Wednesday, 1 April 2020

⑯ Orange Card + Annexe / Bijlage 19ter: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know




Orange Card Belgium: How Long It Takes? Can I Work and Travel? What is Bijlage 19ter? (Hint: Working)

What is an Orange Card for Cohabitation in Belgium?

Orange Card Belgium for Legal Cohabitation Visa
Photo Credit: Agentschap Integratie en Inburgering

Orange Card Belgium is an informal name for the official term of ‘Certificate of Registration – Model A.’ The Dutch name is ‘Attest van Immatriculatie’ and ‘Attestation d’Immatriculation’ in French. The Orange Card is a type of residence permit that entitles the holder to a temporary stay in Belgium. The residence permit is also known as “Titre de Séjour” in French.

The foreign partner must file for a ‘Certificate of Registration’ to the commune within three months of entering Belgium. Thus, one has to sign a legal cohabitation contract as soon as possible. Preferably, within eight days upon arrival in Belgium. The rest of the procedures will follow suit after a declaration of legal cohabitation.

The Orange Card will have a National number. Correspondingly, it bears the same numbers as the F Card which is the Belgian Identification Card. The annoying part of getting the Orange Card is that the holder cannot travel out of Belgium officially including travel within the Schengen countries. As a result, one feels at times like a “prisoner in Belgium”.


Orange Card Validity and Extension

The validity of the Orange card can range from 3 to 6 months depending on the reasons for the issue. For the purpose of declaring a legal cohabitation, an Orange card is valid for six months. During this period, the foreign partner will get a reply from the immigration office through the commune. They will know if they can get a permanent residence permit (F Card) after submitting all the relevant documents.

You must fulfil all the criteria of a family reunification stipulated by Belgian Immigration Office. Additionally, all the submitted documents are duly completed. Then, you should receive the Orange Card in time. In exceptional cases which the authority requires more time to take a decision, they will inform you by writing. They reserve the right to extend the Orange Card twice for another three months.




No News is Good News

Within the six month waiting period of the Orange Card, the municipal will inform the applicant of one of the followings below: –

  1. They give you an appointment date on/after your Orange Card expiry date by email or letter. It will state that you have to bring photo and money. The content might not indicate clearly (like mine) that they have already approved your F Card.
  2. There will be an extension of the Orange Card due to more time needed to take a decision.
  3. The authority rejects the F-Card application and provides you with the reason for the cohabitation visa refusal.

It is stated clearly on the official website that your stay shall be granted if you did not receive any reply from the commune. Hence, no news is good news.


Other Purposes of Orange Card in Belgium other than Family Reunification

Other than for the purpose of family reunification and waiting for the cohabitation visa, there are several other reasons for issuing an Orange Card.

  • People with medical reason such as a serious illness that impede movement
  • Victims of human trafficking
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Asylum seekers
  • Students pending for entrance examination result to enter into a higher academic institution

To clarify doubts of those people who have yet come to Belgium. The Orange Card Belgium is not a replacement of the Schengen Type C Travel Visa. They have no relationship. It is still obligatory to apply for a Schengen Visa if the passport holder has no exemption from the application.

One will receive the Orange Card in 2 to 3 months’ time after arriving in Belgium, especially in Antwerp. Some of my friends in Antwerp receive the Orange Card in the mentioned timeline. That is on condition that the cohabitation declaration process starts early and goes smoothly.

Lately, I have read more and more cases where people were issued Orange Card 5 to 6 months later and had very tough police procedures with translator provided and grilling session during the interviews.


How Long Does It Take to Receive the Orange Card after Arrival in Belgium?

It is the most common question that people want to know. I took two months (21.09.2016) to receive the Orange Card after arriving in Belgium (15.07.2016). For some others, they receive the Orange Card 4 or 6 months later. Yes, by that time, their three months passport visa/visa-free would have expired by then.


Is it Illegal to Stay in Belgium after the Visa Expires and the Orange Card not Received Yet?

So, it is considered illegal to stay in Belgium? When one still has not received the Orange Card within the first three months of arrival? As long as one has declared the legal cohabitation in the commune in 90 days, it should not be considered illegal to stay.

However, I have read about a case where the police came to someone’s house to serve a notice to leave Belgium within 30 days as she had overstayed 90 days (visa-free). After clarifying with the Gemeentehuis, the notice to leave Belgium was withdrawn.

After all, the commune should also be responsible for issuing the Orange Card on time. If they do not, one should not be penalised for being an ‘illegal immigrant’. I have a friend who had this problem. The commune did not issue her an Orange Card during the first three months. The Stadhuis told her she could continue to stay while the investigation process run.

Can I Travel with Orange Card?

With an Orange Card, technically, you are NOT allowed to travel out of Belgium. The Orange Card grants you a temporary stay in Belgium and not in Schengen Zone when your 3-month travel visa expires. The Stadhuis had confirmed this statement to be true on the day of collecting my Orange Card.

On the same wavelength, bear in mind with the visa expiry, one cannot travel out of Belgium anyway. That is the 90/180 Days Schengen rule. Under a tourist visa, no one can stay in any Schengen Area for more than 90 days in 6 months’ time unless there are other supporting travel documents to do so. You have already stayed in Belgium for 90 days or more.

Do Not Take the Risk!

After all, you have waited this long to get the Orange Card. Therefore, let’s not succumb to the travelling temptation and take the risk. Moreover, there are many beautiful cities in Belgium worth exploring. Have you been travelling to other regions and cities? I take this as the best opportunity to travel more in Belgium. You can always travel out of Belgium at a later date once you get the residence permit F Card.

Exiting out and re-entry in Belgium are entirely the responsibility and risk of the Orange Card holder. One cannot foresee incidents and accidents while travelling out of Belgium. These unpredictable circumstances may put you into a complicated situation later. As the old saying goes, you can do anything you want but don’t get caught. You have been warned.

Tip: Within the first three months of your arrival, travel out of Belgium and have as much holiday as you want during this period. Then, you will not feel regretful and unhappy when you receive the Orange Card later. Henceforth, you will feel grounded in Belgium for at least six months or more.



