eoMu_hNsAKo

How can one lose Belgian citizenship?

Minors, as well as adults, can lose their Belgian nationality. Minors can lose their Belgian nationality if they are adopted by a foreign national before they turn 18 as well as in other few cases. Adults can lose their citizenship when they sign a special renouncement declaration. Children can also lose their Belgian nationality when the parent loses it for any other reason than deprivation.

If you are interested in this subject, please reach out to our Belgium immigration agents.

According to the Belgian statistical office, there were 2,622 foreign nationals who obtained Belgian nationality in December 2019. Other statistical data shows the following:

  • in 2016, 31,935 individuals changed their nationality;
  • their number was lower in 2014 when 18,726 were subject to this change;
  • UK nationals are among those who increased their applications for acquiring Belgian citizenship, with 6% of all those living in Belgium in 2017 changing their nationality.

If you are interested in obtaining citizenship in 2023 and wish to know more about this process, please contact our Belgium immigration lawyer.