90 British nationals have become Belgians since Brexit

Un beau symbole de l’Euro-citoyenneté!

While UK news is in full swing and the post-Brexit shock is still felt in many Brussels municipalities, including Ixelles, the “European Commune” (which includes the most British citizens) has registered 90 British nationals as official Belgian citizens since the declaration of Brexit, with more requests underway. The Commune of Ixelles now registers an average of 4 to 5 requests for citizenship information a week.

In July 2016, 140 British citizens inquired about Belgian nationality and asked for the necessary documents to begin the procedures. The most common way of acquiring Belgian nationality is made possible by Article 12 bis & 1 of the nationality code. It states: “All persons living legally on Belgian territory for at least five years can obtain the nationality if they meet three criteria: at least one of three official languages and can prove his/her social and economic integration”.

© CheeseWeb

Brexit has provoked a wave of contradictory feelings: the rejection of Europe in the UK has brought about the opposite reaction in Brussels, where the European project and European citizenship, has been put into perspective, with a not only a real willingness to defend the European ideal but also that of togetherness. The British nationals who have requested Belgian citizenship are apparent symbols of this.

On the other hand, as we know, the situation for British civil servants is not the same as their protocol card does not fit within the criteria that permit someone to obtain Belgian citizenship via this path, creating a judicial gap at this level.