British residents in Belgium can breathe a sigh of relief after the announcement that the new residency “M card” will be included in the list of residence documents that qualify for the acquisition of Belgian nationality.
This update means that the card – which all Brits living in Belgium before 31 December 2020 are entitled to apply for as proof of their status – will be added to the list of documents that can be used to prove a legal stay in the country.
“On the proposal of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne, the Council of Ministers approved a draft Royal Decree amending the legislation on the acquisition of Belgian nationality in the context of Brexit,” a press release from the minister reads.
In more concrete terms, this draft provides for the inclusion in this list of the attestation and residence permits issued to British nationals who are beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement.
“In doing so, we are safeguarding the rights of British people and their family members who reside in Belgium and wish to acquire Belgian nationality,” Van Quickenborne added in a statement.
This news follows an open letter sent to Van Quickenborne outlining concerns over a potential “administrative oversight” that left the M card absent from the list of residence documents that qualify for the acquisition of Belgian nationality.
The signatories – who represent Brits living in Belgium – expressed concern over what they saw as an “accidental oversight rather than a wilful intention,” warning that it does not negate the fact that it could result in those looking to become Belgian being denied the opportunity to do so.
Lauren Walker contributed to reporting