All Belgian nationals over 12 years old whose main domicile is abroad and who are listed in the population register kept by Belgian embassies and consulates must apply for a Belgian identity card (ID card).
This document is a valid travel document that can be used in EU Member States and a number of neighbouring countries. ID cards must not be confused with the proof of identity or residence permit issued by the relevant authorities in your country of residence. The latter two documents are only valid and officially recognised in the country of residence.
Electronic identity (eID) cards
Since 1 December 2010 Belgian embassies and consulates switched to issuing eID cards.
These eID cards are valid for 6 years (when you are 12 to 18 years old), 10 years (when you are 18 to 75 years old) of 30 years (when you are older than 75). They remain valid if you move to an area falling under the jurisdiction of a different embassy or consulate or return to Belgium. Moreover, most eID cards of Belgian nationals who have moved abroad since August 2008 and who registered their move with their local authority will also have remained valid.
Non-electronic ID cards issued abroad are not electronic, remain valid. ID cards become invalid when you move to an area under the jurisdiction of a different embassy or consulate or return to Belgium.
Belgians living abroad may install ‘certificates’ on their eID cards that enable them to identify themselves and give their consent securely over the Internet in an internationally accepted manner (i.e. a digital signature). The eID card can immediately be activated by the Belgian embassies or consulates in Alicante, Barcelona, Berlin, Bern, The Hague, Geneva, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Marseille, Paris, Strasbourg, Tenerife. Should you opt to activate the certificates functions as well, you will have to collect your eID card in person at your embassy or consulate.
Should you opt not to use these functions now, you may always have them installed on your eID card later by going to any Belgian local authority or to one of the embassies or consulates mentioned by name above, which will install them immediately. To do that, you will have to go along in person and bring along the PIN unlock (PUK) code of your eID card, which you were given at roughly the same time as the card was issued to you.
For more information about eID cards, installation and so on, see www.eid.belgium.be.
Your application will be processed as soon as your form and photo have been submitted and the relevant payment has been made (€20 for an eID card) to the embassy or consulate.
NB: Photographs must meet the requirements stipulated on the official website : (Link)
- to specify your main language preference for your card;
- to sign in the right box. As soon as children can write (when aged 6), they should enter their name or signature in the box themselves. Should the applicant be unable to sign for medical or physical reasons, an explanation must be appended to the application. Any applicant unable to sign the application form should leave the box empty;
- to indicate whether or not you want certificates immediately. If so, you will have to come and fetch your eID card in person.