Learn more about the benefits of getting a Belgian passport, whether you’re eligible, and how to renew or apply for one.
A Belgian passport allows you to travel visa-free to over 100 countries and leave and reenter the European Union as many times as you like. You can read more about the benefits of a Belgian passport and the procedure to apply for one in the sections below:
- Passports in Belgium
- Benefits of getting a Belgian passport
- Who can get a passport in Belgium?
- Applying for a Belgian passport
- Dual nationality and second passports in Belgium
- Renewing or replacing a passport in Belgium
- Lost or stolen passports in Belgium
- Cost of passports in Belgium
- What to do if your Belgian passport has a defect?
- Useful resources
It's no secret that moving abroad can be stressful. Sirelo's team of removal advisers is here to help. They provide five free quotes from international shipping companies so you can find the best options at the best prices. Take the stress out of your relocation to Belgium with Sirelo.
Passports in Belgium
In Belgium, you do not automatically receive a passport after becoming a citizen. You need to apply for one at your local municipal office, or your local Belgian embassy or consulate if you live abroad. The Foreign Affairs ministry, which is part of the Federal Public Service (FPS Foreign Affairs), issues passports.
All Belgian passports contain a unique 8-character alphanumeric identifier. They also include the holder’s name, date and place of birth, photograph, and signature. Standard Belgian passports are valid for seven years for adults and five years for minors.
Like other EU countries, the standard Belgian passport is biometric with a burgundy cover. It comes in 32 or 64-page formats, and the front cover bears the Belgian coat of arms. Furthermore, it has text on the outside in the three official Belgian languages: Dutch, French, and German. The order in which these languages appear varies depending on the Belgian region from where the passport holder comes.
Besides the standard biometric passport, Belgium also issues the following types of passports:
- Diplomatic passport – This is issued to members of the royal family, Ministers of State, diplomats, and attachés.
- Service passport – This is issued to civil servants working for the Belgian Federal Public Service (FPS) who are sent on an official mission abroad but don’t have diplomatic immunity.
- Temporary passport – This is issued only in emergencies where urgent travel is required. It has a dark green cover and is valid for six months.
FPS Foreign Affairs also issues special travel passes for refugees, stateless persons, and, in exceptional cases, foreign nationals. In addition, Belgian diplomatic representatives abroad can also provide six-page emergency travel documents to Belgian citizens who have lost their passports.
Benefits of getting a Belgian passport
While the mandatory Belgian national ID card allows you to travel to about 50 different countries (including throughout the EU), you need a passport for a trip further afield. The Belgian passport ranks 3rd in Arton Capital’s global passport index with a world reach of 87%.
Some of the key benefits of getting a passport in Belgium include:
- Traveling across the world as a Belgian and an EU citizen, with the right to leave and enter the EU as many times as you like
- Visa-free travel to 114 countries, including all of Europe and South America
- Visa on arrival in 48 countries
- An electronic travel authorization (eTA) in 7 countries, including Australia, Canada, and the United States
- Option to have dual nationality and multiple passports, if permitted by your country of origin
Who can get a passport in Belgium?
To apply for a Belgian passport, you must first obtain Belgian citizenship. The most common way for foreign nationals to acquire Belgian citizenship is through the declaration of nationality procedure.
To qualify for Belgian citizenship, you need to have lived in the country for an uninterrupted period of 5–10 years. Additionally, you must show sufficient knowledge of one of the three official Belgian languages (Dutch, French, or German) and proof of integration into Belgian society.
Applying for a Belgian passport
You can apply for a Belgian passport at your local municipal office. You’ll need to take along the following documents to complete your application:
- Your Belgian national ID card
- Your previous passport (if you had a Belgian passport issued to you in the last 10 years)
- A color passport photo that meets the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards
The ICAO Standards require that your face is completely uncovered and has a neutral expression, your eyes are entirely visible, and your head and shoulders are straight. You can often find instant passport photo booths at train stations in Belgian cities. These booths usually verify if the photo meets all the required standards. Another option is to go to a professional photo studio. It’s important to note that your application can be refused if your photo fails to meet the criteria.