 


Suggestions to Reduce Travelling Risk

Since there is no border control in the Schengen Area, some people would naturally take the risk. There are others who travel out of Belgium with success. It is just a matter of luck. If you decide to take the risk, here are some suggestions to reduce it.

  • Take a train, bus or paid carpool trips such as blablacar to your destination to and fro.
  • Avoid taking a plane including departing from neighbouring airports in France and the Netherlands.
    • The Customs Officer may check your passport and the date of your last entry when you come back.
    • This sentence is particularly true for Asian women as they get checks often for overstaying.
    • Again, Schengen rule reminder: shall not exceed a stay of 90 days continuously out of 180 days > You have already stayed in Belgium for (more than) three months.
  • If you receive the Orange Card within three months of your travel visa, depart from any Schengen country and arrive in London later. Then from London, take a train, bus or paid carpool trip back to Belgium.
  • If you receive the Orange Card after three months (say on the 5th month), depart and arrive at London airport. Then from London, take a train, bus or paid carpool back to Belgium.
    • Exiting the Schengen Area at this stage (after three months) indicate that you have already overstayed in the zone.
    • Exiting out is not too much of a problem comparing to re-entering Schengen Zone.

Important: Although the United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen Area, the Customs Officers in the London Airport do check on the passports for overstaying in Europe. The above suggestions are solely my opinion for risk takers with some understanding of how the Schengen system operates. I cannot guarantee that my method would be 100% safe. I reiterate again that it is a matter of luck for getting caught.

Return Visa (Terugkeervisum) – Exceptional Cases to Travel out of Belgium with Orange Card

Travelling out of Belgium with an Orange Card is not allowed in principle. There are always cases where people want to leave Belgium due to a particular reason before receiving their residence permit. The authority may grant permission to travel out of Belgium with a Return Visa while holding an Orange Card only in exceptional circumstances.

Examples are medical, family or business-related reasons. In the events when a family member is seriously ill or has passed away, these are valid grounds for leaving Belgium. One also has to produce proof to the commune before they would grant you the Return Visa (Terugkeervisum) or otherwise known as Re-Entry Visa to leave Belgium.

It is a requirement under a family reunification procedure. Orange Card is one of the five types of appendix granted for such application. In other words, the Belgian Immigration Office states that: –

If you leave Belgium before the end of the procedure but would return later to continue the process, then you need a re-entry visa. Unless if you are exempt from the visa requirement for short stays in the Schengen area and provided that you do not have stayed 90 days in a period of 180 days in the Schengen Zone.

The Belgian Immigration website also provides the email address gh.secretariaat@ibz.fgov.be and fax number 02 274 66 56, to send your urgent exceptional reason to the service reunification. Of course, the request is always subject to approval. There is no harm in trying if there is a need for you to leave.

In fact, attending the wedding of a close relative is one of the most commonly known reasons to leave Belgium. If you are already aware of a significant event date in advance, get an answer from the commune as early as possible. Fill up a form there for the Return Visa application.

If you are not in Belgium yet, get your partner to check with the commune to see if they will allow you to leave Belgium for this particular reason. It will help you plan your schedule better. On the other hand, you can also delay the cohabitation visa process at a later date.


When Can I Travel Out of Belgium?

You can travel out of Belgium when you receive an F Card. It is an eID. The F Card signifies the end of the grounded days in Belgium. The Immigration Department may give their positive reply to you in 6-weeks time following your completed documents submission.

However, the date given to collect the orange card is on the last day of the Orange Card or even later. Inform the commune if you have to go back to your country to attend a function such as a wedding. They may accede to the request and bring forward the eID collection date. There are more rejections than success rates for reasons such as attending a wedding.


Can I Study Dutch and Attend Integration Courses with Orange Card?

As you cannot travel out of Belgium, you must be pretty boring, right? Not necessarily so. You can take advantage of your free time to register for the Civic Integration Programme in your commune with an Orange Card. The programme consists of Inburgering / Social Integration Course and basic Dutch language courses at a subsidised rate which is mandatory for non-EU nationals to take up to beginner level 1.2.

In other communes other than Antwerp, you can go to Huis van Nederlands (House of Dutch) to inquire about your Dutch lessons. Atlas in Antwerp will handle both the mentioned courses above. A programme counsellor who is part of the Civic Integration Programme will assist you throughout this period.




Can I Work with Orange Card?

Yes, you can work with the Orange Card provided that your partner is a Belgian or an EU citizen. You will follow your partner’s right to work in Belgium without the need to apply for another work permit. If your partner is not a European citizen, you cannot work in Belgium with an Orange Card. You have to get a company who is willing to help you apply for a work permit.

I have a Belgian partner. Besides, the commune has confirmed that I can work with the Orange Card on the day of collection. Furthermore, I have also found a contract job two days after collecting my Orange Card. My first working experience in Belgium will confirm the question positively to those doubts of yours.


» Working with Orange Card and Annexe/Bijlage 19ter

Important: Your prospective employer or employment agency will need your Orange Card together with Bijlage/Annexe 19ter (19b) concurrently to process the employment contract.


What is an Annex 19ter?

Bijlage/Annexe 19ter (a.ka. 19b) is the application of a residence card as a family member of a Belgian, EU citizen or Swiss. The person who receives this annexe is a non-EU citizen or third-country national after requesting for a family reunification. The issuing of this form with the Orange Card should have the same date with a 6-months validity period.

The Annex 19b will list the documents needed to submit to the authority within the first three months of your Orange Card. The immigration office will then use the remaining time to decide on your right of residence in Belgium. Nevertheless, if you submit all the documents early, you might receive a reply in less than a month after submission. I received a positive reply to my F Card in 17 days.


» Bijlage 19ter Listed Cohabitation Documents Requirement

I received my Bijlage 19ter together with the Orange Card on the same day in September 2016. In other cities, one can receive the two items on separate days. The Bijlage 19ter stated the documents received by the commune from my first submission in August which was one month ago.

