I'm in the research process for possibly naturalizing to be a Belgian citizen in the future. I've found most of the sites say "you'll need to have been legally resident in Belgium for 5 years." This caused me to wonder how many days minimum of staying in Belgium out of the 5 years could make me eligible for applying for Belgian citizenship.

For instance, in Canada, "you must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days in the five years." I believe Belgium should have its legal term. This concern is based on a practical issue. Nowadays, a person traveling to another country is normal, especially in Europe. However, I wonder whether extreme absence from Belgium could trigger ineligibility, for instance, if a personal traveled outside of Belgium more than 300 days a year.

On the other hand, absence from Belgium for short travels shouldn't make someone ineligible to apply for citizenship, right?

I've been trying to find some clauses/terms on the web, but I haven't found any solid info.

  • I don't know the answer to your question. You may well have to consult with an expert in Belgian citizenship law, probably an attorney or solicitor (I don't know how the legal profession is organized there) in Belgium. Apr 13, 2020 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately the exact definition of an Uninterrupted stay could not be found on an official site, so the following information is based on the Red Cross - Info Integration (Eupen) site.

The official sites refer to the local registry office, so asking there for confirmation that the text quoted below is correct is advised.

Since the application must be made locally, the local registry office will be checking their records to see if the residence requirements have been fulfilled.

Within the period of 5 years

  • the sum of 12 months or
  • a period of 6 months or more

Temporary visits outside the country do not count.

This is based on the Belgium Nationality law (BeStaGB) Art7bis (3), amended 01.01.2013.

The statement, from the unofficial site, that

  • periods of absence must be only reported that are longer than 3 months

should be considered misleading, since Art7bis (3) BeStaGB makes no exception of the the sum of 12 month rule.

Ununterbrochener Aufenthalt:
Eine Unterbrechung des Aufenthalts liegt vor, wenn

  • man länger als 6 Monate nicht in Belgien lebt (abwesend war) ODER
  • die Abwesenheiten ein Total von mehr 1/5 des geforderten legalen Aufenthalts beträgt. Zum Beispiel legaler Aufenthalt von 5 Jahren: die Summe der Abwesenheiten darf nicht mehr als 12 Monate betragen.

In jedem Fall muss es sich immer um Abwesenheiten handeln, die der Gemeinde mitzuteilen sind (bei Abwesenheit länger als 3 Monate)

Uninterrupted stay:
There is an interruption of the stay if

  • you live outside of Belgium for more than 6 months (were absent) OR
  • the absences total more than 1/5 of the required legal stay. For example of a legal residence of 5 years: the sum of absences must not exceed 12 months.

In any case, absences must always be communicated to the municipality (for absences longer than 3 months)

Belgium Nationality law (BeStaGB), amended 01.01.2013

Art. 7bis
§ 3. In the cases provided for in this Code, the uninterrupted nature of the stay referred to in § 2 is not affected by temporary absences of up to six months, insofar as these absences total the duration of one fifth of the periods required in this Code for do not exceed the acquisition of nationality.


  • Very nice work! +1. Apr 15, 2020 at 14:50
  • I've modified the English translation, making it closer to the German in a couple of cases. In one notable instance, however, I made it less similar to the German in the service of sounding like English. The German "länger als 6 Monate nicht in Belgien lebt" more literally means "live for longer than 6 months not in Belgium," but that is a weird way of saying it in English. But the original translation, "do not live in Belgium for more than 6 months" suffers from a common ambiguity of negation in English, so I tripped over it a few times before I understood it properly.
    – phoog
    Apr 16, 2020 at 21:22
  • In case you want to add the statutory citation, it's article 7bis, section 3, of the Wetboek van de Belgische nationaliteit, also known as the Code de la nationalité belge.
    – phoog
    Apr 16, 2020 at 21:46
  • 1
    The logical error here is the fallacy of implication: the requirement to report absences longer than 3 months is taken to imply that absences shorter than three months don't count. But it doesn't mean that; it only means that a person who is qualified for naturalization must anyway report absences of between 3 and 6 months' duration. Someone who has been outside of Belgium for three two-month periods in each of five years cannot say that the total duration of their absences is less than 12 months, because it is 30 months.
    – phoog
    Apr 16, 2020 at 22:22
  • @phoog, thank you, actually i think your explanation is more rational, on my previous example, I stated an extreme situation to verify if Mark's interpreted correct, because I doubt it which based on a common sense. But thanks for both of you provided the valued ideas.
    – Eric C
    Apr 17, 2020 at 3:35

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