Living in Belgium – Citizenship
Belgium is a multicultural country and has three official languages: Dutch, French and German (and the majority of Belgians also speaks English). Belgium has an estimated population of 11,000,000 inhabitants and the capital is Brussels.
Belgium is one of the most flexible countries in Europe to acquire citizenship as a foreign national. In Belgium, it’s possible to apply for citizenship after 3 years of legal residence. Belgium has no restrictions on dual citizenship which means you can hold your current passport together with a Belgian passport. Acquiring a Belgian passport means you can travel visa free to more than 100 countries.
Foreign nationals can become a Belgian citizen and acquire a Belgian international passport when they satisfy certain conditions. Depending on the individual’s circumstances, one of the following application procedures has to be followed:
Short procedure after five years of legal residence
An individual who has been a Belgian resident for at least 5 years can apply for a Belgian passport. The individual needs to prove knowledge of one of the official Belgian languages (Dutch, French or German) and needs to show evidence of civil integration and economic participation in Belgian society as well (exceptions for persons married to a Belgian, for handicapped persons, for stateless persons, for retired persons, etc.).
Long procedure after ten years of legal residence
An individual who has been a Belgian resident for at least 10 years needs to prove knowledge of one of the official Belgian languages (Dutch, French and German) and needs to show evidence of civil integration and economic participation in Belgian society as well (exceptions for persons married to a Belgian, for handicapped persons, for political refugees, for stateless persons, etc.).
Exceptional procedure of naturalisation
A special commission of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives is responsible for this procedure, which can take up to two years.
Foreign nationals can apply for Belgian citizenship through the procedure of naturalisation if they meet following requirements:
- Minimum 18 years old;
- Officially residing in Belgium for at least 2 years;
- They achieved exceptional performances which enhanced the international perception of the country Belgium or they have the capabilities to do so in the future;
Once the applicant obtains the Belgian nationality, his/her children aged below 18 years old automatically obtain the Belgian nationality as well.
If you would like to know more about the specific requirements concerning civil integration and economic integration necessary for the first two procedures, or if you would like to know more about the exceptional performances necessary for the third procedure, do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to analyse your personal situation in order to create a personalised plan for you and your family.
Assisting with obtaining the Belgian nationality is one of the strengths of our company, as we have Belgian roots.