They also listed down specifically the final documents required as the last submission to the Belgian Immigration Office. In another word, the file must complete with all the necessary documents and proof of relationship in the filing record.

In fact, the requested documents in my Bijlage 19ter are a repetition of what I submitted in a Cohabitation Visa Template in August. That being so, I resubmitted nearly the same information. I adjusted a few changes in my document template. Like removing out items that the record already had and adding in new information that the Bijlage 19ter requested.

In the new additions, the Appendix 19ter specifically wanted my boyfriend’s 12 months payslips and his national health insurance. The Annex 19b also needed my private medical insurance policy and proof of relationship once again. Though I have included them in my last August document submission, it was apparent they were not inside the record.




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.

90 comments

  1. Hie, thank you for your blog. It has really helped me a lot. But I have a question now. The town hall just told us that they have received a positive decision from public prosecutors office and they can now register our legal cohabitation and start the process of the family reunion.

    What puzzles me the most is why it is taking so long. We signed the legal cohabitation document in September. Sadly, we went for a holiday and the police came four times, and we were in Thailand. So when we came back, we called the police. They asked us to come to the station. We were there and had separate interviews with my bf.

    So now what process exactly do they mean they can start? I thought already this was a process of me getting the orange card. We submitted all documents they needed from proof of income to all the insurance and all those non-marriage certificates etc, even the ones for proof of relationship. Thanks for your help

    • Hi Michelle, the whole process consists of 2 parts:

      i) Signing the legal cohabitation paper and getting it approved
      ii) Family reunion stage where you will receive an Orange Card

      The first process took long because you went for a holiday, thus you missed 4 police visits which delayed your legal cohabitation process. You should have completed this procedure 1 to 2 months ago and then proceed to the next stage. December and summer holidays are festive periods where many people take leave, which increases the waiting time for the application.

      When the town hall said they could start the process now, it refers to the family reunion where you will receive your Orange Card soon. If the documents you submitted are not enough for the Immigration Office, the Annex 19ter will state the remaining of what you have to submit. You may also be asked to resubmit all the documents again. Hope it clarifies!

  2. Hi, my Belgian boyfriend and I signed the declaration of our legal cohabitation last year August 2019. The town hall said that we have to wait 5 months maximum to get an answer. On 23 Dec 2019, they called us to inform that they accepted our legal cohabitation but no orange card issued. They gave me a paper of 19 Bijlage. They said I will receive the result if I can have my orange card in June 2020 or not.

    Now about the 19 Bijlage, they want us to submit a bunch of requirements same stuff as what I did when I applied for cohabitation visa from my country. What is the Bijlage 19 for? And why they asked us to pay already the € 204 supposedly for F-card fee while they could not even give me an orange card? I hope you can enlighten me. Thank you.

    • Hi Mari, when your legal cohabitation is approved, you will not get an Orange Card in this instance. You will only receive a letter. Only when you start the family reunification process after the legal cohabitation approval, then will you receive an Orange Card and Bijlage 19ter at the same time. Bijlage 19ter is a document issued when you start a family reunion with a Belgian or EU citizen.

      It is somewhat normal to receive the document first without the Orange Card though it is not so common as both should be issued at the same time. The reason I could think of that the commune delays your Orange Card is due to holiday season and some other internal issues which we do not know. You do not have to worry about it as the Orange Card will be coming soon the next few weeks because they have to give you that as well.

      The Orange Card will have the same date as the Bijlage 19ter on 23 Dec 2019. That is when your family reunion starts. On Bijlage 19ter, you will be asked to submit a bunch of documents. They may not be related to the first time you apply for a cohabitation visa to come over to Belgium. I have not heard of any case that one has no Orange Card for the period of 6 months.

      € 204 is the fee you need to pay for applying for the family reunion procedure. Six months later on 20 June 2020, you will get an answer if your F Card is successful (not an Orange Card – You may have misinterpreted). In the meanwhile, please do not worry so much and just wait for the commune to inform you to pick up your Orange Card while you prepare and submit all the documents requested.

  3. Habib ur Rahman jaji

    I’d love to visit my family members in Uk. I have an Orange card. My question is that can I travel with my orange card to the UK for visiting my relatives and family members? I miss them so much. If I can’t travel, so what is the reason? Why an Orange card is that much unimportant Visa of Belgium. We should be able to travel. Thanks, Sincerely yours.

    • Hi Habib, an Orange Card is not a visa for you to travel. It merely allows you to stay in Belgium legally and temporary when your passport expires while waiting for your residence permit. Whether you can travel to the UK or not has no relationship with the Orange Card. If your current passport is valid for travel to the UK and the date has not expired, you can do so. Otherwise, you can try and apply for a ‘Return Visa’ from your commune and see if they allow.

  4. Hi! I have a Belgian orange card, and my 90-day Schengen visa has expired. I am already working, and the job requires me to travel. I have looked in the Belgian Immigration office webpage for the application for the Return Visa you mentioned, but I did not find any place (commune Ixelles) where I can do so, or even where this option is mentioned. Do you know where I need to apply for this, or where can I find more info about it?

    Thanks a lot!! your very thorough page helped me a lot.

    • Hi AA, you can apply for a return visa at Ixelles municipal office. Ask your company to provide an official letter stating that you need to travel for your work. You have to submit it together with the application form as proof of a business trip. Hope it helps!

      • Hi, I went to the municipal office and handed in my documents. They filled a form to go with the file. They told me they would send this documentation to the foreign ministry as they are the ones dealing with this request. The office did not know how long it could take for them to respond. Is this the way it usually goes? Do you know more or less how long does it take and what the next steps are? Thank you very much for your valuable help!!

        • Hi AA, yes, that is the procedure. The municipal office is just collecting the documents on the Ministry behalf. But sorry, I do not know how long it will take the Ministry to approve your travel permit as I have never applied before.

