Obtaining Belgian Nationality – Step-by-step procedure

You can obtain the BE nationality in 2 ways (Law of 28 June 1984 regarding Belgian nationality): by declaration of nationality or by naturalisation.

 – Naturalisation is a favor arrangement awarded by the members of the BE parlement within the Naturalisation commission of the ‘Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers’ (the Belgian Chamber of Representatives). There is no appeal decision that exist against this decision;
 – Declaration of nationality. There are seven options to receive the declaration of nationality: ‘being integrated’, ‘married to Belgian national’, ‘parent of Belgian underage child’, ‘born in Belgium’, applicant is unable to ‘work cause of handicap/invalidity’, applicant is at least ’65 years’ and ‘10 years legal residence in Belgium’.

Concrete procedure: being parent of a Belgian underage child

At Migrabel, one of the most common request or nationality has been the process of obtaining the Belgian nationality through the Belgian underage child. In concrete, a non-EU national that has a child born with Belgian nationality (eg. the child was born in hospital located on Belgian soil, cause the legal father is a Belgian national, …).

Side note – dual nationality
Please be informed that the dual or several nationality is allowed in Belgium (since 9 June 2007). The Belgian authorities do not require you to renounce your citizenship from your country of origin. However, your country of origin may have requirements in this regard, so please do check with your country of origin if you can obtain another nationality.

Step-by-step process overview
Step 1: go to local town hall of residence and request BE nationality based on art. 12bis §1 3° of 28 June 1984 regarding the Law of Belgian nationality.

Step 2: prepare file for application.
When consulted with the local Belgian town hall, you will receive information regarding the required conditions. In concrete, hereby the conditions for a non-EU national having a BE born national child:

– Copy of birth certificate of applicant, if required translated by sworn translator and legalized ;
– Copy of proof of registration rights (150,00€ but can be highered up at local town hall);
– Copy of current residence card applicant proving that applicant currently resides in Belgian ;
– Copy of overview of the legal adresses over past 5 years;
– Copy of overview of all residence documents over past 5 years;
– Copy of proof of knowledge of 1 of the 3 official Belgian languages. The proof can be given through several means (see Royal Decree 14/01/2013, chapter I);
– Copy of birth certificate child, if required legalized and sworn translated if in foreign language;
– Proof of community integration.
This can be proven by use of several methods (explained in Royal Decree of 14/10/2013, Chapter 1, article 7, 4°).

The most common method is to provide a copy of proof of having completed the Belgian integration course. Another commonly used method is provided by a copy of the individual account(s) proving that the non Belgian national has worked a minimum of 234 working days in Belgian (and as such contributed to the Belgian social security & taxes).

Step 3: application at Belgian town hall
The applicant provides the application file to the competent officer, declares formally to become Belgian national and pays the tax (registration rights for Belgian nationality declaration)

The declaration has to clearly note the following words by the applicant (when at Dutch town hall) : “Ik verklaar Belgisch staatsburger te willen worden en de Grondwet, de wetten van het Belgische volk en het Verdrag tot bescherming van de rechten van de mens en de fundamentele vrijheden te zullen naleven.” The declaration has to be signed by the applicant.

Step 4 : administrative process

 The officer at the Belgian town hall will evaluate and verify the application file within 30 working days.

 If the application is complete, the town hall officer does send the application to 3 instances being the competent Court of First Instance, the Foreign Office and Department of Homeland Security.

 Within 4 months, the Court of First Instance has to provide you with a binding advice. If positive, the applicant will be registered in the Belgian population register. As of that day, the applicant is officially considered a Belgian national. If refused, an appeal procedure is possible within 15 days of receiving notice from the local town hall officer that the application has been refused.

Should you have any question regarding this procedure or any possibility for you or your family member to obtain the Belgian nationality, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@migrabel.be.

Wishing you a great day,
Migrabel team

Update - New minimum salary levels announced

dOn January 1, 2017, the minimum base salary for several work permit categories will increase in Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia, more specifically:

  • The minimum base salary for HIGHLY-SKILLED foreign workers applying for type B work permits will increase to € 40.124,00 annually (from € 39.824,00 in 2016);

  • The minimum base salary for SENIOR MANAGEMENT and EXECUTIVES applying for type B work permits will increase to € 66.942,00 annually (from € 66.442,00 in 2016);

  • The minimum base salary for EU BLUE CARD holders will increase to € 51.882,00 annually (from € 51.484 in 2016).

These salary thresholds will have to be met if the assignement starts in 2017. Please note that trainees and specialized technicians are exempt from these minimum salary requirements. In practice, for highly skilled workers we have to advance the following difference:

  • If the applicant will be on assignement from the home country falling under the social security of the home country (acted by the social security Certificate of Coverage of the home country), the applicant will have to earn at least € 3.343,67/month (€ 40.124,00/12 months);

  • If the applicant will be under a Belgian contract, respecting the Belgian regulations of the competent joint committee (whereby Belgian taxes and social security contributions will be payed), the applicant will have to earn at least € 2.882,47/month (€ 40.124,00/13,92 taking into account the payments of holiday pay and end-of-year premium).

For further questions, please do contact our team of immigration professionals at info@migrabel.be.