Applying for a Belgian passport at a municipal office
At the municipal office, you’ll need to provide your biometric information (digital fingerprints from the age of 12 onward) and signature. Passport applications for children under the age of 18 have to be signed by both the child (from the age of 6) and one of the parents. The child needs to present at the municipality in person for this.
Under the normal procedure, you can collect your passport within five working days at your municipal office. You’ll receive a text message or email to inform you when it is available. There is also a fast-track service that issues them within 24 hours for an additional fee. If you send someone else to collect your passport, you must provide them with a power of attorney. You can ask your municipal office for a model power of attorney form.
Applying for a Belgian passport abroad
If you’re living abroad, you’ll need to submit a passport application form to your local Belgian embassy or consulate. Note that you must be a Belgian citizen to apply. The application form and process differ based on the age of the applicant.
For children under six, you’ll need to send the relevant application form and a color passport photo of the child to the embassy or consulate. For adults and children over six, you must fill out and send a different application form. In this case, you don’t need to provide a passport photo. Instead, once your form is received, you’ll need to make an appointment with your embassy or consulate. At the appointment, you’ll provide your biometric information (digital photo and fingerprints).
You can get the passport application forms at your local embassy or consulate or download them from the website of FPS Foreign Affairs. The forms are available in the three official Belgian languages.
Belgian embassies and consulates worldwide issue passports at the same price, regardless of local currency. However, the total costs will be slightly higher to cover the additional costs of international postage. The processing times are usually longer, too, taking up to 10 working days. You can collect the passport in person once it arrives at your consulate, send someone else with a power of attorney, or have it delivered to you by post for an additional price.
Dual nationality and second passports in Belgium
Belgian law allows some citizens to possess dual, or even multiple, nationalities. That means that some people who acquire Belgian citizenship do not need to give up their original nationality. As long as you are a Belgian citizen (dual or otherwise), you can apply for a Belgian passport.
Renewing or replacing a passport in Belgium
Belgian passports are valid for seven years for adults and five years for children. You must renew it if it expires, is near expiry, or if the photograph in your passport no longer resembles you.
The process for renewal is the same as for getting a passport for the first time, but you will need to provide the authorities with your existing one.
Lost or stolen passports in Belgium
If your Belgian passport is lost or stolen, contact the authorities immediately. The procedure depends on where you are when it goes missing.
- If you’re in Belgium, immediately notify the police or your local municipality and call Doc-Stop at 00800 2123 2123. This will prevent fraudulent use of your Belgian passport.
- If you’re on holiday abroad, notify the local police and call Doc-Stop at +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, inform the local police immediately and call Doc-Stop at +32 2518 2123. Also, notify your embassy or consulate about the loss/theft.
To get a replacement passport, you must follow the same procedure as applying for a standard passport. You can opt for the fast-track procedure for an additional price to get your new passport within 24 hours. Your embassy/consulate is also authorized to issue emergency travel documents if required.
Cost of passports in Belgium
You can find the latest passport costs on the website of FPS Foreign Affairs or your local Belgian embassy/consulate. The current passport costs (in Dutch) are as follows:
- The standard passport (32 pages) is €65 for adults and €35 for children, both for Belgian citizens in Belgium and those abroad.
- A 64-page passport is €240 for adults and €210 for children, both for Belgian citizens in Belgium and those living abroad.
- A passport issued through the fast-track next-day service is €240 for adults and €210 for children.
In addition to these costs, you may also need to pay municipal taxes and postage costs – the amount you need to pay depends on where you live. Passports issued abroad in a Belgian embassy or consulate must be paid for in the local currency at the current exchange rate.
What to do if your Belgian passport has a defect?
If your passport shows a production defect (e.g., some of it is unclear or unreadable, there is damage to the electronic chip), you can have this checked by your local municipal office or embassy/consulate. In case of a defect, you will get a free replacement of your passport with the same period of validity. The passport with the defect will not be returned to you.
Additionally, if you have suffered a financial loss due to a production defect in your passport, you can apply for compensation. The compensation form is available on the website of FPS Foreign Affairs.