Certificate of main residence
The municipalities, the General Directorate for Institutions and Population (DGIP) and Federal Public Service Interior are responsible for keeping the population registers up to date.
The register is based on the actual main place of residence of each citizen. The main residence is either the place where the members of a household (whether related to each other or not) habitually reside, or the place where a person living alone habitually resides.
The main residence is the criterion for registration in the register.
Following a change-of-address declaration, the municipality verifies whether the new main residence is genuine. This verification consists of a check at the residence. The main residence becomes effective once the check has confirmed that the person genuinely lives at the address specified in the change-of-address declaration.
The certificate of main residence
1. How to get a certificate
Various channels can now be used to obtain a certificate of main residence:
- through the municipal authority covering your place of residence;
- via your municipal authority’s electronic point of contact (guichet), if it has one;
- via the National Registry’s Mon DOSSIER application. The certificate can be downloaded and/or printed. The electronic version bears an electronic signature from the National Registry, which certifies its authenticity. NB: because of the electronic signature, only the (downloaded) digital version is legally valid.
Obtaining a certificate of main residence from the municipal authority, whether in person or via the electronic point of contact, may incur a fee; this depends on the municipality and/or the purpose for which the certificate is requested. Ask your municipal authority for more information.
The certificate of main residence provided through the National Register’s Mon DOSSIER application is free of charge. This also applies to all the other certificates and civil status documents available in Mon DOSSIER.
For more information, go to Mon DOSSIER:
3. If you find a mistake or want to appeal
The Mon DOSSIER application lets you alert the municipality to any mistakes in your data, including data relating to your main residence, e.g. a wrong letter box number). The municipality with then look into your request for rectification.
After checking, it will decide whether or not there is a mistake.
If you disagree with the municipality’s decision on data rectification (NB: this is not the same procedure as when appealing against a decision on main residence, for which the Minister for the Interior is the first point of appeal), you can lodge an appeal to the Council of State within 60 days of being notified of the decision. This procedure incurs a fee.
• Law of 19 July 1991 on population registers, identity cards, foreign residents’ cards and residence documents (Loi du 19 juillet 1991 relative aux registres de la population, aux cartes d’identité, aux cartes des étrangers et aux documents de séjour).
• Royal Decree of 16 July 1992 on the population registers and the foreigners’ register (Arrêté royal du 16 juillet 1992 relatif aux registres de la population et au registre des étrangers).
FPS Home Affairs
Direction générale Institutions et Population
Address: Rue des Colonies 11, 1000 Brussels
Email: Helpdesk.Belpic [at] rrn.fgov.be