What are the steps/procedures to follow when settling in Belgium ?

If you are not Belgian and should you wish to stay in Belgium (for longer than 3 months), you will need to get the required Belgian stay permits. The procedure to obtain them will depend upon your nationality, the length and the aim of your stay in Belgium.

Registration at the Commune

You need to present yourself, within 8 days, to the Commune where you reside, in order to register.


Foreigners who “risk persecution or fear for their life/security (serious motive) in their home country” can file for an asylum request with The Foreign Office (French acronym OE, for Office des Étrangers) in Brussels (within 8 business days of your arrival in Belgium) or at the border (as quickly as possible).


In Brussels, requests for international protection are filed at the “Petit Château” located at the following address : 27 Boulevard du 9e de Ligne, 1000 Brussels. It is managed by FEDASIL (Agence Fédérale pour l’Accueil des Demandeurs d’Asile – Federal Agency for Asylum-Seekers Welcoming, which is in charge for hosting those who request international protection).


The Foreign Office shall register the asylum request and check whether Belgium is competent to deal with it. It is then the turn of the CGRA (Commissariat Général aux Réfugiés et Apatrides – General Commission for Refugees and Stateless Persons) to grant or refuse the refugee status or the subsidiary protection. While waiting for the CGRA’s decision, you will receive a provisory stay permit and you will be hosted in a welcome center.

Obtaining a stay permit

A stay permit is an official document delivered by the Belgian administration and which proves the right of every Belgian or non-Belgian person to stay in Belgium (longer than 3 months). There are 2 categories of stay permits for visits which exceed 3 months : The limited stay permit (1 year, 2 years …) and the unlimited stay permit (5 years or more). The right to work shall also be mentioned on the permit. 3 mentions are possible :

« Work Market » :

  • « unlimited access » : You have unlimited access to the work market and you can work for whatever employer or function.. 


  • « limited access » : You only have limited access to the work market and thus you do not have free choice of your employer and/or work regime (unique permit)


  • « no access » : you cannot work.


Opening a Belgian Bank Account

Opening a Belgian bank account will be essential to perceive allowances (social, unemployment, family, …)as well as refunds of your health expenses or even your wage if you indeed work.

Please find hereunder the weblink explaining the conditions needed to open a bank account in Belgium and the procedure to follow should your request be refused.


Family Regrouping

As Belgian or foreigner legally staying in Belgium, there’s a possibility of bringing in some family members, if provided conditions are met. These shall depend on the situation of the person living in Belgium (“the grouper”) and on the family link which exists between the grouper and the person he/she wants to bring to Belgium (“the grouped”). Documents need thus to be transmitted proving that conditions to family regrouping are met.

Generally, the request for family regrouping shall be made abroad. It’s a visa request with the Belgian diplomatic or consular representative, but, in certain cases, it is also possible to file this request from Belgium. It will then be a stay request. In most cases, it’s the Foreign Office (OE) who will take the decision, whether positive or negative, concerning the family regrouping request.


Should the response be positive, the requestor shall receive a D-category visa and/or a stay permit.

Should the response be negative, the requestor can file an appeal with the CCE (French acronym for Conseil de Contentieux des Étrangers – Litigation Council for Foreigners, within 30 days of notification, or shorter delay in case of urgency). In certain circumstances, the requestor can ask for a review of the decision to the Foreign Office (within 3 months of notification). If the requestor cannot prove, with documents, the family link that exists between him/her and the regrouped person, the Foreign Office may order a DNA test. Lastly, another request is also possible.


Upon visa/stay permit delivery to the requestor (regrouped), the Foreign Office also communicates the conditions under which the stay permit can be renewed. These conditions must always be met when asking for renewal of stay permit. If not, the Foreign Office can order the end of the stay. However, the regrouped person has the right to be heard by the Foreign Office and to defend his/her case before the Foreign Office renders its verdict.

In the case of conjugal/domestic violence between the grouper and the grouped person, special arrangements exist to allow the abused regrouped person to keep his/her stay permit even if renewal conditions are not met.


Please note that as a refugee or as beneficiary of subsidiary protection, you have the right to bring your partner and/or your children along with you to settle in Belgium. Be careful though, during the first year of recognition of your refugee status, conditions to bring them to Belgium are soften : you will be exempted from transmitting documents proving you are living in an adequate accommodation, that you are covered by a health insurance and that you have regular and sufficient subsistence means.


Welcoming requestors of international protection : https://www.fedasil.be/fr

General Commission for Refugees and Stateless People : https://www.cgra.be/fr

Foreign Office : https://dofi.ibz.be/fr

Litigation Council for Foreigners : https://www.rvv-cce.be/fr

Specialized organizations in rights for foreigners :




Federal Center for Migration : https://www.myria.be/fr 

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