Belgian Citizenship

How to get citizenship in Belgium – find out how to acquire Belgian nationality so that you can get a Belgian passport, and the documents required for the application procedure…

How to get Belgian Nationality

There are two ways of getting Belgian nationality – either by naturalisation or via a nationality declaration (déclaration d’acquisition). Only people with their main residence in Belgium, and whom are registered on the population register may apply for Belgian nationality.

Naturalisation is granted by the Federal Parliament, it is based on exceptional merit or is given to stateless people.

Nationality Declaration

There are a number of different ways to qualify for a nationality declaration (déclaration d’acquisition) to get Belgian citizenship, including the following:

  • Have at least five years’ legal residence in Belgium; the ability to speak some French, German or Dutch;and proof of social and economic integration.
  • Have at least ten years’ legal residence in Belgium; ability to speak some French, German or Dutch; and proof of active participation in the community.
  • Be a child under the age of 12, born and resident in Belgium, with a parent resident in Belgium for at least ten years.
  • Adoption by a Belgian citizen
  • Be resident for at least five years in Belgium and having reached retirement age.
  • Birth in Belgium
  • Be married to a Belgian citizen, with at least five years’ continuous residence and the ability to speak some French, German or Dutch.
  • Disability
  • Have a disability and be unable to work.

Minors under the age of 18 have Belgian nationality if they were born to a Belgian parent (although certain conditions apply). Children born in Belgium to foreign parents can also acquire Belgian nationality under certain conditions, outlined here.

Applying for Belgian citizenship

Applications are made with the local municipality in the place of residence. The municipality official informs the applicant which documents are required.

All documents in a language other than French, German or Dutch must be translated to the language used by the municipality. The documents must also be legalised by the consulate of the applicant’s home country.

The procedure to get Belgian nationality should take up to four months if the application is successful, but in some cases this may be longer.

Dual Nationality

It is not necessary for the applicant to renounce their original citizenship when obtaining Belgian nationality. Not all countries allow dual nationality; it is advisable to check with the consulate of the applicant’s home country before starting the procedure for Belgian citizenship.