How to apply for asylum in Belgium?

You can only apply for asylum in Belgium if you fear persecution in your own country. Belgium flows the UNHRC 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of refugees. Also, all the foreigners who enter Belgium have a right to apply for asylum. The refuge has to meet the criteria of the Refugee Convention to get asylum protection.

  • The Refugee Convention 1951: Asylum Seeker Must Meet Requirements
  • Procedure To Apply For Asylum 
  • Medical Requirements 

How to apply for asylum in Belgium? 

After you meet the refugee criteria, you can submit your application. You have to report to the Immigration Office (IO). The IO office is in Brussels. Try to reach there within eight working days after you arrive in Belgium.

You can apply at the Belgium border too.

All the asylum seekers are then sent to a reception centre. There are a total of 70 reception centres for applicants in Belgium. The CGRS checks your application. It can take around 3 to 6 months to get the status of your asylum application. If in case your application got rejected, you can file a judicial appeal. You can file an appeal within 30 days.

Belgian authorities process asylum applications and decide whether someone is eligible for protection. UNHCR does not register refugees in Belgium. They never process asylum petitions and do not issue refugee documentation.

You should submit your international protection application to the Immigration Office. They will record your application in Belgium.

The office of the commissioner general for refugees and stateless persons is CGRS. CGRS follows Belgian, European, and international law. CGRS is the first instance international protection body of Belgium. They review your application and interview you. They decide whether to grant you refugee status.

You may need to remain in Belgium during the international protection procedure. That is because of Dublin 3 rule. Dublin 3 rule is an EU regulation that says that you should claim asylum in the first EU country you enter.

So if you go to another European country without authorization. And if your international protection application is still ongoing in Belgium. That other European country might deport you back to Belgium. The same is true if you sought asylum in another European country before arriving in Belgium.

But Dublin 3 is an EU regulation and it is not international law. herefore. So you can challenge it with the help of a lawyer. And also any European country can choose to ignore it.

If the CGRS has made an adverse decision. You have the right to appeal to the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL) with the help of a free lawyer.

The CALL will either confirm (refuse), annul, or reform the judgment of CGRS. Appeal deadlines are strict and they can be pretty short, between 10 and 30 days, depending on the appeal.

UNHCR is not a participant in Belgium’s national, international protection system. It cannot overturn unfavorable rulings. And it cannot prevent forced returns to the country of origin.

If you receive an adverse decision. But you have more evidence that can justify your request for international protection. You can make a new request for international protection based on these new factors. You’ll need to remark on the new elements and why you did not offer them earlier. Following that, the CGRS will check your new application. This is a follow-up application.

On, you may discover information about asylum in Belgium. It is available in French, Dutch, English, Spanish, Tigrinya, Arabic, Pashto, Farsi, and Somali. CGCS has also information for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. That is available in French, Dutch, English, Albanian, Arabic, Farsi, Tigrinya, Dari, Pashto, Pular, Somali and Russian.

May I apply for asylum in Belgium?

You may seek asylum if you are afraid to return to your country of origin. And if you are in danger of serious harm.
You may seek asylum also because your country of origin cannot give you the protection you need.
That might be because of your race, religion, or nationality. Or it might be because of your political opinion, or membership in a specific social group. Or it might be because you are fleeing from war, torture, or inhumane treatment.

How much money do asylum seekers get in Belgium?

Asylum seekers cook for themselves in receiving facilities. Where they have access to primary health care as well. In this scenario, Asylum applicants receive between € 150 and € 200 per month in cash.

How long does the asylum procedure take in Belgium?

The average processing period in 2020 of cases by the CGRS was 213 days. That is from the time an application reaches the CGRS until the first decision by the CGRS.

What makes someone eligible for asylum?

You must prove that you fulfill the definition of a refugee. So you need to prove that you have either been a victim of persecution in the past. Or that you have a well-founded fear of persecution in the future.
You also want to show that you cannot receive protection in your country of origin.

Is Belgium a welcoming country for refugees?

Rejected asylum seekers from the Netherlands, Germany, and France have come to Belgium.

Does Belgium give asylum?

All foreigners who arrive in Belgium have the right to apply for asylum. They can ask Belgian authorities for security. Asylum seekers may receive some kind of financial help in Belgium. The conditions of refugee status are as set out in the 1951 Geneva Convention.

How many refugees are in Belgium?

More than 60,000 people are refugees in Belgium in 2020. 

Is Belgium good for refugees?

Belgium is considered a safe country for refugees. It also resettles people directly from war-torn.

What is the main nationality of refugees in Belgium?

The refugee applicants are from Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran.

What are the minimum requirements that asylum seekers must meet?

The 1951 Convention regulates refugee rights. A refugee is a person who has a fear while staying in his own country. 

Due to reasons like: 

  • Fear of getting harsh in the name of race, religion, and nationality, 
  • Or if a person is not having a nationality in his home country. Like the person is being outside the country due to his former habitual residence. 
  • Or some other major cause due to it person is unwilling to return to its own country. 

