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Naturalisation procedure

One way of acquiring Belgian nationality is the naturalisation procedure.

Naturalisation is a concessionary measure granted by the House of Representatives. In contrast to the declaration procedure or the normal choice of nationality, in this case foreigners have no right to Belgian nationality, but the House may nevertheless grant Belgian nationality as a concession.

You must have had your main place of residence in Belgium for three years in order to be naturalised. Stateless persons and recognized refugees need only to have had their main place of residence in Belgium for two years.

You can either apply for naturalisation directly to the House of Representatives, or through the Registrar in the municipality where you have your main place of residence. You will receive an explanatory leaflet and an application form.

If your main place of residence is abroad, you must submit your application to the Belgian Embassy or Consulate. These services will then forward the application to the House of Representatives.

A stay abroad may be equated with a stay in Belgium, but in that case you must provide evidence that you had 'genuine links' with Belgium during the required period.
You are recommended to enclose a separate statement with your declaration for the attention of the House, clarifying your genuine links with Belgium.

Once the dossier is complete, the Registrar will forward your application to the House of Representatives. The House will then take a decision over granting naturalisation. The public prosecutor's office, the Aliens Office and the National Security Department will all be consulted and have a period of four months in which to submit their opinion. The Naturalisation Act takes the form of a law. You are Belgian on the day on which the law appears in the Belgisch Staatsblad/Moniteur belge.

You can find more information about the naturalisation procedure at www.dekamer.be (in Dutch) or www.lachambre.be (in French).