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Dual nationality

As of 2007, Belgium permits dual nationality and citizens have the right to another nationality apart from the Belgian one. Dual nationality aids Belgian citizens abroad to integrate in a new country. Every country still has a sovereign decision to whom it grants its nationality and under which conditions. Belgian legislation makes sure you don’t lose Belgian nationality should you voluntarily take on another one. See below for more information about obtaining and maintaining Belgian nationality.

As a minor

  • Born out of at least one Belgian parent

    The child automatically obtains Belgian nationality at birth if:

    • The child is born in Belgium
    • The child isn’t born in Belgium, but the Belgian parent was

If the Belgian parent is born abroad, (s)he needs to submit a declaration of acquisition (“toekenningsverklaring”) at a Belgian embassy of consulate. This has to happen within the first five years after birth. If this doesn’t happen, the child automatically obtains Belgian nationality if it doesn’t acquire another nationality before its eighteenth birthday. Should the child obtain another nationality before its eighteenth birthday, it loses the Belgian nationality.

In addition to the Belgian nationality, the child also has the nationality of the non-Belgian parent, unless legislation of the country of origin stipulates otherwise. If the child has two or more nationalities, amongst which the Belgian one, the child is considered to be considered Belgian in Belgium.

  • Born out of parents of which neither is a Belgian citizen

As a rule of thumb, a child has the same nationality as its parents, unless the legislation of their country of origin stipulates otherwise. If one of the parents obtains Belgian nationality before the child comes of age, the child will become a Belgian citizen simultaneously if it meets the conditions.

As an adult

  • As a Belgian, you voluntarily apply for another nationality

As of 2007, you are allowed to apply for another nationality in addition to the Belgian nationality. However, not all combinations of nationality are possible. Ultimately, every country decides to whom it grants its nationality and under which conditions, so inform yourself through local authorities.

The law on dual nationality does not require any administrative formalities. You don’t have to do anything, either in Belgium or abroad. The dual nationality law that was enstated in 2007 doesn’t work retroactively, so you won’t automatically obtain Belgian nationality if you have lost if before. Should you wish to re-obtain Belgian nationality, you need to submit a “verklaring tot herkrijging” (declaration of reacquisition).

Loss of Belgian nationality

In some cases, there may be a loss of Belgian nationality. Minors for example can lose their Belgian nationality if their Belgian parent loses their Belgian nationality. Under certain conditions, an adult can lose Belgian nationality if (s)he didn’t submit a “behoudsverklaring” (declaration of retential) before his/her 28th birthday. Belgian nationality can also be voluntarily renounced at any time. Anyone who has lost Belgian nationality in the past can obtain it again under strict conditions.

Important:

you automatically lose your Belgian nationality on your 28th birthday if:

  • You were born abroad after the 1st of January 1967

AND

  • You had no main residence in Belgium between the age of 18 and 28

AND

  • You don’t work abroad for the Belgian government or a Belgian organisation

AND

  • You haven’t made a “behoudsverklaring” (declaration of retential) between your 18th and 28th birthday at the Belgian embassy or consulate

AND

  • You have two or more nationalities

AND

  • You haven’t acquired the Belgian nationality after 18 years

Tip: If you have questions about Belgian nationality, Belgian identity documents, civil status, etc. you can go to the municipal authorities of your Belgian commune or the Belgian embassy or consulate abroad.

Sources:

https://justitie.belgium.be/nl/themas_en_dossiers/personen_en_gezinnen/nationaliteit/dubbele_nationaliteit

https://diplomatie.belgium.be/nl/Diensten/Diensten_in_het_buitenland/Belgische_nationaliteit