Ah, Belgium. Good beers. Great waffles. Even better chocolate. And who wouldn’t want to spend their days walking the gorgeous streets of Bruges, or rubbing elbows with the best and brightest of the EU in Brussels? If you’re considering a move to beautiful Belgium– or already live in there!– then you may be wondering about how to get citizenship. We’re here to help. Luckily, there are just three steps to get a Belgian citizenship – figuring out the why, sorting out your paperwork, and the wait.
Follow these 3 steps, and you’ll soon be on your way to living your best Belgian life. ?
1. Do you really need citizenship?
First thing’s first: you should determine whether or not you actually need to have Belgian citizenship.
If your goal is to simply move to Belgium, live, and work there legally, then there’s a chance that you only need residency (as opposed to full citizenship). Applying for residency will likely require you to get a visa from the Belgian embassy or consulate back in your home country.
This can be a bit of a process in and of itself, to be honest. But the payoff is big: after gaining temporary or permanent residency in Belgium, you’ll be free to live, work, and own property in the country.Big step in the right direction!
In any case, if you’re moving to Belgium from abroad (and outside of the EU), you’ll likely need to first apply for a visa and then have residency before making any moves toward citizenship. Non-EU folk might have to wait a little longer and go through several extra steps to apply for a visa in Belgium – it all depends on your personal circumstances.
Residency is definitely a huge first step!
2. Have Belgian residency for 3 years
So, the annoying news? You usually do have to have Belgian residency first and foremost before becoming a citizen. But there’s good news: you only need to wait 3 years!
After just 3 short years of legal residency in Belgium, you’re free to apply for citizenship. Hooray!
Paperwork you will need to apply for Belgian residency:
- A copy of your original birth certificate, translated by an official translator
- A stamped copy of your Belgian identification card
- A stamped list of all of your residences in Belgium
- An official application form for Belgian citizenship
If you’re a refugee or a stateless person, the process is similar. However, if this is your situation, you only need to wait 2 years before applying for Belgian citizenship, instead of the usual 3.
Once you have all these documents, you can take them to your municipality’s Registrar office and hand them in. Filing is free of charge.
As with everything legal and bureaucratic in life, you now have to play the wait game. Applications for naturalization in Belgium can take anywhere from 5 to 8 months. But that’s a small timeframe to wait for years of Belgian bliss!
Follow these steps, and you’ll be eating your way through a pile o’ waffles with the best of the locals in no time. It’s not an easy or quick process, of course. But it’ll be worth every minute in the end.
For more information about the naturalization process in Belgium, check out the government’s nifty, handy-dandy FAQ.