Registering a change of address
The law requires that every person be registered in the registers of the municipality in which they have their actual main residence.
1. Declaring a change of address
All changes of address must be declared to the municipal authority where your new address is located. The declaration must be made within 8 working days of moving to your new address. Depending on the municipality, the declaration can be made in person at the counter, online, or by written application including a suitable form of identification for the applicant.
Depending on the municipality, the declaration may also be submitted through the Federal Government’s Mon DOSSIER application.
The declaration can cover the entire household.
2. Residence check
Based on the change-of-address declaration, the municipality will ask a local police officer to carry out a residence check (enquête de résidence). This check will take place within 15 days of the change-of-address declaration being made.
3. Actual change of address
If the residence check is positive (i.e. the local police officer is satisfied that the applicant genuinely lives at the new address), the municipal official will record the new address in the National Register. The municipal official will then ask the applicant to attend the municipal premises in person so that the information on their identity card or residence permit can be entered into the system.
If you move your main residence to another country, you must make a departure declaration in the Belgian municipality in which you are registered. This must be done no later than the day before your departure. If you do not do this, you will be automatically removed from the register, and your identity card or residence permit – which also serves as proof of your registration in the population registers – will be cancelled.
Objections and appeals
If you disagree with the municipality’s decision regarding your main residence, you can lodge an appeal within 30 days of being notified of the decision. Appeals must be submitted to the General Directorate for Institutions and Population (the appeal body is Minister for the Interior). The application must state:
- the surname(s), forename(s), address registered in the population registers, date(s) of birth and, where applicable, National Register number(s) of the person(s) whose main residence is disputed;
- a detailed description of the reasons for which the Minister’s intervention is requested;
- a detailed description of the applicant’s personal interest, if the person requesting the Minister’s intervention is not the person whose current main residence is disputed.
The application must be dated and signed; otherwise, it will be inadmissible.
The relevant available documents must be attached to the application.
The appeal procedure before the Minister is free of charge, but the applicant must bear any correspondence expenses (postage, etc.).
The deadline for processing the declaration has no bearing on the legality of the decision (délai d’ordre). Therefore, if no decision is made within the prescribed deadline, this shall constitute a tacit rejection of the appeal. In this case, an appeal against the decision may be brought before the Council of State for the purpose of obtaining a ruling requiring the municipal authority to make a decision. Failure to adhere to the deadline cannot give rise to an appeal before the Minister via the appeal procedure described above. However, the Minister may be held accountable through the chain of authority if the decision is unreasonably delayed.
There is no deadline for the appeal to be heard by the Minister. Only the tacit rejection of a refusal decision may be appealed before the Council of State. A decision by the Minister may be appealed before the Council of State within 60 days of notification of the decision. Appeals brought before the Council of State incur a fee.
All proceedings must be conducted in the language(s) that may be used in accordance with the language-use legislation in the municipality to which the applicant is seeking to change residence or the municipality in which they are registered. This means, in the Flemish Region: Dutch (and French in municipalities with special provisions for French-speakers); in the Walloon Region: French (and German in municipalities with special provisions for German-speakers, or Dutch in municipalities with special provisions for Dutch-speakers); and in the Brussels Capital Region: French or Dutch, depending on the language used by the applicant in the initial proceedings.
- Law of 19 July 1991 on the 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] (Articles 1, 5 and 8)
- 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] (in particular Article 7(5) and Article 10)
FPS Home Affairs
Direction générale Institutions et Population
Address: Rue des Colonies 11, 1000 Brussels
Email: Helpdesk.Belpic [at] rrn.fgov.be