Belgians registered in a Belgian commune can no longer get an ordinary passport (valid for 7 years) from foreign consulates, the Foreign Affairs SPF has said. If someone reports their passport lost, stolen, or damaged, consulates can only give them a temporary one to replace it. Since the introduction of the Belgian Consular Code in June 2014, consulates can only give temporary passports, which are designed to get those concerned back to Belgium. The document can be valid for a year and is “recognised all over the world (in some cases it can be used to a visa to the destination country). This allows travellers to continue their journey without having to go back to Belgium”.
The Foreign Affairs SPF says that when a Belgian registered in Belgium wants to live abroad for a long period of time, they are legally obliged to tell their commune. They can ask to be taken off the Belgian registers and register with an embassy or a foreign Belgian consulate, which they can ask for a passport. They can also remain on the registers in Belgium as a “temporary absent person”.
“Temporary absences, according to the law, are generally for a maximum of a year, and a Belgian passport is valid for seven years. Therefore, a passport obtained in a home commune before a journey should easily cover people for the period they’re away. They shouldn’t have to worry about renewing it while they’re abroad”, the SPF says. Belgians now need to plan ahead before their departure, to make sure their passport will not expire while they’re away.
Communal and consulate administrations are only giving passports to those on their own registers as they are trying to fight fraud, which is constantly on the increase.
Jason Bennett (Source: Belga)