Nationality defines our belonging to a community. It’s the juridical belonging of a person to a state’s constituent population. Belgian nationality can be acquired through 3 different possibilities :
Through attribution of nationality
Through declaration of nationality
Attribution / Acquisition / Naturalization
Each procedure is submitted to specific conditions. Introducing the request does not mean automatic obtention of the Belgian nationality. A child can be Belgian by right before the age of 18 if he/she meets certain conditions imposed by law and, optionally, following a request filed by one of his/her Belgian parents. This is called attribution of Belgian nationality. As from 18 years of age, a person can become Belgian following a voluntary personal request. This is called acquisition of Belgian nationality. Finally, naturalization, which concerns only adult people, is a favor granted by the House of Representatives (Belgian Parliament). This procedure is from now on exclusively reserved to stateless people who have lived in Belgium for 2 years as well as persons who are unable to acquire Belgian nationality through ordinary procedures and who can justify or demonstrate “exceptional merits”.
Acquisition of nationality relates the procedure of obtention of nationality for persons aged 18 years old. For an adult, declaration of nationality is the main procedure to become Belgian. It’s a relatively swift procedure, which takes about 6 months if there’s no opposition.
Since January 1st 2013, social integration and economic participation conditions are often requested. Therefore, nationality can be refused if basic conditions are not met or if serious personal events have occurred. Judicial appeals are then possible. For all requests, you must :
At the time of declaration : be authorized to indefinitely stay in Belgium..
During the years preceding the declaration : possess stay permits for more than 3 months (electronic cards, former “white” or “yellow” cards). “Short stays” are not taken into account (for instance, registration certificates).
For Europeans, their family members and for refugees, the period between request filing and recognition of rights is assimilated to a long stay (more than 3 months). All stay permits during this period are allowed (annex 19, 19ter, 25, 26, registration certificate). Be careful, this doesn’t apply in case of family regrouping with a Belgian citizen.