UPDATE - EU Single Permit Directive implementation

UPDATE – EU Single Permit Directive implementation

Figuur 1_SINGLE PERMIT COMING SOON


RELEVANCE OF THE SINGLE PERMIT8fdc19dd34962d2c7bf1ae93266b849058f2db84268758bffcpimgpsh_fullsize_distr-%d0%ba%d0%b0%d0%ba-%d1%81%d0%bc%d0%b0%d1%80%d1%82-%d0%be%d0%b1%d1%8a%d0%b5%d0%ba%d1%82-1

Currently, Belgium does not offer a single application procedure nor a combined work and residence permit. More specifically, the right to reside1 and the right to work2 are organized in a separate permit system.
A third country national and his/her employer have to apply first for a work permit which, if approved, will give him/her the right to apply for a residence permit. EU national workers enjoy, on the other hand, different rights then non-EU national workers as they are allowed to work or start a business in Belgium on the sole basis of their residence card.

EU SINGLE PERMIT3 DIRECTIVE  BELGIUM MISSED EU DEADLINE

The European Parliament and Council adopted the European single permit directive4 on 13 December 2011 in order to simplify and harmonize the rules currently applicable in EU Member States and, as such, create a more efficient unified work and residence permit application procedure for third-country nationals and their employers.
The implementation of the directive will have a significant procedural impact in Belgium. The directive is designed to facilitate legal migration as well as install common workers’rights for EU and non-EU workers. The European Commission adds in this regard that the directive “aims at providing a clear set of rules for third country nationals working legally within the EU so that they can benefit from common rights, similar to those of EU nationals, regarding working conditions, pensions, social security and access to public services.”5 The directive complements also other measures on European legal migration such as the EU blue card.
Member States had two years to adapt their national laws to the new rules. Belgium did not adopt the combined work and residence permit system with a unified application process by December 2013.
In March 2014, Belgium received a letter of formal notice6 from the European Commission as no efforts have been undertaken to implement/transpose the Directive in its legal order… the Belgian Government reacted… .

STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION SINGLE PERMIT

The Belgian Council of Ministers announced on 20 May 2016 their agreement on a preliminary design of legislative texts implementing the EU Single Permit Directive into national legislation. In concrete, a draft legislation text will amend the Foreigner’s Law of 15 December 1980 with regards to the delivery of the Single Permit.
The draft legislation had been presented to the Council of State for review and advice. The Council of State has not yet delivered their advice with regard to the implementation of the single permit. Further details on the implementation are expected end November 2016.

Migrabel is following up on the directive’s implementation closely and will provide further updates when available. We remain also available to deliver more detailed guidance on how to better prepare for the upcoming changes.

BREXIT – Options for UK and EU nationals to preserve free movement in the EEA area

As commonly known, the United Kingdom held a public referendum on Thursday 23 June 2016 whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. The UK voted to leave the European Union (the leave camp won by 52% to 48%).

The UK is currently part of the European Single Market whereby the principle of free movement of citizens applies. UK citizens have the right to work in any country part of the European Economic Area (EEA) without a work permit or professional card. The EEA includes all countries in the European Union as well as the countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

On 14 September 2016, at a press conference in Strassbourg, the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker delivered his State of the Union speech in which he emphasised on the fact that there cannot be a Single Market à la carte. The free movement of citizens is part of the Single Market, which means that full access to the Single Market implies an acceptance of the free movement rules. The tone is set.

Prior to the Conference of the Conservative party held in Birmingham on Sunday 2 October, British Prime Minister Theresa May (former UK Home Secretary) confirmed to the BBC that the UK Government will start the formal separation procedure under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty end of March 2017. As of that moment a two years exit negociation period will run, meaning the UK will be expected to have left by the summer of 2019.

The question of the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in EU member states remains, for now, uncertain. The negociation period will clarify the terms upon which the UK’s exit will be executed. High probable, during the period of negociation the free movement of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU will continue until the date of separation.

What are the options for EU and UK nationals in order to preserve the free movement within the EEA area?

Migrabel does advice EU nationals living in the UK and British nationals living in an EEA member country to state in a document their status in order to preserve free movement within the EEA area.

EU nationals living in the UK have the option to

  • apply for a registration certificate which is an optional document that EU nationals who wish to register their status in the UK can file. As such, you prove your right to live in the UK as an EU citizen. How you apply depends on your situation. Please look into your specific situation and apply: https://www.gov.uk/eea-registration-certificate/apply.
    It is important to underscore that this certificate will not protect you to stay in the UK. The chief civil servant of the UK’s Home Office confirmed on this matter that “EU nationals with a right to permanent residence, which is granted after they have lived in the UK for five years, will be able to stay.”, but that “the rights of other EU nationals would be subject to negotiations on Brexit and the “will of Parliament,”1.
  • apply for a permanent residence which is granted after having lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least five years. There is no requirement to register for documentation to confirm this status but you can apply for one if you want to prove that you have this right or apply for British citizenship. Please check here to apply: https://www.gov.uk/eea-registration-certificate/permanent-residence.
  • apply for naturalisation. There are different ways to become a British citizen. The most common is called ‘naturalisation’. Please check if you are eligible to apply: https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen.

 

British nationals living in an EEA state have the option

  • to consider the permanent residence in an EEA state. Please contact us for more information;
  • to consider assuming dual nationality (where permissible). In Belgium, dual nationality is permissible but be aware that you can lose your Belgian nationality under specific circumstances. Please contact us for more information regarding your situation.

Migrabel will release further and ongoing updates once transitional provisions are announced. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@migrabel.be.

1 Wheeler, B. & Hunt, A. (2016, October 2). Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887