Tuesday, 20 October 2020

⑮ 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 the 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 and Social Integration Course. However, you have to study at your cost without government’s subsidy if you do not have an Orange Card.

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 €200 (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 fascinating Belgium from the eyes of an expat.

4 comments

  1. Hello Miss SJ,

    How did you receive the legal cohabitation contract approved by the Municipality (Gemeentebestuur)? Did you receive the contract in the mail or via email?

    We already had the police come to check our apartment last month but still no news about approval. Only received a letter in the mail 2 weeks ago about the postponement, same letter you received.

    Do you know what number I can contact to get an update about the status of my legal cohabitation application?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Kimy, I received the approval via post. I emailed to the Districtshuis if I had questions for them. They always replied in a few days. I had never called them before.

      • Thank you for the reply, Miss SJ.

        After 2 months of lodging our cohabitation process, I finally received the approved legal cohabitation contract. After submitting the approved contract, it took another month to get an appointment date at the city hall. My appointment is in 2 months! So much time has passed by! I am very frustrated. The appointment email said I need to bring the following docs:

        Deze uitnodiging (via uw smartphone kan u deze QR-code ook scannen aan de zuil); Email invitation on iPhone
        Nationaal paspoort; Passport
        – 2 pasfoto’s; 2 passport photos (white background, 45 mm H, 35 mm W, dimension head must be between 25 and 40 mm)
        betalingsbewijs federale bijdrage (evt. rekeninguittreksel / stortingsbewijs + stempel post); proof of payment of federal contribution (possibly account statement / deposit certificate + stamp post)
        bewijs 2 jaar regelmatige ontmoetingen voorafgaand aan de aanvraag; proof of 2 years of regular meetings prior to the application
        bewijs samenwoonst 1 jaar voorafgaand aan de aanvraag; proof of cohabitation 1 year prior to the application
        verklaring van wettelijke samenwoning; declaration of legal cohabitation
        bewijs ziektekostenverzekering geldig in België voor Belg en familieleden; proof of health insurance valid in Belgium for Belgian and family members
        geregistreerd huurcontract of eigendomsakte; registered rental contract or title deed
        bewijs voldoende en regelmatige bestaansmiddelen Belg (*); proof of sufficient and regular resources Belgian (*)

        I have a few questions about the requirements:

        1. The requirement “bewijs 2 jaar regelmatige ontmoetingen voorafgaand aan de aanvraag; proof of 2 years of regular meetings prior to the application.”

        What exactly do I need to bring? I have sent passport stamps and photos and all other digital proofs of our relationship to sah[@]stad.antwerpen.be. Do I need to print everything, or put all the files in a USB, or can I email the same to vreemdelingenzaken.info[@]stad.antwerpen.be?

        2. The requirement “bewijs samenwoonst 1 jaar voorafgaand aan de aanvraag; proof of cohabitation 1 year prior to the application.”

        We have only been living together in Antwerp since 01/08/2018, but we have an approved verklaring van wettelijke samenwoning since 08/10/2018. We did live together in Manila, Philippines for 1 year. What proof do they need exactly? Would you know?

        3. The requirement “bewijs ziektekostenverzekering geldig in België voor Belg en familieleden; proof of health insurance valid in Belgium for Belgian and family members.”

        My Belgian partner has his personal health insurance. Will this be enough? Or will they be needing something more?

        4. My appointment for 28 December. Will this be the date I will obtain my Orange Card?

        • Hi Kimy,

          Thank you for sharing the latest requirement for a family reunification process in Antwerp. I appreciate it! 🙂

          1) In Antwerp, you need to submit 2 to 3 times proof of relationship for the entire cohabitation process. I read that you have emailed your relationship proof once. Bring along a USB with those submitted documents in case the staffs ask you for it next month.

          If there is a new reference number or new email address to the one you received above, please resend all proof of relationship as the Gemeentehuis may overlook it. You can’t believe I have to submit a basic document like my passport for 3 times via email.

          When you received your Orange Card and Bijlage 19ter on that day, the 19ter form will tell you to send the documents that they need. This time, the Gemeentehuis will send them over to the Brussels Immigration Office.

          Do not print out anything. In Antwerp, they prefer you to send all documents digitally. I believe the instruction is for your information only.

          2) You can ignore the statement to prove that you are living together for one year if you cannot produce it. Many of us do not have it anyway. If you can dig out the rental contract of both your names living in Manila, then this will be a useful document to submit.

          3) Your partner must produce his health insurance certificate. Obtain a copy from the insurance company. Have you already submitted your 3-month insurance coverage in Belgium as well? It will be better if you can get your partner to cover your medical insurance. Read the procedure how you can do it.

          4) Congratulation! Yes no doubt, on 28 Dec, you are going to receive your Orange card. Please also bring along the print-out receipt of your federal payment. Do not get frustrated. It will take about 12 months to receive your F Card from the day you declare a cohabitation. Patience is the key to slow bureaucracy.