  5. Hello, your blog is very nice and very helpful. I have some questions about the Orange Card. My boyfriend and I come to live in Belgium. He is a PhD student, fully funded. Both of us are non-EU citizens. We got the legal cohabitation letter. After that, we sent by mail all documents that we need to send for Orange Card BUT my period of 3 months in Belgium expired during an investigation for legal cohabitation.

    They told me that I could stay with paper while in the procedure for cohabitation. Now they ask about some motivation letter why I stay in Belgium after three months via e-mail and also the receipt for Orange Card payment etc. My question is what is that letter and do we need a lawyer for that?

    • Hi Anela, I have just checked with someone regarding the motivation letter. This person and her partner are both non-EU citizens. It may be likely due to the nature that when both parties are non-EU citizens, a letter of motivation is required. You do not need a lawyer for this.

      You have to provide reasons why you do not make the application in your country. On top of that, provide proof of relationship with the other party like what all of us do here when applying for a family reunification here. You can also get some inspiration from the template that I had submitted and make one yourself.

      In conclusion, it is a documentation of how you know each other, the duration, and why you want to be with each other in Belgium. You need to provide photos too. Do note that since both of you have non-EU nationalities, you will get an Orange Card with 9-month validity instead of the typical 6-month duration.

  6. Hallo,

    First of all, congrats for your blog, it is really helpful. So my situation is that I and my gf, we applied for the cohabitation and it was approved in less than 1 month. We didn’t even have to go for an interview. We have been living together now for more than 3 months. My question is since we don’t fulfil the criteria of knowing each other for 2 yrs or living together for 1 year, how big is the chance that my orange card application gets rejected? I had applied for it only 2 weeks ago, as I have been staying here for 1 year (illegally) and in this situation, nobody gives you the right information which way to follow. Thank you.

    • Hi Ryan, the first step towards approval of the legal cohabitation is not that difficult, especially when you did not have to attend an interview which would lengthen the process. The next step towards family reunification is a much stricter procedure.

      If you cannot prove knowing each other for 2 years or 1 year of living together, you can still get the Orange Card. However, you will not get the approval of the F Card. Nevertheless, if you know her for slightly less than 2 years, you may still have some chance. Another thing to note is that if you have stayed here illegally, there might also be a reason which the commune can reject you.

      At this moment, you just have to go through the whole process of family reunification and provide some solid evidence that you are serious with each other when submitting the proof of relationship. If you are rejected on the ground of living here illegally, seek help from a lawyer who may help you to overturn the case.

  7. Hi There,

    I’m Nepali guy living here with the Belgian spouse and two children (Belgian national). I am still having Nepalese nationality and holding Belgian F+ card. Can I travel to England with the F+ card?

    • Hi Rabin, F+ Card will not grant you the right to enter to the UK without an appropriate visa, EEA Family Permit or documents depending on your passport. If you are travelling with your Belgian family members, you do not need a visa but advisable that you apply for an EEA Family Permit especially when taking a plane where the checks are more stringent than taking a train or a car.

      There are instances where people travel to the UK successfully without the EEA Family Permit, presenting only a marriage certificate when taking a train or a car. There are also those that were asked to turn back at the border when failed to produce the relevant document which is the EEA Family Permit. Application is free. You can read this question and comment here. Do check out the links there for more information about other people’s travel experience to the UK.

  8. Hi, I have read almost all. You really provide information for foreigners who come to Belgium. Thanks. I received Annex 19ter on 20.01.2019. Due to my daughter is Belge national and my wife also has an Annexe 19ter (pere ou mere d’un citoyen Belge mineur d’age). My home address is registered positively on 1.03.2019. My question is when I will receive my first orange card? Can I work with Annex 19ter? If yes, what is the procedure for this? Thanks. Am waiting for your reply desperately.

    • Hi Abbas, you can work together on presenting an Orange Card and Annex 19ter together if you form a family reunion with a Belgian citizen which is your daughter in this case. Usually, the Orange Card will have the same date as the Annex 19ter. Typically, they should be issued on the same day, but I read some people who received an Orange Card at a much later date. There is no special procedure as you only give the 2 documents to the employment agency or the employing company. As for the date of collecting your Orange Card, you have to check with the city hall. It is normal to wait for a few months before receiving your Orange Card.

  9. Hello Madam, I have Annex 26. How is it possible to get an orange card?

    • Hi Kumar, for your case, you have to go to the City Hall in your residing city to ask for an Orange Card. The office will advise you on the duration and the procedure to get your Orange Card.

  10. Hiii everyone…

    I need your kind opinion, please.
    I have applied for a family reunion with my father and got accepted. Now, I have an F card. My question is: if I need to travel out of the EU, how long is the maximum, so it doesn’t affect my residency permit? Is it allowed to stay out of Belgium for more than three months?

    • Hi Inas, you can travel out of Belgium within 3 months without informing the Stadhuis. If you need to leave Belgium for more than 3 months, you have to tell your municipal office and fill up a “Temporary Absence” form. After you return to Belgium, you have to go back again, so the municipal office can put your name back to the register. You must not leave Belgium for more than 12 months so as not to get your name strike off permanently without a valid reason.

  11. Dear MissSJ, I received a reply from that all the documents for the list in Annex 19 had been received. I will be invited on the day after my orange card expires. What should I do next? I had sent all the documents, and they responded that they had received all the documents in good order to complete my file. I will be invited the day after my orange card expires for the decision taken. Do I need to call them for the appointment or they will send the appointment before the date? Thanks.

    • Hi Rav, wait a while more to see whether you receive an email or letter from the commune in the meanwhile. You can, of course, call to make an appointment nearer to the Orange Card expiry date or walk-in after the expiration if you do not receive any notification. Every commune will work differently on issuing the F Card. Some will notify you in advance whereas some don’t. It does not matter as long as you do not receive any negative news from them, your stay shall be considered granted.

  12. Hello, I have one question. I live in Belgium for 4 years 8 months with my wife. She has a Belgian nationality. I am an Indian. I got the Orange Card for 3 times before getting my F Card. I want to ask if my orange card period also count for nationality or not?

