Losing Belgian nationality
You can lose your Belgian nationality under the following circumstances:
1. By voluntary acquisition of another nationality when you were aged 18 or above:
- If you voluntarily acquired another nationality before 9 June 2007, you would have lost your Belgian nationality.
- If you voluntarily acquired another nationality between 9 June 2007 and 28 April 2008, you would have lost your Belgian nationality only if the voluntarily acquired nationality is that of one of the following countries: Austria, Denmark, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands or the United Kingdom.
- Since 28 April 2008, if you voluntarily acquire another nationality, you do not lose your Belgian nationality, regardless of the nationality acquired.
2. You will automatically lose your Belgian nationality on your 28th birthday if:
- You were born abroad after 1 January 1967.
- Between the ages of 18 and 28, your main place of residence was not in Belgium.
- You have not been working abroad for the Belgian Government or a company or association established under Belgian law.
- You have not made a "déclaration de conservation/behoudsverklaring" of Belgian nationality (declaration stating your intention to retain Belgian nationality) between the ages of 18 and 28. The declaration is made at the Belgian consular offices where you are registered in the consular population register abroad
- You hold one or more other nationalities.
- You did not voluntarily acquire the Belgian nationality after your 18th birthday.
3. Via a renouncement declaration
You are at least 18 years of age and you sign a declaration expressly stating that you no longer wish to retain your Belgian nationality. This declaration renouncing Belgian nationality should be signed at your municipality if you live in Belgium or at the Belgian consular offices where you are registered in the consular population register abroad.
4. As a collective consequence under the age of 18
One of your parents loses their Belgian nationality in one of the ways mentioned above while you are still under the age of 18 years or you have not yet become emancipated. However, you will not lose your Belgian nationality if your other parent is a Belgian citizen OR if losing Belgian nationality would render you stateless (i.e. without a nationality).
5. Via adoption
You acquire another nationality because you are adopted by a foreign national before you turn 18 years of age or before you become emancipated. However, you will not lose your Belgian nationality if one of your adoptive parents or your parent that is the spouse of the adoptive parent is a Belgian citizen.
6. Via possession of another nationality before the age of 18
You obtained Belgian nationality because you would have otherwise been declared stateless, but it has been established that you have or have acquired another nationality while still under the age of 18 years or you are not yet emancipated.
7. As a result of a cancellation declaration
If you did not acquire Belgian nationality because one of your parents was a Belgian citizen at the time of your birth but for other reasons, Belgian nationality can be withdrawn by the Court of Appeal (= “déclaration de déchéance/vervallensverklaring” [deprivation].) You will lose your Belgian nationality if you have seriously failed in your obligations as a Belgian citizen OR if you acquired Belgian nationality on the basis of facts presented in a corrupt or concealed fashion or based on false declarations or false or falsified documents.
The court may also deem a declaration to have been cancelled in the event of a prison sentence for at least five years, without suspension, for a crime set out in the Code of Belgian Nationality or if a marriage is deemed to have been a ‘marriage of convenience’.
Nonetheless, your children will not lose their Belgian nationality as a result of this.
Will my children lose their Belgian nationality when I do?
If you lose your Belgian nationality for any reason other than deprivation, your children will automatically lose their Belgian nationality on the same date if they are under 18 years of age, they are not emancipated and you hold parental authority as a parent or adoptive parent. They will not lose their Belgian nationality, however, if they do not hold or will not obtain another nationality as a result and will therefore be declared stateless (i.e. without a 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