Transcription of civil certificates
Foreign civil status certificates relating to Belgians can be transcribed in Belgium. Indeed, we strongly advise such transcription because once the certificate has been transcribed, you can easily obtain copies or extracts of the certificate from the relevant Belgian authority. In certain countries, obtaining a copy or an extract of the document can prove very difficult or in some cases even impossible (e.g. due to destruction of the civil status registers in wartime or in natural disasters).
In Belgium, such certificates can be transcribed in the civil status registers of the municipality of your domicile, or of your first abode after your return to Belgium. If you are neither domiciled nor resident in Belgium, you can have the certificate transcribed in the civil status registers of the municipality of your most recent domicile in Belgium or of the municipality where your ascendants were domiciled or of the municipality of your birthplace in Belgium or, in the absence thereof, in the City of Brussels.
What conditions does a foreign civil status certificate have to meet to be recognised in Belgium?
Foreign civil status certificates must have been drawn up by the relevant foreign local authority in the standard form used in that country. The certificate must have been issued by the foreign authority that drew it up or, in the case of a judgment, by the clerk of the court that passed sentence. Where appropriate, foreign certificates must be legalized or an apostil must be added to them in the country of origin.
Certificates that have been drawn up in a foreign language must be translated by a sworn translator into Dutch, French or German, depending on the municipality in Belgium where the certificate will be transcribed.
You may request a translation of the certificate in the country of origin or in Belgium. You will find on this site the list of translators appointed by the Embassy. In Belgium, a list of sworn translators can be obtained from the clerk of the court of first instance. In any case, the sworn translator’s signature has to be legalised.