    • Hi Singh, yes. The Orange Card period card counts as part of your stay in Belgium. In fact, the duration in Belgium started from the date of the Annex 19ter. You can try and apply for your Belgian citizenship provided you meet other criteria.

  13. Hello,

    Thank you so much for all the clear information you have on this website. It’s such help!

    My girlfriend wants to come and live in Belgium with me. (I am a Belgian citizen). I live very near to the border of the Netherlands. I am a bit worried about not being able to travel. We frequently cross the border for grocery shopping and such. Is that a risk we should minimize?

    Second question: Since she is not allowed to work for the period she has the orange card, is she able to travel back to America to do seasonal work in the summer? It would be 7-8 months after we started the process and the work would be for 3-4 months. Again, thank you so much!

    • Hi Jens,

      Travelling out of Belgium is something you should minimise. If you drive or take a train to the Netherlands, the risk is lower because you would not get checked under normal circumstances by Customs or Police officers if nothing happened. I would see that it is not a problem to travel to the Netherlands if you just get your grocery and come back to Belgium as fast as possible. However, bear in mind that no matter what, the risk is always there as the law states that she is not supposed to travel out of Belgium, not even to another Schengen Member State. Just don’t get into any trouble outside Belgium and you should be safe.

      As for your second question, you may have misread the information. She CAN work in Belgium as long as you are a Belgian. The rule of travel is simple for someone applying for a family reunion. She can travel out of Belgium as long as it is within 90 days from her passport date of entry regardless of whether she has Orange Card within 3 months or not. But no, she cannot travel back to America and stay there for 3-4 months during the cohabitation procedure. She will have a problem re-entering Belgium after 3 months. She can pass her time by enrolling in the Civic Integration Course, look for a job or do volunteer work. Alternatively, she can apply for the family reunification later when she has finished her summer job.

  14. You mentioned that if you haven’t received a reply in 6 months, the official site says your stay should be granted. Can you tell me which site you referring to? My 6-month period ends this week and I’m very anxious about it.

  15. Hello,

    I am in the process of getting married in the Anderlecht commune. I am an American, and my partner is Belgian. I received the annex 3, and we have gone through the whole process and finally have a date set, it only took 5 months. In those 5 months, I have received a job offer. It is my understanding that once we have our marriage certificate, I can go to the municipality and they will issue an annex 19ter. This will permit me to work (the law changed as of 01/01/2019) while I apply to get my f card.

    The company has been patiently waiting for me to become legal to work, but I need to start working as soon as possible. I am wondering if there is anything that I can/should do before the marriage to ensure I will get the 19ter immediately or do I only need the marriage certificate and I will receive the 19ter that day?

    • Hi A,

      Before 2019, one can already work with an Orange Card and an Annex 19ter if your partner is a Belgian so I do not think that the law has changed if we are talking about the same thing. You can try and write an email to bring forward the date by a few days or a week to collect Annex 19ter and your Orange Card while explaining your work situation. The collection of the two documents were brought forward one week in advance for a valid reason. In general, the municipality will not give you the documents much earlier, but there is no harm trying to send an email. You may just get what you want! All the best!

  16. Hello,
    I’m a Belgian citizen, my girlfriend is a Filipino citizen and is my registered partner with an Orange card. We are both working in Belgium now but planning to move to the UK as soon as possible, would this be possible when she receives her F-Card that we can just hop on the ferry ? or would this take more paperwork again? Thx in advance.

    • Hi Robin, the reply is yes. She may have to do more paperwork to go to Uk from Belgium. Firstly, the F Card does not allow her to work in the UK. If she is planning to work abroad, she has to convert her F Card to another type of card.

      Secondly, anyone who wishes to stay in the UK or any other EU States for more than 3 months have to declare their intention to the UK Municipality and apply for a long term stay visa. As a third-country citizen, she has more paperwork to submit than you.

      When she collects her F Card later, seeks advice from the commune about this issue and see what they can do for you. Tell them that she wishes to convert the F Card to something which she can work in the UK later. Also, get more information from the UK Embassy about her residency status in Belgium so you can start the planning now.

  17. Hallo all,
    Could you help me? I tried to open an account in a bank “AXA” with my orange card. The bank replied that I couldn’t open one as I have to provide them with a Belgian Electronic ID or residence card (type A, B, C, D, E, E+, F, F+, P, S). I also have Annex 26. Is this requirement only for AXA Bank? If yes, could you give me bank names in Belgium that I can open an account with an Orange Card? Thanks a lot for your helpful information.

    • Hi Massai, not all banks allow you to open a bank account with an Orange Card. I opened a bank account with Argenta which allowed me to do that when I had no EID yet. Other banks that may permit you to do the same is ING and KBC. You can also check whether the banks impose any monthly administrative fee because some banks in Belgium do. For Argenta, you do not have to pay anything.

  18. I have applied for a family reunion. It’s over six months now, and we haven’t heard anything from the commune. We contacted the commune, and they also said they hadn’t heard anything from the Foreign affairs office in Brussels. What does this imply?

    • Hi Jessica, I have to assume you are now holding an Orange Card and your partner is a Belgian or an EU citizen. Go back to the commune and tell them that your Orange Card has expired, and when you can receive your F Card. It is stated in the Immigration website that if you did not get any rejection within 6 months of your Orange Card, your application is approved.

  19. Thank you so much for such nice post. I have a question on behalf of my cousin. He has permanent residence card from Italy and now he is here in Belgium. After coming here, he applied and got Orange card for 3 months. After 3 days of the expiry of this card, he got a job contract. Then, he went to the relevant department to apply for a residence card to start the job. They told him that his card was expired, and they couldn’t do anything. My question is can he get a new orange card or is it possible to apply for the card? He only needs an orange card to get a residence permit, and everything else is complete now. Please reply.

    • Hi Zohaib, I’m afraid I can’t help you on this issue as it concerns Belgian work permit with EU residence card which I have no experience. I can only advise people who are undergoing legal cohabitation or marriage. You have to check with the Ministry of Work regarding your question.

