Thursday, 22 February 2018

⑳ Cohabitation Visa Denied: What to Do for Visa Rejection? Reapply the Cohabitation Visa, Appeal or Hire a Lawyer?

Course of Action: Cohabitation Visa F Card Rejection 

If your application for the Residence Permit F Card is rejected, you will receive a letter from the authority to leave the country within a month. Being refused is very disappointing.Do not be disheartened and brace up. Here are some actions that you can take since the authority would state the ground of visa denial on the letter. You can improve on that the next round. So, what would be the best way to counter the refusal?

To reapply the cohabitation process again, to appeal or to hire a lawyer?

There are three ways mentioned for your consideration:-

1) Reapply for the Cohabitation Visa

The rejection letter will state the reason for cohabitation visa denial and the criteria not fulfilled. The couple has to work on the requirement that they could not meet. Go to the commune and make the application all over again.

You have to pay the application fees and buy new insurance. Probably by this time, the foreigner partner could be covered under the Belgian partner’s national health insurance plan to cut down some cost.

Perhaps the foreign partner would like to take the opportunity to go back to the country of origin for visiting the family members before coming back. It is also a good time after being grounded in Belgium for a while.

Points for Consideration

When does the foreign partner want to come back to apply the cohabitation procedure? Is it within six months? I am not sure whether the 90/180 day of the Schengen rule still applies in this scenario since the foreigner has stayed more than 90 days out of 180 days in Belgium.

It is advisable to send an email and check with the Belgian Immigration Office regarding the Schengen rule policy. That is to play safe by ensuring that the foreign partner has no problem entering the Schengen Zone within six months.

2) Appeal

An appeal against the decision would be an immediate thought when going through a rejection letter. However, other folks that have gone through this appeal process might not advise this method. The time taken to introduce an appeal would be much longer than for one to reapply for the cohabitation. Usually, the appeal period could be more than a year of waiting.

During the cohabitation appeal period, applicants have to go back to the commune every month to get a stamp on their document. The reminder to go back for the chop every month makes the person even more mentally tortured. It makes one wonder when this process would concretely end. It will not end until the result is out.

There is a high possibility that the result would still be negative by appealing. That is too painful after prolonged waiting and stamping every month. Well, if you believe that you have a strong case and evidence to appeal against the decision for a denied visa, you can check out the Belgian Immigration Office site for more info.

Points for Consideration

Why is an appeal not a favourable decision? The council has taken a decision to reject an application because the couple could not meet certain cohabitation requirement. By appealing, you are telling them that their decision is not correct.

On the other hand, if you have not rectified the problem that occurred and you go ahead to appeal, what would be the success rate? The current file has already a negative record that might manifest the problem further. In this sense, why not reapply the case and make it a fresh start?

3) Hire a Lawyer

The only reason I could think of for hiring a lawyer is when the case is complicated and not straight forward enough. It is not any straightforward case of merely submitting proof of relationship documents or to buy time until the relationship is at least two years old.

If the rejection reason from the authority is clear-cut and the criteria are indeed not met, you do not even need a lawyer! Just solve that problem by fulfilling the exact requirement, and you are on your way to get the family reunion visa on the next application.

Many applications are rejected eventually because they cannot prove a relationship of at least two years or when the Belgian’s partner income is insufficient when applying for a cohabitation visa. Sometimes, the file submission is complete but still denied of the residence permit F Card. That is when one needs an immigration lawyer to help to reduce the stress and to mitigate the problem.

» Case Study

One recent example of hiring a lawyer is a rejection letter received by an applicant in which the authority suspected that the company set up by her Belgian partner is not genuine enough. The company is newly set-up and would not have met either one of the Belgian’s minimum income criteria due to insufficient business transactions for any startup company.

In this scenario, the applicant can delay her second cohabitation visa process until the company of her partner is more stable or at least has been operating for a year to gather enough financial proof for submission.

If they choose to engage a lawyer to speed up the process, the lawyer would be able to advise the corporate documents required to submit to the authority that the company is not bogus and indeed running a real business.

Standing at the position of the Immigration Office, they have every reason to suspect that a company set-up is for the sole purpose of bringing the foreign partner over. If one has a malicious intention and by setting up a company with no real business transaction bringing their ‘foreign partners’ over, this method would be exploited for scam marriages.

Points for Consideration

The first point of consideration is always the cost of hiring a lawyer because it is not cheap. Establish the cause of rejection and whether it is necessary to hire a lawyer. Sometimes, the couple can just solve the problem by themselves using the first two methods discussed above without burning a hole in their pocket by engaging a lawyer.

That is to weigh the cost versus the need. You can refer to the website of notaris.be where it provides legal advice on marriage and cohabitation. The first advice given by a civil law notary may be free of charge.

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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