The meaning of the acronym A.A.C.B. in the Belgian immigration files

During my research in the Belgian archives, I came across a few files in which a document had the following acronym “A.A.C.B.”:

Source: Antwerp Immigration File no.175159 (Dorf Wolf - Kapelna Frieda)

I, as curious as I am always, was wondering about the meaning of that acronym.

During genealogy research (and I assume that this is true for each research), each small part, can have a significant meaning with implications for the outcome of research. Therefore I try to understand as much as possible of each small element. Thanks to this approach I do learn quite a lot new things about history, culture, politics, etc.

To get back on topic; I did receive the explanation from the very helpful employees at the Antwerp archives (
They told me that A.A.C.B. stands for “Ambtelijke Afschrijving College Besluit” which roughly translated into English means cancelling the citizenship by official decision of the authorities and the file was closed for the person in question.

The reason for a A.A.C.B. can be one of the following:

  • Someone left the city without announcing to the authorities. If they later on returned after their file was closed, it became harder to get an approval for a second residence permit.
    Many Jews who fled during the World War, had to have their closed files reopened. I found many files in which their files were reopened with the reason that they had no choice but to flight the atrocities of the Nazis. (This of course was an accepted cause for their leaving without announcing to the authorities of that time).
    You can find an example of a letter explaining the exception to the rule hereunder: 

    Source: State Archives in Belgium - Police des Etrangers - Vreemdelingenpolitie - File no. 1562518 (Kallech Samuel - Antman Esther)(pers.ref.102_9471)

    Same as above but bigger in size for readability purposes

  • A decision made by the authorities that the person in question cannot get a residence permit in the first place (for whatever reason).
  • etc.

I found on the Internet the following nowadays rule regarding A.A.C.B. cases in which they basically say that if a person who left the city without any traces, will be deleted from the civil registry and the identity card will be destroyed too:

Ambtelijke afschrijving

Bij de vaststelling dat iemand de stad verliet en niet meer op te sporen valt, schrapt het college van burgemeester en schepenen deze persoon uit het bevolkingsregister. Het gevolg is dat deze persoon niet langer in regel is met eender welke administratieve regel en zijn/haar identiteitskaart wordt vernietigd.
(source: click here for the source)

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