With only three weeks to go before the M card application deadline the latest issue of the UK Embassy's Citizens' Rights Newsletter has been published. You can download a pdf copy of the newsletter here.
The latest update for UK nationals resident in Belgium contains news that all UK citizens need to know and act on to avoid significant complications for their lives in Belgium in 2022. The most significant items are outlined below.
Issues for recent Dual nationals
If you have acquired Belgian nationality/ citizenship, you do not need to take any action unless you want to stay registered under your UK nationality as your commune/gemeente will have received automatic notification of your new Belgian citizenship.
However, if you have acquired another EU nationality other than Belgian, such as Irish citizenship, you need to take action as you can only be registered under one nationality. If you wish to remain registered under your UK nationality, you must apply for an M card by 31 December 2021.
If you wish to be registered under your new EU nationality, you must inform your commune/gemeente and get a new E or E+ card. Your existing UK nationality E/E+ card will automatically become void on 31 March 2022. It will also stop being accepted as proof of residence when travelling from 1 January 2022 unless accompanied by an annexe/ bijlage56.
Your children and the M card
Children under 12. The Embassy has recently been informed by the Belgian Office for Foreigners that children under 12 with UK nationality also need to have an application on their behalf submitted at the local commune/gemeente to regularise their status by 31 December 2021. The children will receive an annexe/bijlage 56 as evidence that they have applied for a status under the Withdrawal Agreement but will not be issued an M card. They will receive an updated 'identity document' with a specific reference to the WA.
Between 12 and 18 years. Children between 12 and 18 with UK nationality need to submit an M card application at your commune/gemeente by 31 December 2021. They will receive an M card, but they will not need to provide a criminal record extract with their application.
Bpost and your Christmas pressies
Most of us have had some 'issues' with Bpost over the year since Brexit happened - in particular with parcel deliveries from the UK and the introduction of new EU customs declarations requirements from July 2021. The Embassy has been in touch with Bpost and they have changed the way they implement the requirements to reflect customer concerns.
Now most parcels clearly identified as gifts with a value of less than EUR 45 and clearly labelled with the correct name and address details of both the sender and the recipient should be delivered without the recipient needing to supply additional information.
So tell your family and friends in the UK to ensure that they include their name and address on the packaging and that they must specify a value for the gift - if the value is left blank or described as "unknown" this will cause delays and Santa may not manage to deliver by 24 December.
Obviously, the BBCA (and the Embassy) will be keen to receive reports on your Bpost experiences over the Christmas period to ensure that the new guidelines are being implemented by Bpost staff.
You can download the full newsletter here and please take the time to watch the video below.
A message from UK Ambassador Martin Shearman and Belgian Secretary of State Sammy Mahdi