Search form

menu menu

Birth in Belgium/Citizenship


I was astonished to learn that my newborn was given Belgian citizenship by default by the local authorities as I have lived here for x number of years even though I am not Belgian and neither is my partner. I do not have anything against Belgium per se, but I want my child to be a national of either the country that I am from or of my partner's. I am under the impression that 'jus sanguinis' applies here as opposed to 'jus soli', but I suppose that this is not the case. Has anyone else experienced something similar and can tell me what they did? Thank you.


Being granted Belgian citizenship does not normally prevent you from taking another to which you are entitled. You can also renounce it completely though I think you may have to be all grown up to do that. The other thing is, unlike our poor American friends, is having Belgian Nationality will not plague you no matter where in the world you try to be left alone, so why worry about it? Nothing wrong with a Belgian passport.

Nov 21, 2015 08:13

'I want my child to be a national of either the country that I am from or of my partner's.'
Then go along to the relevant embassy and take whatever steps are necessary to organise that. There is nothing to prevent dual nationality and, if you are from outside the EU, your child might find Belgian nationality useful as an adult.
From memory of similar questions on this site, I think that your child can renounce Belgian nationality at age 18.

Nov 21, 2015 08:52

This is impossible unless one or both of you were born in Belgium or the child was registered as being stateless at the time of birth. In fact, if I'm interpreting it correctly, even the latter rule doesn't 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.' In any case, by itself it's certainly not enough to have lived in Belgium for a certain number of years for your child to be granted Belgian citizenship.

Either there has been an administrative mistake or your child falls under one of the categories listed here:
Either way, I don't see the problem, seems very useful to me. If you want the child to have your or your partner's nationality as well it is up to you to take the necessary steps.

Nov 21, 2015 16:46

A child is only given Belgian citizenship if they can't have citizenship of one of their parents. So either:
- You cannot pass on your nationality
- You can prove there has been an administrative mistake.

Nov 22, 2015 08:33

Two of my children were born here. Each time the birth had to be registered first at the commune of the hospital where they were born. (Leuven) We were given copies to take to our own commune (Tervuren) to register the children there. We also paid for extra certified copies which we then took to the British Embassy to get the children registered as British citizens (we are both British). This was in the days when there was still a British Embassy in Brussels but I guess you can do it all online now. Check with your own embassy on where and how you can register your newborn with your nationality.

Nov 22, 2015 09:44

As long as they are not American, nobody wish that on the poor little mite.

Nov 22, 2015 14:02

Thank you for your replies.

The following applies to our child:

"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."

This certainly explains what happened in our case, but does not make clear what the method to the madness is? They're not doing this to do us a favour, so why does Belgium have this kind of legislation on the books? Are they that desperate to boost their demographics that they pass laws to increase the population, essentially by stealth? Are there fiscal reasons?

Being able to *opt* for Belgian citizenship is one thing, to have it imposed on us is something completely different. As it seems that we are stuck with this for the time-being, I will encourage our child to would renounce Belgian citizenship as a matter of principle as soon as possible.

Nov 22, 2015 23:54

I don't really understand why you are so upset, or appear to be. You can still apply for any nationality that your child is eligible for. If you were American your child would have US citizenship no matter where in the world they were born, and that is a REAL problem. Belgian citizenship is benign and nothing stops you going for another.

I know a Brit who was not born in the UK and had a child in Belgium with his French wife. Turns out the UK does not automatically give British citizenship in cases like that so his son is now French. FRENCH! He's still trying to get over it........

Nov 23, 2015 07:18

I completely agreed with SD.

Nov 23, 2015 09:13

"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 DECALATION. Moreover, you must have lived in Belgium since your birth. "
SD is acknowledged for the link.

Nov 23, 2015 17:37