  20. Hello,

    Thanks for the informative post. I want to ask if there is any way to know the status of my application on the internet as I don’t want to ask in the municipality. I am married to a Belgian man, and I have the orange card for the second time as they refused my first application.

    • Hi Nana, there is no way to know about the status from the internet. The Brussels Immigration Office will make a decision during this 6 months. Therefore, you will not know whether they have already seen your application. It is also not advisable to ask the municipality as they will not have an answer for you either. The decision is not with them.

  21. Hello,

    I have applied for the orange card on 3 October, police visit was made on last early in the last month as well, but still, I didn’t receive any reply from the commune. Is it ok? Or should I visit the commune to ask if everything is normal? Thank you.

    • Hi Prince, it is normal that you do not hear anything from the commune for 6 months. If you are rejected of the decision, you will receive a reply within this period. If nothing happens, you will get the approval automatically after 6 months. Do not ask the commune because the Immigration Office in Brussels is making the decision, not them.

      • Thanks for your reply. I was thinking then that the orange card was given by the commune. I received the annexe 19ter same day when I went to submit my cohabitation certificates and declaration. They also told me that I would get the orange card before the decision of the F card.

  22. Hello everyone!

    If I am a national of country who has visa-free access to Schengen countries for 90 days in any 180-day period, and I also have Orange Card for my stay in Belgium, can I still travel in period of 6 months by using the right that my visa-free access to Schengen countries provides to me? Thank you in advance for responding to my question.

    • Hi Kat, you can travel to anywhere within the first 90 days of your passport as long as it can take you. After 3 months of your passport entry, no, you cannot go to any Schengen Member States. If you travel out of Belgium after 90 days, you are taking a risk and may not enter into Belgium again. With or without an Orange Card has nothing to do with the 90/180 days rule.

  23. Good evening! Am living together with my partner in Belgium.

    We came to Belgium in March 2018. I have known my partner for 12 years. I am from Africa, and my partner is from Holland but has a Belgian f card. I was given a 6 months period to stay and work in Belgium using an orange card and the 19ter. We used the lawyer. Our first application was denied the reason being that we need to prove our love. I haven’t lived for a year in Belgium, so we reapplied using our lawyer again.

    During the first application, I was given my orange card and the 19ter which I took to the agency to find me a job. To my surprise, the agency called me and said that I was not allowed to work in Belgium because of the article 47/2 on my 19ter. I called the Department of Work and Social Economy and explained the problem. They said I was allowed to work and sent me a letter to take to the agency. They found me a job, and I worked for 6 months. All this happened during my first application.

    When I got my second extension, the same thing happened again. My partner and I went and explained everything to the city house. They started communicating with the Office of Work and Social Economy. They confirmed that I was not supposed to work at all. I lost my job because they couldn’t wait for me to get my right papers. My partner also called the Department of Work and Social Economy. They also said I could not work at all.

    Please help me with this and the meaning of the articles on 19ter which are 40, 40tier and 47/2.

    Your help will be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Thank you very much for your help. Will check with the office of works again. Will also try to call my lawyer and hear what he says. Have a blessed day.

      • Hi Monica, what I am offering you here is some luck and hope that one officer over the phone would say yes to you. Check with the lawyers as they are in a better position to advise you regarding the working law in Belgium! Best of luck and have a good day!!

    • Good morning madam, hope you are keeping well. Just wanted to find out if it’s possible to remove my last name from the letter I sent you in November last year 18th? Will really appreciate it. Thank you very much.

      • Hi Monica, I have already deleted the last name of your previous comment to prevent identification. 🙂 How are you doing? Did you manage to work eventually? I would love to hear the update from you! 🙂

        • Good morning madam! I haven’t been able to work because of the same article which I really don’t understand. Anyway, I received a letter from the city hall 2 days after my orange card expired. The letter said to come to the city hall for the response from Brussels. Bring with you the same letter and the orange card. Also, it is confusing because I don’t know what the answer is. It’s very stressful really. Going to the city hall tomorrow morning. Will update you. Thank you very much for your positive feedback. Have a great day.

          • Hi Monica, there is a possibility that your family card is approved. Then you can work. Did the letter ask you for a photograph? Note that your Orange Card period may be extended as well. Usually, if you are rejected from your family reunion, they would have already given you a letter of refusal. Stay positive as you are going to get some reply tomorrow! Hope you get your F Card!!! 🙂

            • Hello madam! No it didn’t say anything about the photo, only the letter and the orange card.
              Hoping for the best otherwise I have to wait for another 6 months without work?.

              Anyway thank you very much for your feedback, will keep you posted tomorrow after city hall. ?

              • The extension of the Orange Card is another 3 months which can be done for two times. Anyway, let’s not imagine the worst. You never know as you may get a positive result. Don’t think too much and have a beautiful Sunday!!! Talk tomorrow…

            • Good afternoon madam! I went to the city hall and was told that the response is negative again for the second time, reasons being that our photos didn’t have dates and that we must prove that we love each other. Not sure what to do anymore because we sent all the necessary documents. Anyway, going to see my lawyer tomorrow and hear what he says. So stressed, it’s now 1 year and some months waiting for the card, and I am not allowed to work. Will let you know what happens tomorrow after seeing the lawyer. Have a blessed week and thanks.

              • Hi Monica, sorry to hear the bad news! 🙁 Now that you know the reason for the rejection, you could perhaps submit a new set of photographs with dates on it. You can submit recent ones since you have lived in Belgium for more than 1 year. Also, during this period, you have also proved to live with your husband for more than a year. Also, submit the rental contract with both your names on it! Work harder on the proof of relationship, and you will get some good news the next round.

  24. Is the Annex 19ter something that I need to apply? Or is it a given during the application of the Cohabitation Visa?

    • Hi Zo, you do not have to apply or ask for Annex 19ter. You will receive it at the same time as the Orange Card because both will bear the same 6-month validity. Sometimes, you will receive it earlier than the Orange Card. I received both documents together on the same day. Annex 19ter will state what documents you need to submit to the Immigration Office.

