Thursday, 22 February 2018

⑮ Legal Cohabitation Approval and Orange Card Appointment: What to Bring?

Approval of Legal Cohabitation Declaration and Things to Bring for Orange Card

Declaration of Legal Cohabitation Approved

On 10 August 2016, six days after the cohabitation visa documents submission, one email requested me to submit the approved Declaration of Legal Cohabitation Contract (Verklaring Wettelijke Samenwoning). So, they wanted me to submit the same document that my partner and I signed at Districtshuis Antwerpen. Since that time, the Stadhuis retained back the contract pending approval from the Municipality (Gemeentebestuur).

One week later, I replied that I had not received the document as there was a postponement due to “further investigation”. (Refer to “Content of FIRST Letter dated 18 July 2016”) During this period, the Police also visited our apartment on 16 August. You may like to check out the post about police visit and prepare yourself for tough questions.

A few days later on 22 August, the Stadhuis replied me. According to the record in the National Register, my legal cohabitation was approved and registered on 16 August 2016. Moreover, they wanted me to email the official letter after I received. Undoubtedly, it came as a pleasant surprise that I did not have to wait until September to receive the approval.

True enough, I received the legal cohabitation contract three days later on 25 August, approved by the Municipality (Gemeentebestuur). Consequently, I submitted the below which came as a set:-

  1. Registratie Wettelijke Samenwoning (Registration of Legal Cohabitation)
  2. Bewijs Van Wettelijke Samenwoning (Proof of Legal Cohabitation)
  3. Verklaring Wettelijke Samenwoning (Declaration of Legal Cohabitation)

I believe receiving the approval letter for the cohabitation agreement would lead to the next step for getting the Orange Card. The letter content below stated the cohabitation contract as one of the requirements. Despite that, my friend who lives in another city received her approved cohabitation agreement on the same day as her Orange Card.

First Obstacle Cleared: Orange Card Appointment

I received an appointment date by email. I had to proceed to Districtshuis Deurne for my Orange card collection on 27 September 2017. The issue of Orange Card is usually close to the tourist visa expiry date which is after the second month. Most people worry from the second month onwards if they never hear any news about their Orange Card.

That is because their visa is going to expire in one month’s time. Honestly, people do not have to worry even if they did not receive their Orange Card within three months. As long as the cohabitation visa application is running, one can continue to remain in Belgium. That includes taking Dutch language classes. However, you have to study at your cost without government’s subsidy.

Besides, the email also mentioned that the police would come and visit us to complete the registration process. I replied that the police had already visited us on 16 August. The letter also advised, “it is important that your name is clearly visible on the door or doorbell”.

I requested a date change for the Orange Card collection as my boyfriend had to work overseas on 27 September. Correspondingly, he was frequently not at home during that stretch of the period. I suggested the appointment date to either 21, 22 September or after 7 October based on my boyfriend’s availability.

Thanks to Stad Antwerpen for being accommodative and responded swiftly. As a result, they brought forward the appointment date to 21 September at 8 am. I presumed they gave us some priority and squeezed us in for that day after accepting our valid explanation.

What are the Things to Bring for the Orange Card?

If you receive a similar message requesting you to bring the following documents below, that is a piece of good news.

  • National passport and / or Belgian residence permit / eID
  • Original Copy of Approved Legal Cohabitation Declaration (Verklaring Wettelijke Samenwoning)
  • 2 x Passport photos of Foreign Partner
  • Payment Proof of Federal Fee €160 (Printed receipt or printed screenshot of the receipt)

Congratulation! The authority has approved your Orange Card. Some people received such an email but were not sure whether it was the time to collect the Orange Card. The answer is unquestionably positive!

About Live in Belgium

Hello, my name is MissSJ. I am a Singaporean. I am living with my Belgian partner since July 2016 in a cosmopolitan city, Antwerp. However, I had been travelling to and fro Belgium since 2011 as a tourist. The creation of this blog is to document my new journey in Belgium which I would like to call 'home'. Join me in discovering the fascinating Belgium from the eyes of an expat.

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