Dozens of Britons applying for Belgian passport

Dozens of British nationals living in Brussels and the area around the capital, have applied for a Belgian passport since Friday, the VRT news desk has learned. Thousands of British live and work in Belgium, but are now facing uncertainty due the Brexit. Many are considering taking a Belgian passport to be able to stay in the EU, while others are already taking concrete steps.

Elsene is just one Brussels municipality receiving applications. They had 30 since Friday. Burgomaster Dominique Dufourny calls it an exceptional situation. "We last saw this this when France decided to adapt the fiscal rules for the wealthy, with many rich French people wanting to become Belgians." Britons make up 2 percent of Elsene's population. "They want to stay here and provide their children with a safe future."

Ukkel received 11 requests from Britons in the past couple of days. This is compared to just 1 for the whole of last year. "This is clearly linked to the Brexit", says alderman Boris Dillès. "Some had the idea for a longer time, with the outcome of the referendum serving as the ultimate trigger."

The municipality of Waterloo is also talking of an "exceptional situation". They had some 15 applications. "People are worried about their working permit", explains Mayor Florence Reuter.

Tervuren had no fewer than 19 applications on one afternoon, while Overijse had 1 formal request.

Belgian passport: procedure and requirements

Foreigners living in Belgium have to start the procedure with their local municipality. Once the necessary documents have been assembled, they will have to sign a declaration, which stipulates that they want to become a Belgian national and that they will abide by the Belgian constitution, among other things.

The dossier next goes to the federal judicial authorities who will have to announce their decision within 4 months. Those applying for a passport, have to meet certain requirements:

  • they must have lived in Belgium for 5 years
  • speak one of the country's 3 official languages
  • be integrated
  • prove "economic participation"

 

This should not be a problem for most Britons living here. One more thing: the new passport will come at a cost of 150 euros.