Last updated on
If you are Belgian, all changes to your civil status are governed by Belgian law. Belgian law applies even if you live abroad.
If you live abroad, you must inform your local Belgian consulate of any changes to your civil status.
1. Where should a death be registered?
If one of your Belgian relatives dies abroad, the death must immediately be notified to the competent local authorities who will draw up a death certificate.
It is essential that this notification is made within the legal timeframes laid down in the legislation of the country where the death occurred.
The funeral company and/or the company which will repatriate the deceased's remains may be able to provide more information on this subject.
In any case, please take care not to confuse the actual death certificate (civil status certificate) with the medical certificate certifying the death of the person concerned.
If the death has not been notified to the local authorities within the specified timeframes, a delayed notification must be made in accordance with local standards and procedures.
Where necessary, you always can ask local relatives, friends or acquaintances or a local lawyer to assist with the necessary arrangements abroad.
In very exceptional cases, if the local authorities still fail to issue the death certificate (despite all the required steps being taken) outside the European Union, the competent Belgian consulate could issue a death certificate within 30 days of the death provided all the necessary conditions are met.
2. Is a foreign death certificate valid in Belgium?
A foreign death certificate is valid in Belgium provided that it was issued by the relevant authority in the standard format used in that country.
Where necessary, the foreign death certificate must be translated and legalised.
4. Can the Belgian consulate or FPS Foreign Affairs provide assistance if a member of my family dies abroad?
Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs and the Belgian consulate can help by providing information and can also assist with repatriation of the body and the deceased's personal belongings.
Further information can also be obtained by contacting:
- The Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Registry Service
- The Belgian consulate in your place of residence abroad