Last year, more Brits became Belgian again

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Last year, 859 Britons actually became Belgians. This is according to figures from the Federal Public Service’s Internal Affairs. There are already more than last year, while the figures for December are not yet complete.

source: Belgian

Since the UK opted to leave the European Union in a referendum in June 2016, more and more Britons are choosing to acquire citizenship of an EU member state. This pertains, for example, to Britons with family ties across the Channel, or expatriates working in European capitals. With the majority of European institutions located in Brussels, Belgium is a popular destination for the latter category.

In pre-Brexit times, no more than 150 Britons were granted Belgian citizenship each year. In 2015, for example, there were 114, in 2012 up to 78. But since the referendum in 2016, the numbers have risen sharply, according to Federal Public Service figures for the Interior. That year, 454 Britons acquired Belgian citizenship, in 2017 up to 1230. 2019 was the record year on record, with nearly 1,500 Britons naturalized. The UK was due to leave the European Union in March of that year, but Brexit has been delayed several times because then British Prime Minister Theresa May was unable to secure the divorce agreement she negotiated with the EU.

The United Kingdom finally withdrew from the European Union on January 31, 2020. Since then, the number of naturalized Britons has decreased. For example, last year there were 831. This year there were already 859. The numbers go up until December 4, so maybe a few dozen more will be added. It is about Britons who are registered in a Belgian municipality and who have obtained citizenship, thus completing the entire procedure. Existing applications are not included in the figures.

Since Brexit, Britons are no longer European citizens. From January 1, 2022, the British will lose their right of residence in our country if they do not submit the necessary applications by December 31 this year. In addition to Belgian citizenship, there is also something like an ‘M Card’ or ‘N Card’, which protects the rights of Britons and their family members who already had the right to reside here before Brexit or who were working. Frontier workers for five or ten years. Guarantees of years.

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Megan Vasquez

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