Earlier this week (16 Feb) our friends in Brexit and the Belgian Brits (BAABS) held an interesting webinar with Anthony Valcke on M Cards, residency and routes to becoming Belgian. Presentations from the webinar should be posted via a link on their Facebook page soon.
However, in the meantime there were a few very clear takeaways from the event that apply to many ex-pat Brits in this group and have sparked a lively discussion over on the BABBS facebook page.
The main points from the webinar are:
If you need legal support or have a really specific question for a lawyer about your residency rights or application to become Belgian, then Your Europe Advice
offers free legal advice. NB/ Anthony Valcke works as a lawyer here.
The annexes you receive while waiting for your M Cards are not travel documents. *There is a risk that you may* not be able to re-enter Belgium with them as a resident *(particularly if you are travelling through other Schengen countries)*.
If you want to apply for Belgian nationality this year, you should not apply for an M-Card *until you have signed the nationality declaration* as an M-card is not valid as **proof of lawful residence towards* your nationality application. If you have already applied for or made an appointment to apply for one then cancel it, *if you intend on applying to become Belgian later in 2021.*
When you submit an application for the M Card, do not* give in your E (E+, F, F+) cards until you actually have the M Card handed to you. If the commune asks for you tell them to refer to the Royal Decree, or ask Your Europe Advice/a lawyer to write you a letter to take to the Commune.
All UK nationals who have no prospect of applying for Belgian nationality before the end of this year must apply for an M-card well before 31.12.2021.
*Finally, M Cards are not currently listed in the Royal decree as proof of lawful residence for the purposes of applying for Belgian nationality. However, we will work with Anthony in the future to lobby to change this, I would like this to be something we can help to change together and I'm sure we will be calling on you for help in due course.
BABBs – The Movie
Don’t forget BABBS is raising funds for a documentary project that aims to tell the world about how how Brexit is affecting us all! BABBs webinars and events are free (like BBCA Brexit events) to be as open, democratic and inclusive as possible, but if you could help BABBS to create the new film, the BABBS team would be very grateful! Find out more and how to donate here.