If you are a foreign resident living in Belgium, you may be eligible for a Belgian passport if you qualify for Belgian citizenship. Discover more about the Belgian passport requirements, renewal process, and more with this guide.
Belgium is an EU country which permits dual nationality, which means that you won’t have to give up your original nationality unless your home country requires you to. A Belgian passport will enable you to travel freely across the EU and also means that you can travel worldwide as an EU citizen.
This guide to Belgian passports includes information such as:
- The benefits of a Belgian passport
- Passport eligibility
- How to apply for a Belgian passport
- Renewing or replacing a passport
- Passport costs
The Belgian passport
The Belgian passport is a biometric passport with an electronic chip containing the passport holder’s key personal details. Belgium was one of the first countries to start issuing electronic passports back in 2004 and the new biometric passport including fingerprints was issued in 2014. The standard passport is a burgundy-colored booklet, like many European passports, that comes in either 35-page or 60-page format. The main page will feature the holder’s photograph, signature, key personal information, and passport ID number.
The Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs issues passports in Belgium. The following types of passports are available:
- Standard biometric passport issued to all citizens.
- Diplomatic passport issued to state officials and members of the Royal Family.
- Service passport issued to civil servants carrying out official duties abroad.
- Temporary passport issued in emergency conditions. This green passport is only valid for six months, however.
Belgian passport benefits
Upon becoming a Belgian citizen, getting a passport is optional. All Belgian citizens and permanent residents are issued with an electronic ID card which enables you to travel around 50 countries including across the EU, but a Belgian passport enables you to:
- leave and re-enter Belgium as many times as you wish without restrictions while the passport is valid
- travel around the world as a Belgian as well as an EU citizen
- have dual nationality and own two valid passports, providing your home country permits dual nationality
- travel to 117 different countries visa-free. The Belgian passport ranking is 16th in the world on the Passport Index
You can also read our guide to Belgian citizenship and permanent residence for more information on the benefits of citizenship.
Belgian passport eligibility is based on Belgian citizenship which you can get after 5-10 years of living in the country. In addition, Belgian passport requirements include knowledge of one of the three main languages spoken in Belgium and proof of social and economic integration. You can also see our guide to Belgian citizenship for more details.
Applying for a Belgian passport
If you wish to apply for a Belgian passport, you can do so through either:
- your local municipality in Belgium if you are a Belgian resident
- the Belgian embassy or consulate in your home country if you are living overseas
You will need to provide proof of identity (such as your Belgian ID card) along with your previous passport if you are applying to renew your passport. You will also need to provide your signature along with your biometric information (digital photograph and fingerprints). Passports for children under the age of 18 require a signature by the child (from the age of six) as well as by a parent or legal guardian.
Passports are usually issued within five working days of the documents and relevant information being received. Applicants within Belgium are required to collect their passport from their local municipal office if they can, otherwise, they need to send an authorized individual to collect. A new fast-track service issues passports within 24 hours for an additional fee.
Renewing a passport
Belgian passports are valid for seven years (five years for children). You must renew your Belgian passport if it expires or is near expiry, or alternatively if the photograph in your passport no longer resembles you.
It is the same process for passport renewal as it is for getting an original passport, but you will need to provide the authorities with your existing passport.
If you lose your Belgian passport or it is stolen, you should contact the authorities immediately. The procedures depend on where you are at the time your passport is missing.
- If you’re in Belgium, notify the police or your local municipality and call Doc-Stop on 00800 2123 2123 straight away. This prevents fraudulent use of your Belgian passport.
- Are you on holiday abroad? Notify the local police immediately and call Doc-Stop on +32 2518 2123. In case you need a passport to return to Belgium, contact the Belgian embassy or consulate in the country you are visiting. If there is no Belgian embassy or consulate, contact one from another EU country
- If you live abroad, notify the local police immediately and call Doc-Stop on +32 2518 2123. You can also notify your embassy or consulate about the loss/theft.
Current passport costs are:
- Standard passport (32 pages) is €65 for adults and €35 for children
- 64-page passport is €240 for adults and €210 for children
- Passport issued through the fast-track next day service is €240 for adults and €210 for children
- Passports issued abroad through a Belgian embassy or consulate are €240 for adults and €210 for children
Passports for foreigners issued abroad in a Belgian embassy or consulate must be paid for in the local currency at the current exchange rate.
Making a complaint about a defective passport
If you believe that your passport is defective (e.g., some of it is unclear or unreadable, there is damage to the electronic chip), you can ask for a free replacement if your passport is less than a year old or if the defect is in the transparent sheet that has come away. You should also contact your local municipality (or embassy or consulate if you live abroad). If you have suffered a financial loss due to a production defect in your passport, you can apply for compensation by filling in this form here.