Residence Formalities

European civil servants & SNE’S

Special Identity Card (SIC)

In Belgium, civil servants working for a European or international organization, and seconded national experts, have the right to ‘simplified residence’, which amounts to the issue of a ‘special identity card’ issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and not by the municipal authority. The members of their family can also take advantage of this system unless they are working in Belgium.  Indeed it is forbidden to work for a belgian employer with a special If card!  Holders of these special cards must not register in the commune where they live. They are however included in a separate local authority register and receive a national number (though this does not appear on their special identity card). 

  • Even with a SIC you still have to go to your local authority for all administrative matters such as the request for documents and certificates (family make-up, certificate of residence, certificate of good conduct, etc.).
  • Validity: the special identity card (SIC) is valid for 5 years and can be renewed.
  • The legal partner/spouse of the holder of a SIC can also receive a SIC provided that he/she does not practise any professional activity (not even part-time).
  • Children can receive a SIC until a certain age (25 for civil servant’s children and 18 for SNE’s children) After 25 or 18 they have to enrol on the municipal register of the borough where they are living and must hand in their SIC. This also applies to children under these ages who are engaged in a paid work placement or student job.
  • What every holder of a SIC should remember: you must inform the Protocol Department of any change of address while staying in Belgium.
  • It is also always possible to give back the SIC and decide to go at the municipality to obtain the Belgian residence permit. This is for instance useful for children being nearly 18 years old. How to proceed?
    • Return you special Identity card at the Protocol Department of your institution.
    • Obtain from the Protocol Department of your institution a document proving that you gave back your SIC and that you wish to register through the municipality.
    • With this document report to the municipality to start the procedure of registration. 


Concretely civil servants can chose from the start to get a special ID card via their own institution or to register directly at the commune.

  • If you wish the special ID card
    Consult the administrative procedure for the registration of staff members of International Organisations based in Belgium and their family members.
Seconded National Experts (SNEs) are officials or members of staff of a national, regional or local government administrative body in a country, called the ‘sending state’, who are made available to an international organisation either based in Belgium or officially recognised here by what is called a ‘headquarter agreement’.

If you are an EU citizen you can either register with your local authority or submit an application for a special identity card to the Protocol Department at the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs of the Federal Government.