The number of requests for Belgian nationality has dropped dramatically.

There were 10,000 requests a year from 1995 to 2012 but just 175 in 2017, according to figures provided by N-VA MPs Sarah Smeyers and Werner Janssens.

Belgian citizenship is based on a mixture of the principles of jus sanguinis and jus soli. In other words, both place of birth and Belgian parentage are relevant for determining whether a person is a Belgian citizen

The massive drop in requests for Belgian nationality could be caused by the harsher rules which were introduced in 2013. Applicants now have to have been living in Belgium for 5 years, speak one of the official languages and show proof of integration.

After Brexit, Brussels has seen a steep surge in nationality requests from British residents. The UK’s departure from the European Union has yet to be technically started, but British residents in Brussels are wasting no time in looking into the possibility of becoming Belgian citizens in order to remain in the EU.

The number of requests in Belgium began dropping in 2013 and dropped even more in 2014. The Chamber’s Naturalisation Commission received just 175 requests in 2017. There have been 104 requests so far this year.

Applicants can prove their “social integration” mainly by showing that they are working in Belgium.