  25. Daniel Mauricio Munera

    Hi! Thank you very much for all the information provided.

    My name is Daniel. I am a Colombian citizen with a valid Dutch resident permit looking forward to settling down in Vilvoorde, Belgium.

    I lived in the Netherlands before with my wife. Now we are in Belgium. She is a Spanish citizen. Two months ago we moved to Belgium because she found a job in Vilvoorde. So, we lived in Schaarbeek for 1 month in an Appartahotel, and now we have our own place in Vilvoorde. Thus, we did our Declaration d’Arrivée in Schaarbeek and our registration at Vilvoorde’s City Hall.

    I did receive the Bijlage 19TER document. Now, the police department has to confirm or check our house. I already have a job offer. I have noticed that in the contract, the company says that they need me to travel to other countries to supervise their projects, showrooms and trade fairs.

    So I would like to kindly ask you if I would be able to travel outside Belgium if needed or if the company can ask for a “travel permit” for business purpose once they asked for it. I have seen that you talked about an entry visa in the article. Since I have a Dutch residence permit (valid), do I need a visa as a Colombian if I am in an immigration process now in Belgium?

    I am asking because I am aware that the Immigration Office will take 6 months to decide if I am able to receive my Belgian residence permit. So, I want to know the conditions that they require or apply to the Foreigner married with an EU citizen in this period of time.

    • Hi Daniel,

      As long as your Dutch residence permit is valid during the family reunion process, you can travel anytime you want, just like how you would do it when you were living in the Netherlands. Because you possess a European residence card, your status of travelling is not the same as most of us who come in with a tourist visa.

      We require a Return Visa to re-enter into Belgium after our tourist visa of 90 days has expired. If you are not subjected to the rule when you are in the Netherlands, then it would not make much a difference to you in Belgium unless your Dutch residence permit is revoked during the process.

      Here is some information for you to know. For your current status, the undermentioned points do not apply to you.

      1) A Return Visa can only be applied when one has an Orange Card. If one does not possess an Orange Card, then the person cannot apply for the Return Visa yet. I am not sure whether Annex 19ter alone is good enough for an application.

      2) According to the Belgian Immigration website, travelling for work is one of the reasons for getting a Return Visa approval. The applicant can apply it himself as the company need not submit the application. A letter for business travel purpose is essential as a proof to get the approval.

      Hope I have clarified your question!

  26. Hellooo,

    I’m a 27 years daughter of a Belgian citizen. I have applied for family reunification F card since I arrived in Brussels 5 months ago. I’m waiting for the decision on 26 October. The conditions for approval is sufficient income of my father to be in charge of me and the proof of the charge.

    I presented 4 money transfer receipts from my father to me when I was in my country. My question is: are these four receipts enough as a proof of charge? And in case of refusal, how can I appeal? And how much time does it take? Thank you for your kind help.

    • Hi Inas,

      As I am more familiar with family reunification between couples, I may not be able to advise you specifically on a family reunion between family members. The suggestions below are my knowledge for cohabitation between couples which might help you to make a better assessment.

      Stability income of the Belgian citizen is one the most crucial considerations for a successful family reunion. That would be a salary of 120% of the minimum wage. At this point of writing, the minimum income would be €1,505.78 net/mth. If you father is working, please submit 12-month salary slips and his working contract as proof of income stability.

      You can also submit the money transfer as a supplemental proof to show that the Belgian citizen is financially sound and responsible for taking care of you while you were living in your country. Just the money transfer proof would not be enough in my opinion. Having a job is more important.

      I am not sure whether this article of visa rejection would help you in the event of a refusal. You appeal or rather, reapply where you first apply. The total process can take approximately one year, similarly to a cohabitation process with a non-EU partner.

      • Ok, and if I appeal, do you know how much time it takes? Have you seen such cases? Thank you for your help.

        • Hi Inas, an appeal will take as long as a fresh application. For a couple in legal cohabitation case, the procedure for appeal is more troublesome as the applicant has to get a stamp every month.

          Reapplying the whole procedure is always a better option. The last suggestion is to get a lawyer. If you really get a rejection, discuss with the Gemeetehuis or a lawyer which procedure is the most suitable.

          For a family reunion with a family member – father and daughter, you are the first who asked because my experience and researches deal with couples and relationships.

  27. Hello,

    I have read in your blog. My question is if I can apply for the cohabitation contract when my girlfriend and I have been a couple for 9 months? The purpose is getting the orange card for the next 6 months. I know in advance that we will get rejected, but by that time we will have 2 years already. Another question is if I will have to leave Belgium after 6 months?

    Thanks a lot. I still have plenty of questions, but one by one.

    • Hi Erlan, You seem to be already very well-informed and know what you are heading with a good mental preparation of the visa rejection. Half the battle won! 😀

      Yes, you can apply for a legal cohabitation when you have only a 9-month relationship with your girlfriend. The duration is not a factor. As you have mentioned, you know that you will likely get the rejection for the first application.

      With every rejection, you will be asked to leave the country in 30 days. During the one month, all you have to do is reapply the cohabitation visa afresh. You will again get an Orange Card to stay. The process can repeat itself many times when any criterion is not met and the applicant need not and must not leave the country.

      • Translated Text from Spanish:

        Thank you very much for the information. It has been very helpful. There are many criteria that we can not meet, but although we can apply again as you said until we get the approval.

        One thing that is not clear to me is that I can work with the Orange Card for 6 months. But according to what I read, the process can last up to 9 months. So what happens with the remaining 3 months? There is still much doubt, but step by step.

        Thank you again for your availability and desire to help us by providing us with information. This blog has been the most complete, not to mention the only one I have found on the net. You have done a spectacular job.

        ========================

        Original Text:

        Muchas gracias por la informacion. Nos ha sido de mucha ayuda. Hay muchos criterios que no podemos cumplir, pero aunque sabiendo podemos aplicar nuevamente como has dicho hasta que consigamos la aprobacion.

