As of 2007, Belgium permits dual citizenship and citizens have the right to another citizenship apart from the Belgian one. Dual citizenship aids Belgian citizens abroad to integrate in a new country. Every country still has a sovereign decision to whom it grants its citizenship and under which conditions. Belgian legislation makes sure you don’t lose Belgian citizenship should you voluntarily take on another one. See below for more information about obtaining and maintaining Belgian citizenship.
As a minor
- Born out of at least one Belgian parent
The child automatically obtains Belgian citizenship 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 citizenship if it doesn’t acquire another citizenship before its eighteenth birthday. Should the child obtain another citizenship before its eighteenth birthday, it loses the Belgian one.
In addition to the Belgian citizenship, the child also has the citizenship of the non-Belgian parent, unless legislation of the country of origin stipulates otherwise. If the child has two or more citizenships, 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 citizenship as its parents, unless the legislation of their country of origin stipulates otherwise. If one of the parents obtains Belgian citizenship 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 citizenship
As of 2007, you are allowed to apply for another citizenship in addition to the Belgian one. However, not all combinations of citizenship are possible. Ultimately, every country decides to whom it grants its citizenship and under which conditions, so inform yourself through local authorities.
The law on dual citizenship does not require any administrative formalities. You don’t have to do anything, either in Belgium or abroad. The dual citizenship law that was instated in 2007 doesn’t work retroactively, so you won’t automatically obtain Belgian citizenship if you have lost if before. Should you wish to re-obtain Belgian citizenship, you need to submit a “verklaring tot herkrijging” (declaration of reacquisition).
Loss of Belgian ctizenship
In some cases, there may be a loss of Belgian citizenship. Minors for example can lose their Belgian citizenship if their Belgian parent loses their Belgian citizenship. Under certain conditions, an adult can lose Belgian citizenship if (s)he didn’t submit a “behoudsverklaring” (declaration of retention) before his/her 28th birthday. Belgian citizenship can also be renounced voluntarily at any time. Anyone who has lost Belgian citizenship in the past can obtain it again under strict conditions.
you automatically lose your Belgian citizenship on your 28th birthday if:
- You were born abroad after the 1st of January 1967
- You had no main residence in Belgium between the age of 18 and 28
- You don’t work abroad for the Belgian government or a Belgian organisation
- You haven’t made a “behoudsverklaring” (declaration of retention) between your 18th and 28th birthday at the Belgian embassy or consulate
- You have two or more citizenships
- You haven’t acquired the Belgian citizenship after turning 18 years old
Tip: If you have questions about Belgian citizenship, Belgian identity documents, civil status, etc. you can go to the municipal authorities of your Belgian commune or the Belgian embassy or consulate abroad.