British citizens who “exercised their right to reside” in Belgium before January 1, 2021, and “continued to reside thereafter”, can apply until December 31, 2021, for the status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement (art. 47/5, §3 from the law of December 15, 1980, on the access to the territory, stay, establishments and return of the foreigners, and art. 69undecies, 1° from the royal decree of October 8, 1981, on the access to the territory, stay, establishments and return of the foreigners).
The Code of Belgian Nationality provides that a child born abroad to a Belgian parent who is him or herself born abroad, is Belgian if the Belgian parent makes an ‘award declaration’ (déclaration d'attribution/toekenningsverklaring) claiming Belgian nationality on behalf of the child (Article 8, (1) (2)) within 5 years of its birth.
1. Country Overview
Belgium is experiencing an increase in immigrant inflows and a decrease in outflows. Among EU citizens, more than half of first-issue residence permits are being granted for professional reasons. On the other hand, in the case of third-country nationals, family reasons are given as the main reason in the same scenario (45%).
A Ministerial Order, amending the Order of 28 October 2020, “introducing emergency measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus”, was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 28 April 2021.
In order to limit the spread of new variants in Belgium, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already advised Belgian nationals or those with their primary residence in Belgium against travel to Brazil, South Africa or India.
The Code of Belgian Nationality allows the application for nationality provided that one has had a "legal residence" for a certain period of time, depending on the case. For a child, it is sometimes the parents who must be able to prove a legal residence.
A Belgian law passed on 16 December 2020 partially implementing the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the European Union provides British nationals and their family members with the opportunity to formalise any residence permits which were not requested or obtained before the end of the transition period i.e. prior to 31 December 2020.
Due to Covid-19, restrictions prohibiting non-essential travel have been implemented (Article 21 of Ministerial Order of 28/10/2020 introducing emergency measures to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus).
The European Court of Human Rights once again condemned Belgium on 18 February 2020 (Makdoudi v. Belgium, Application No. 12848/15) in matters of foreigners’ rights.
Have you retained a pied-à-terre in Belgium? Have you permanently returned from abroad? Your municipality could take the lead by enrolling you automatically in its registers. This sometimes happens on the initiative of a complainant who might have an interest in your enrolment at another address, for example, in the case of a family dispute.
EU and EEC citizens living and working in the UK who wish to receive reassurance and understanding regarding their rights in the context of Brexit can access two web apps developed by The AIRE Centre about the settled status (https://www.airecentre.org/am-i-eligible-to-apply-for-settled-status) and the permanent residence (https://www.airecentre.org/do-i-have-a-permanent-right-to-reside) respectively.