In this section you can find out about:
- which nationality will my baby have if he/she is born:
- multiple nationalities for Belgian babies
- citizenship and passport applications
Which nationality will my baby have?
Babies born in Belgium
Belgium does not automatically grant Belgian nationality to babies born here.
- If one parent is Belgian
Babies born in Belgium are entitled to receive Belgian nationality at birth if either parent has Belgian nationality.
- If neither parent is Belgian
Babies born in Belgium to non-Belgian parents will acquire their parents’ nationality, provided this is allowed by the parents’ country of origin.
If the parents have different nationalities, they must decide which one of these will be given when the birth is declared at the commune. It is possible to arrange for dual nationality at a later stage, provided this is allowed by the country of origin of the second parent.
There are also some other situations in which a baby can acquire Belgian nationality without having a Belgian parent, such as where the baby is not entitled to the nationality of either of its parents and would therefore be ‘stateless’.
Read about other situations on the website of the Belgian Department for Foreign Affairs (in English).
Babies born outside Belgium to a Belgian parent
Babies born outside of Belgium to a Belgian parent are entitled to receive Belgian nationality if one of their parents was born in Belgium and has Belgian nationality. This applies no matter where the baby was born.
The baby can have double nationality provided this is allowed by the legislation of the second country, and may even have triple nationality if:
- he/she was born in a country that applies ‘jus soli’ (birthright citizenship) e.g. the United States, Israel; and
- his/her parents are of two different nationalities, not including the country where the baby was born.
For example, a baby born in the United States to Belgian/Irish parents is entitled – at least from a Belgian point of view – to American, Irish and Belgian nationality.
Multiple nationalities for Belgians
Belgium allows its citizens to hold multiple nationalities.
Belgian nationality is never withdrawn if another nationality is gained, and Belgian nationals may acquire other nationalities.
However, it is worth checking the legislation of the other countries in question, as acquisition of Belgian nationality may result in the loss of nationality of the country of origin.
Citizenship and passport applications
For citizenship and passport applications, you will need to request a full birth certificate (‘copie d’acte de naissance’ / ‘Afschrift van een akte – Geboorten / Geboortakten’) from the commune where you register the birth.
In most cases, you can request a multilingual version of the birth certificate (with text in Dutch, French, German and English) which may suffice for many countries – you should be able to receive this for free, and perhaps even via email, depending on your commune.
For more information:
- Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs website (in English)
- most recent legislation on Belgian nationality – December 2012 (in French and Dutch)
- the ‘Population’ / ‘Bewolking’ service at your commune
- your own embassy or consulate