Crunch time for special ID cards in Belgian nationality cases?

Today the Belgian Supreme Court (Hof van Cassatie / Cour de Cassation) will be hearing three cases on the issue of the refusal by the Belgian authorities to consider that a special identity card can constitute proof of lawful residence for the purposes of applying for Belgian nationality by declaration (art. 12bis WBN / art.12bis CNB).

The cases relate to three persons born in Belgium who have been refused Belgian citizenship on the sole basis that they held a special identity card, which according to the Belgian authorities does not prove lawful residence in Belgium. Our firm has been representing the individuals concerned before the Belgian authorities.

While the lower court initially ruled in our clients’ favour, the case was appealed by the Procureur’s office. The court of appeal then ruled in favour of the Procureur and dismissed all arguments alleging discrimination under Belgian law and breach of EU law. The requests to refer the matter to the Belgian Constitutional Court and to the EU Court of Justice were refused.

A further appeal was brought before the Belgian Supreme Court against these judgments of the court of appeal. The legal basis for the appeal is discrimination contrary to Articles 10 and 11 of the Belgian Constitution and breach of the rules on preliminary rulings to the Belgian Constitutional Court.

In the event the appeal is successful before Belgian Supreme Court, this will not however be the end of the matter, as the case is then expected to be sent back to the appeal court and be referred to the¬†Constitutional Court to determine whether there is any discrimination…

However, it will mean taking one further step towards achieving final closure on this issue.

In the event you are affected by a refusal of the Belgian authorities to grant you Belgian nationality on the basis that you have held a special identity card, please feel free to contact us for further assistance.

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