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On 25 October 2012, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives approved several changes to the Belgian Nationality Law (of 28 June 1984). After the approval from the Senate, the law entered into force on 1 January 2013.
Overall, the amendment tightens rules for the acquisition of citizenship. Among others, the following changes are introduced:
i) an application fee and a language requirement need to be fulfilled in all cases;
ii) in order to obtain the Belgian nationality on the basis of naturalization extraordinary merits for Belgium in some specific field constitute a requirement;
iii) in order to obtain nationality on the basis of nationality declaration, the applicant must have his main residence in Belgium for 5 years (down from 7) but must also prove his social and economic integration;
iv) in order to obtain nationality on the basis of marriage with a Belgian national, the applicant must have established the main residence in Belgium for at least 5 years (up from 3) and the couple must have been residing at the same address for at least 3 years (up from 6 months). Additional integration requirements are also introduced.
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