The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

New Belgian identity card now being issued by all municipalities

Former Minister of Interior Affairs and Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem pictured with the new eID during the launch of the new eID, electronic identity card, Tuesday 14 January 2020, in Lokeren. (BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK)
10:02 07/01/2021

Any Belgian citizen applying for an identity card will now receive the new "eID", interior minister Annelies Verlinden announced on Wednesday.

After a pilot project was launched in Lokeren in early 2020, other municipalities gradually followed suit, although the coronavirus crisis delayed the process. However, a concerted effort and cooperation between the Federal Public Service and the local authorities has led to all Belgian municipalities being able to switch to the new eID this year.

A total of 53,269 new cards were issued last year. Cards currently in circulation remain valid and will not be replaced until the end of their validity period or earlier in the event of loss, theft or damage.

In some cases, they can also be replaced for another reason, such as an out-of-date photo or a name change. The new ID card contains several changes, the main one being the integration of fingerprints. This new element is added to strengthen the fight against identity fraud. The fingerprint is only on the card chip, not in a central database, and is fully secure. Only the relevant authorities can read the chip. This integration is in line with the EU regulation of 20 June 2019 which obliges member states to include fingerprints on their identity cards.

In addition, the photo is on the left and no longer on the right and a digitally altered image of the photo appears on the back of the card. The contactless chip is now also on the back of the card, which means inserting the card the other way round into a card reader. The mention of nationality is no longer BELGE or BELG - but BEL and the shades of colour used on the card have been changed.

Written by Nick Amies