        Una cosa que no esta clara para mi es que podre trabajar normalmente con la Orange Card, por los 6 meses vigentes? Pero segun lo que lei el proceso puede durar hasta 9 meses, entonces que pasa con los 3 meses restantes? Aun hay muchas duda, pero paso a paso.

        Gracias de nuevo por tu disponibilidad y ganas de ayudarnos brindandonos informacion. Este blog ha sido el mas completo por no decir el unico que he encontrado en la red. Has hecho un trabajo expectacular.

        • Hi Erlan,

          Now that I have read from the people who applied recently, the process has lengthened to approximately 12 months from the day of declaring a cohabitation.

          You will receive an Orange Card 3 to 6 months later after signing the cohabitation agreement. Before getting an Orange Card, you would not be able to work at all. Here is a cohabitation timeline that may help you get a clearer picture.

          Thanks for your compliment! I merely offer advice and suggestion based on what I know and from reading other people’s experiences. If you do write back, kindly provide me and your partner’s nationality for a better assessment.

          • Another question, all documents need to be translated into Dutch or English? I have some documents already in English because I used to study in Austria. If not, I will carry them in Spanish.

  28. Здравствуейте меня зовут Турал. Я бы хотел у вас спросить могули я купить машину с оранж карт. Что мне нужно ещё кроме Оранж карт чтобы купить машину.

    Hello, my name is Tural. I would like to ask you if I could buy a car with Orange Card. What else do I need besides Orange Card to buy a car?

    • Hello Tural, unfortunately, I have no experience in buying a car in Belgium. The best person to ask is the car company. If you have not approached any of them, you can email to random car companies to get an answer. Hope my suggestion helps!

  29. Hi, you said the number on the orange card is a national number? So this is the equivalent of the Social Security number that I give the employer for taxes and such?

    Thanks, S

  30. hi! I have some questions regarding travelling. I have applied for the legal cohabitation which is still in process (after the three months) and will apply for family regrouping. I also found a job, and my work permit is in the process. My first question is if I need the legal cohabitation answer first to start working or if I can work just with my work permit?

    And second, said job requires me to travel every two weeks for a day to a country in the Schengen zone. Would I have to apply to the return visa for travelling under that scheme?

    And if I wanted to travel to the UK where I have the tourist visa the right to be there 180 days, could I do it without the return visa? Because we are planning to spend Xmas with my boyfriend’s family there, it would be sad if we can’t go.

    Thank you!

    • Hi C, use your work permit so you can start working immediately, or whichever comes first. The process of getting an Orange Card + Annex 19ter would be quite some time. I reckon it would come later than your work permit.

      Once you have a work permit, you are not tied down by the return visa. The reason why most of us applying for the family reunion needs a return visa when travelling is that we have no other documents to support us when the dates on our passports expire.

      If you can travel for work using your work permit, then you should not be restricted to travel to the UK as well without a return visa since your passport allows you access. Double check with the UK Embassy in Belgium for your case with a work permit.

  31. Hello, good day!

    Can I ask what’s the difference between cohabitation and marriage? My boyfriend and I were planning to get married. Is the procedure much easier? How about cohabitation? Is it much easy? Thank you.

    • Hi Nisa,

      To declare a cohabitation, you must meet one of the criteria below:

      1) Knowing each other for at least 2 years.
      2) Have lived with each other for 1 year and able to show proof.

      For marriage, you do not have a timeline to follow like above. Couples who do not meet the duration for a legal cohabitation would choose to marry.

      If the relationship does not work out, a divorce is more expensive for a marriage. On the other hand, the termination fee to break a legal cohabitation contract is approximately €200.

      As you have read so far, a marriage is “easier” in regards to how long you have known each other. When it comes to paperwork, no, marriage is not easier and nor is it faster in process.

      You will have to submit the same proof of relationship documents and go through the same police visit. Lastly, with the same amount of waiting time to get an F Card like couples declaring legal cohabitations. I think that the approval rate is higher in marriage. Thus, you can say it is “easier” to get approved.

  32. Hallo, I have married a Belgian 6 years ago in my hometown. After marriage, my husband decided to live in his country for good. Suddenly after 6-year of marriage, my husband died. The problem was my husband didn’t register me in Belgium to get a permanent residence. Now I am in Belgium for 6 months with a Tourist’s Visa. My question is can I apply for a permanent residence? Pls help me with my question.

    • Hi Annie, sorry to know that your husband has passed away. If you have never registered your marriage here in Belgium or have the marriage certificate from your hometown recognised, it is likely that you are only seen as a tourist in Belgium. Moreover, your tourist’s visa may have expired by now.

      Based on your situation, it looks unlikely that a residence card would be granted to you because your marriage has not been registered. You may be asked to leave the country in the worst scenario. You can seek help from the Gemeentehuis and explain your circumstance. Who knows miracle may happen since your case is unique. Good luck to you!

  33. Hello everyone.. I have annexe 19ter and I’m supposed to receive an orange card within 3 weeks. They told me that I should provide them with my health insurance document within 3 months. I don’t have one & I have tried every insurance company (public & private) here and they all rejected me because I don’t have a permanent ID card or any national number. I’m so tired of searching for a company that gives me health insurance. Can anyone help me plz?

  34. Hello,

    Do you know if I can start a university with an orange card as an asylum seeker?

    • Hi John, it is possible that you might be able to register into a university because an Orange Card is an interim process for your paperwork as an asylum seeker. Check with your commune, Atlas (if you are living in Antwerp) or write to the university directly for enquiry.

  35. Hello everybody, thank you very much for the information posted on here.

    I have a question regarding the Orange Card. What can happen in the case the person get a job with the orange card but the couple anyway received a rejection of the residency? Does the foreign have to resign to his/her job?

    • Hello Andres,

      If you get a visa rejection, you will get a letter and asked to leave Belgium in one month’s time. However, you can reapply your cohabitation visa all over again to continue staying in Belgium after a rejection.

      You can explain the situation to the company or the employment agency to see whether you can continue working for them while you restart the application again. Also, check with the Gemeentehuis on this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *