Main residence

The main residence is the place where a family or a single person usually lives. A family may consist of related persons (family members) and/or unrelated persons (e.g. friends, life partner, etc.).

The place where a person mainly resides is based on the factual situation. It is therefore the place where the family or the single person actually resides for most of the year. This is determined on the basis of various elements:

  • the place you go to after work
  • the place where your children go to school
  • energy consumption and telephone costs
  • the place of habitual residence of your spouse or other members of your family
  •  …

It is not enough to intend to reside in a particular place. Your main residence must be the place where you actually reside. Conversely, once you have established your main residence somewhere, you cannot be prevented by anyone else from registering that address as your main residence. Not even you can do that.

Your main place of residence is established on the basis of an enquiry. The way in which enquiries are made is established by your local municipality. Usually it means a local police officer visiting you to see whether you actually live at the designated address.

Once enquiries have been made into whether your main residence is in a certain municipality and this has been established to be the case, your name will be entered in that municipality’s population register.

Municipalities are not allowed to refuse to register someone because the housing they are in is unsafe or unhealthy, or for planning reasons. Municipalities cannot refuse to register someone because the place where they are living is considered to be unsafe or unhealthy, or because their housing cannot be used as a main residence for any other reason (e.g. it is a weekend cottage, on a camp site, etc.). In that case, the person in question will only be provisionally registered. The municipality can then initiate administrative or legal proceedings to put an end to the irregular situation.

More information about main residence on the page population register of the FPS website (in French).

FPS Home Affairs

General Directorate for Institutions and Population: