Nationality

You can have Belgian nationality legally or voluntarily. You can also lose your Belgian nationality. This section will provide you with further information.

Being granted Belgian nationality before the age of 18

On this page you will find all the information regarding the granting of Belgian nationality before the age of 18.
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A child becomes legally Belgian before the age of 18 if certain legal conditions are fulfilled and, sometimes, as a result of a process carried out by the Belgian parent.

This is known as the award of Belgian nationality.

There are several possibilities:

1. Être né(e) d’un parent belge

Note: Your parentage must be clearly established in all cases.


A. If you were born before 1 January 1967

You are a Belgian citizen if:

  • You are the legitimate child of a father who is a Belgian citizen. In this case, you are Belgian from birth
  • Or You were born out of wedlock and the first parent to acknowledge you was a Belgian citizen. In this case, you are Belgian from the moment of acknowledgement.


B. If you were born between 1 January 1967 and 31 December 1984

  • You are a Belgian citizen if you met the conditions under point A (above) before 01.01.1985
  • Or you have been a Belgian citizen since 01.01.1985 if you met the conditions under point C below.


C. If you were born after 1 January 1985

You are a Belgian citizen if:

  • You were born in Belgium to a Belgian parent (father or mother)
  • Or you were born abroad AND:
  1. Your Belgian parent was born in Belgium or in Belgian Congo before 30 June 1960 or in Rwanda or Burundi before 1 July 1962.
  2. Or Your Belgian parent was born abroad and makes a declaration, within a period of five years following your birth, requesting that you be granted Belgian nationality. This declaration, called the ‘award declaration’ must be taken at the Belgian consular offices where your Belgian parent is registered in the consular population register abroad. If the parent lives in Belgium, they should contact the registrar in their municipality. You obtain Belgian nationality on the date upon which the "déclaration d'attribution/toekenningsverklaring" is made.
  3. Or Your Belgian parent was born abroad and did not submit a "déclaration d'attribution/toekenningsverklaring" of Belgian nationality within a period of five years following your birth but you were not given another nationality before you turned 18. However, if you were given another nationality before you turned 18, you lose your Belgian nationality.  

 

Further information can also be obtained by contacting:

  • Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Nationality Department
  • The Belgian consulate in your main place of residence abroad
  • Your municipal authority in Belgium 

2. Acknowledged by a Belgian

If your parentage is acknowledged by a Belgian citizen in accordance with Belgian law, you may be granted Belgian citizenship from the date of acknowledgement, subject to the same conditions as those set out under the section entitled Born to a Belgian parent.

However, if your parentage is acknowledged after you have turned 18, you will not be granted Belgian citizenship.

Further information can also be obtained by contacting:

  • Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Nationality Department
  • The Belgian consulate in your main place of residence abroad
  • Your municipal authority in Belgium  

3. Born in Belgium

You are a Belgian citizen if:

  • You were born in Belgium and you would be a stateless person (= not have a nationality) before the age of 18 or before your emancipation if you did not have Belgian citizenship.

    However, if you were born after 26.12.2006 this rule does not apply if you can obtain another nationality upon completion, by your legal representative(s), of administrative measures set by the diplomatic or consular authorities in the country of one or both of your parents. In this case, you will not have been given Belgian nationality.
  • Or you were born in Belgium and you lose your only other nationality before you turn 18.
  • Or you were born in Belgium to a parent who holds another nationality but was born in Belgium and has lived in Belgium for at least five years during the 10 years preceding your birth.
  • Or you were born in Belgium and you have been adopted by a parent holding another nationality who was born in Belgium and who has had their main place of residence in Belgium for five years during the 10 year period before the adoption takes effect. You obtain Belgian citizenship upon that date unless you are already 18 years old or have already been emancipated.
  • Or you were born in Belgium to parents or adoptive parents without Belgian citizenship born abroad who submitted a declaration before your twelfth birthday requesting that you be granted Belgian nationality. Belgium must have been their main place of residence during the 10 years preceding the declaration and at least one of the two must have been allowed or authorised to remain indefinitely in the Kingdom at the time of the declaration. Moreover, you must have lived in Belgium since your birth. Only the registrar in the municipality where your parents or adoptive parents live in Belgium can authorise this declaration. The declaration is submitted for approval to the Office of the King's Prosecutor (Parquet du Procureur du Roi/Parket van de Procureur des Konings) and is registered in the records after it has been accepted. You obtain Belgian citizenship on the date upon which the declaration was submitted. The declaration may, under no circumstances, be made by a Belgian consular mission.

Further information can also be obtained by contacting:

  • Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Nationality Department
  • The Belgian consulate in your main place of residence abroad
  • Your municipal authority in Belgium  

4. Adopted minors

Am I a Belgian citizen if I am adopted?

You obtain Belgian citizenship by adoption on the date the adoption takes effect, if you are not yet eighteen years old on that day and you are not emancipated, if:

  • You were born in Belgium and were adopted by a Belgian citizen.
  • Or you were born abroad and were adopted by a Belgian citizen born in Belgium or in Belgian Congo before 30 June 1960 or in Rwanda or Burundi before 1 July 1962.
  • Or you were born abroad and were adopted by a Belgian citizen who was born abroad and who submitted, within five years of the date on which the adoption took effect and before your eighteenth birthday or your emancipation - a declaration requesting that you be granted Belgian nationality. This declaration, called the ‘award declaration’ must be provided at the Belgian consular offices where your Belgian parent is registered in the consular population register abroad. If the adoptive parent lives in Belgium, they should contact the registrar in their municipality.
  • Or yYou were born abroad and were adopted by a Belgian citizen who was born abroad and who did not submit a déclaration d'attribution/toekenningsverklaring within a period of five years following your adoption but you were not given another nationality before you turned 18. However, if you were given another nationality before you turned 18, you lose your Belgian nationality.

Further information can also be obtained by contacting:

  • Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Nationality Department
  • The Belgian consulate in your main place of residence abroad
  • Your municipal authority in Belgium  

5. Obtaining citizenship through a parent

From 1 January 2013, persons who have their principal residence in Belgium and whose parent(s) or adoptive parent(s) are acquiring Belgian nationality, will automatically be granted Belgian nationality on the same day, provided they are under the age of eighteen and are still under the legal authority and parental care of their parent(s) or adoptive parent(s).

Further information can also be obtained by contacting:

  • Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Nationality Department
  • Your municipal authority in Belgium