Step1: Adjustment of your civil status in the Belgian National Register
If you were divorced in Japan, your civil status will need to be adjusted in the Belgian National Register by the Embassy or by your municipal office in Belgium*. Please prepare the following documents:
- A certified copy of your divorce certificate: RIKON TODOKE KISAI JIKO SHOMEI - to be requested at the Japanese municipal office where the divorce took place. !Be careful: Do not request a juri shomeisho. This short version does not contain sufficient information for the Belgian government.
- Legalization: Every authentic certificate delivered by the Japanese government and for use in Belgium must be legalized with an Apostille (see 'Hague Convention'). This formality can be done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Gaimusho) (see website).
- Translation into one of the official Belgian languages: A translation of your divorce certificate, prepared by a Belgian sworn translator. A list of sworn translators can be obtained at the Court of First Instance in Belgium. A limited list of translators can also be found here. Make sure the names and dates were all correctly translated and transcribed from Japanese to your language.
- A self-addressed red Letter Pack Plus (520 JPY), so the documents can be returned to you by registered mail.
The divorce can only be registered if the original marriage was also registered. If the marriage (which is now dissolved) had not yet been registered, you need to have the marriage registered first, before beginning the divorce registration procedure. Please note that, even if you have never registered the marriage in Belgium and have gotten a divorce, you are still required to get both the marriage and the divorce registered in Belgium, your file will be considered incomplete until you have done so.
*Where to send the documents:
If you are registered in the Belgian Embassy in Tokyo
First, send all the original documents to the Embassy by post. Upon receipt of your documents, the Embassy will verify the information and adjust your civil state in the National Register accordingly. Next, the originals will be sent back to you by post (please include 520 JPY in cash or a self-addressed Letter Pack Plus). You can use these originals to transcribe your divorce certificate in the registers of civil state in Belgium (see Transcription of divorce certificate in Belgium).
If you are registered in a Belgian municipality
First, send copies of all documents to the Embassy. Next, send the original documents to your municipality of residence in Belgium. The municipal office will then adjust your civil state in the National Register.
Step 2: Transcription of the divorce certificate in Belgium
If you are registered in the consular registers of this post and you are divorced in Japan, the Embassy strongly recommends you transcribe your divorce certificate in your municipality in Belgium after the divorce is completed (note: not "inscription" or "declaration"). If you are no longer registered in Belgium, then you can have your divorce certificate transcribed by another municipal office (in order of preference): your last registered municipality in Belgium; registered municipality of blood relatives in Belgium; municipality where your birth was registered or. If none of these are applicable, you can have it transcribed by the city of Brussels.
When the certificate has been transcribed, you will be able to easily obtain an extract or a certified copy of your certificate whenever necessary. To prevent potential problems in the future, the Embassy strongly recommends you finalize this procedure as soon as possible.
Before starting this procedure, contact the competent municipal office to verify the requirements: Some municipalities require you to present the documents in person, others will accept family members, etc…
The validity of the divorce certificate with apostille and the translation is maximum 6 months.