Thursday, 22 February 2018

⑫ What are the Cohabitation Requirements and Process from Commune Letters and Email?

Cohabitation Requirements after Signing the Contract

Following my visit after signing the legal cohabitation agreement on 15 July 2016, this article is about the contents of the letters received and the emails transmission between the commune and me. It includes the instructions on cohabitation visa requirements and process in Belgium from the commune.

In fact, all communications were by emails. Hence, it made things so much easier. As a result, no more visit to the Stadhuis anymore except to collect my Orange Card and the residence permit F Card / Belgian eID. The cohabitation process was running smoothly for weeks until the day I received my Orange Card.

During my holiday in France from 16 to 31 July, I received two letters dated 18 July from Stad Antwerpen. It was three days after I signed the Declaration of Legal Cohabitation Contract. The response was fast.

Content of First Letter dated 18 July 2016

» Delayed Registration of Legal Cohabitation

The email acknowledged that I had declared a legal cohabitation. Unfortunately, the municipal office could not register the agreement inside the National Register for the time being. They needed more time to conduct further investigation. After the verification, the municipal office would make a decision as soon as possible.

The registration in the National Register of my legal cohabitation declaration was postponed to 15 September 2016. The given date would be two months after signing the cohabitation contract. The public prosecutor might extend this period for another three months. If the extension occurred, the commune would inform me by writing.

Content of Second Letter dated 18 July 2016

» Proof of Relationship for “Declaration of Legal Cohabitation”

For a smooth preparation of my file, I have to present evidence of the relationship with my partner in advance. The Municipal Office provided the examples below for submission which help them to determine the duration of the relationship.

  • Facebook prints
  • Documents
  • Invoices
  • Letters
  • Any other proofs

On top of that, they wanted a summary or overview of our relationship to help them get a better picture. I have to provide all the evidence before 1 August 2016. The evidence can be sent by email or delivered to Districtshuis Deurne during office hours. If I want to use the email method, the subject heading or body text must state the reference number clearly.

The file reference number for this letter starts with ws. It stands for ‘wettelijk samenwonen which means ‘legal cohabitation’.

Content of Email dated 22 July 2016

  • Proof of Relationship for “Investigation of Fake Relationship”

On 22 July 2016, still on holiday in France, I received an email with a file reference number starting with CL. I had no clue what CL implied. It was not the same reference number as above.

The sent email was in regards to the ‘Registration of Newcomer’ in Antwerp performed by my boyfriend on 13 July 2016. Only some communes provide this online registration for a newcomer in Belgium. Thus, we had made use of this service.

The email affirmed that the office had my application for registration as a newcomer well received. They had started a file with reference ‘CL’. To further assess my case, I had to provide them additional information as soon as possible with the following documents:

  • Foreign passport and visa
  • Approval for Declaration of Legal Cohabitation Contract
  • Proof of Relationship / Evidence for relationship durability in a legal cohabitation:
    • Common child OR Proof of living together for 1 year OR Know each other for 2 years
    • Title Deed of the property OR registered lease
    • Proof of health insurance valid for the partner and his/her family living in Belgium
    • Proof of income of the partner in Belgium (Eg. payslips)
    • Payment Proof of federal contribution

Email the documents digitally to the Immigration office. (They seem to encourage this method.)

How Do You Send Your Documents?

  1. Documents scan separately including front and rear;
  2. In the subject heading of the email: full name and the file reference number;
  3. List the attached documents in the covering email.


There is a federal fee for processing the application for residence in Belgium. It is part of the contribution to cover the cost partially of certain procedures.

How Much Should You Pay?

€160 for processing of application (which is the cost contributed from a foreigner of third national / non-EU country). This amount may differ if the applicant is from EU/EEA or in other circumstances). The final amount can change depending on the final application submitted (anyway, there was no additional cost for me).

How Do You Pay?

  1. A European bank transfer to their bank account number.
  2. Fill in the following reference note in the following manner on the bank transfer:
    • Foreign Partner’s Name | Surname | Nationality | Date of Birth
  3. Attach the proof of payment to the documents requested above.
  4. Without the payment receipt, the request could not be processed.

(My boyfriend filled in his bank detail instead of mine during the bank transfer. Luckily, it was not a big problem after clarifying with the staff on the day of collecting the Orange Card.)

What Happens After Receipt Of The Documents?

There would be an email acknowledgement. The documents sent over would be added to my file which they created. After processing the documents, they would send me an email to inform my appointment for registration.

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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