What are medical Requirements?

As soon as you reach the reception center, you will have a medical screening. The health assessments are free of cost. The main motive of the health assessment is to ensure that the refugees can shift to Belgium. It ensures that there is no risk to public health and themselves. All the costs from the residence to the medical facility will be handled by IOM. So, refugees don’t have to pay from their pockets for anything. 

In case a refugee is suffering from a disease. That can cause a risk to public health during travel. The person will get treatment until it is final that he/she can travel to Belgium safely. 

Can refugees’ children get an education in Belgium?

In Belgium, schooling is mandatory for all children aged 6 to 18. The residency status doesn’t matter as education is compulsory.

The local schools’ ability is not adequate to accommodate all the asylum-seeking children. There are mainly two types of classes. The bridging classes are in the French-speaking Community schools.

The reception classes are in the Flemish Community schools. These classes are for kids of newly arrived migrants and asylum seekers. 

Do refugees in Belgium have access to healthcare? 

The asylum seekers have the right to get all the necessary medical care. The National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance takes financial charge of health care. Fedasil also makes several allowances on the basis that the prices are too high. That depends on the asylum seeker’s procedural situation. The new hepatitis C therapy has an estimated cost of € 90000. It is a long treatment that loses its effects when stopped. It’s a long therapy that, when interrupted, lacks its effectiveness.

Even if they are on the RIZIV / INAMI registry, Fedasil declines to pay back those expenses. They pay for costs in that situation on the earlier, better care. 

Can asylum seekers work in Belgium?

As per the Law of 9, May 2018 Law is on the occupation of foreign nationals in a particular situation of residence. Asylum seekers may be working in the labor market. The refugees who have not yet obtained a verdict on their asylum request within four months can work. All the following asylum applicants are allowed to work. 

This waiting period reduces to 4 months from 6. By the Royal Decree of 29 October 2015, the federal government.

Asylum seekers required a work permit C for them to be allowed to operate before the end of 2018. But since January 2019, the right to work directly on the temporary residence permit. There is no longer a different work permit asylum seekers will work in the field they want. Also, asylum seekers have the right to operate until the CGRS adopts a ruling. Even in the event of an appeal, before the CALL notifies a bad verdict. They are so not permitted to function until the CALL during the appeal process. In case the CGRS treatment didn’t last more than four months.

The asylum seekers who send the next application for asylum are not allowed to function. The CGRS declares the request approved before they collect an orange card. Adult asylum seekers with labor market connexions will register as job-seekers. At the District Job Centers and are then entitled to subsidized help and training.
In reality, obtaining a position during the asylum process is very difficult. Because of the uncertain state of citizenship, it’s tough to get a job. 
There is less knowledge about the national languages of asylum seekers. It is the reason why overseas diplomas do not get job consideration. The lack of national languages is the cause of high rejection in the labor market.

Are asylum seekers in Belgium eligible for Self-employment?

Asylum seekers are eligible for self-employed work. Provided they are applying for a professional card. Only small and risk-free projects are allowed into practice.

Can asylum seekers in Belgium do volunteering?

Asylum seekers are allowed to do voluntary work. They can’t do it voluntarily until their procedure until they have a right to reception.

What is an Orange Card in Belgium? 

Orange Card Belgium is an informal name for the official Certificate of Registration. 

The Dutch name is ‘Attest van Immatriculatie’ in French, and ‘Attestation d’Immatriculation.’ The Orange Card is a form of residency permit. It entitled the holder to remain in Belgium for a limited duration. In French, the residency permit is known as “Titre de Séjour”.

If you have applied for the Orange Card, you can’t travel out of Belgium. Officially, you can’t travel within the Schengen countries. So, it is the most annoying thing about getting an Orange Card. The person can feel like a prisoner in Belgium during this duration. 

Orange Card Validity and Extension:

The Orange Card’s validity can vary from 3 to 6 months, depending on the reasons for the issue.

An Orange Card is valid for six months to declare a legitimate cohabitation. The foreign partner will get a response from the immigration bureau during this time.

The immigration bureau will check all your necessary documents. They’ll know if they should get a permanent residency permit (F Card).

In special cases which take more time for the authority to make a decision, they will tell you in writing. They keep the opportunity for another three months, to prolong the Orange Card twice.

  • They will send you a date of appointment by email or letter on/after the expiry date of your Orange Card. It will say you need to bring photographs and money with you. The contents may not explicitly state that your F Card gets accepted.
  • The Orange Card can get extended regardless of the more time it takes for a decision to be made.
  • The authority refuses the application for an F-Card. It will provide you with the justification for rejecting a visa for cohabitation.

On the official website, it is mentioned. That if you have not received any response from the commune, your stay must get extended.

Sources: Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS), Federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers (Fedasil)

The cover image is somewhere in Brussels, Belgium. Photo by Laura Thonne on Unsplash