Friday, 23 July 2021

⑤ Schengen Type C Travel Visa to Declare Legal Cohabitation

Travel Visa C and Long-Stay Visa D: Legal Cohabitation

The Belgian Immigration Office website in Belgium states the following statement:

The visa ‘with a view to declaring a legal cohabitation in Belgium’ is a C type visa (Schengen visa).

Before arriving in Belgium, I was regularly referring to the Belgium Embassy website of Singapore. In one of its page – List of Requirements, it states that Long Term Visa Type D is required to form a Family Reunion with a Belgian or any other nationalities residing in Belgium. Whereas, Type C Visa is just a travel visa for a short-term stay of not more than 90 days.

Type C and D Visa: Which is the Correct Visa to apply for Legal Cohabitation?

I was terribly confused back then. Which was the correct type of visa to apply for the legal cohabitation with my Belgian partner? As a Singapore passport holder, I do not have to apply for a Type C Travel Visa to enter into Schengen Area. Then, does it mean that I have to apply for Visa D for my legal cohabitation?

Furthermore, the reply that my boyfriend received from the Stadhuis was rather vague. The staff told him that I need a “special” type of visa for cohabitation purpose. Hence, the answer was no clarification to my frustration.

Nevertheless, a visit to the Embassy of Belgium in Singapore confirmed that it was not possible to do a Type D Visa for my legal cohabitation purpose. As a result, they advised me to travel straight to Belgium and apply the cohabitation process there.

I thought I was the only one being confused. Later, I discovered that there were some other people told to apply for a Type D Visa too. They were confused too and started to ask questions in the forum.

Type C Visa to Declare Legal Cohabitation in Belgium

Passport holder of nationalities who do not need a Schengen visa can go to Belgium directly. They can start the cohabitation process immediately bringing along the relevant documents. Type C (Multiple-Entry) is a short-term travel visa for maximum 90 days’ stay within 180 days period in Schengen Area. Applicants who want to join their partners in Belgium may need to apply for a Schengen Type C Visa in their home country before coming to Belgium.

How to Fill in the Schengen Visa Application Form

If you need help to fill in the Schengen Visa form for those that need to apply, please refer to the video below for instruction.

Video Length: 6m 30s



Non-EU Citizen Who Wants To Join Non-EU Citizen

Brussels Commissioner states that the non-EU citizen living in Belgium must be the holder of a residence permit with a limited stay period (A card) or with an unlimited and permanent stay period (B, C, D card). However, in the last case, the B, C, or D card must have been issued for at least 1 year except for certain specific cases.

One Way / Single Trip Air Ticket

For less than 90 days travel, two standard Schengen visa requirements are return air ticket and proof of accommodation at the destination. It is rather common for the customs officers at the airport checkpoints asking Asian women several questions. They inquire about the intention of the travel and ask to see some proof. Even if the person has a visa-free entry to Schengen, she is not spared from the scrutinization.

I have a 99% hit rate of such examples over the past ten years while travelling to Europe. One good example was in Sweden. An officer asked me for my Swedish friend’s mobile number. Without hesitation, he called my friend to verify whether I was genuinely meeting him. **Faintz**.

My passport is exempted from applying for a Type C Visa. Consequently, I would not have a visa sticker to show the reason for my travel. This round, I purchased a one-way ticket to Belgium for declaring a legal cohabitation. My consideration was the inability to show proof of my return air ticket or accommodation if the customs officer asked.

To solve this problem, my boyfriend sent me a Bijlage 3 bis Formal Obligation form by registered post. This form is a commitment for Pledge of Financial Support for a foreigner staying in Belgium. I could show it to the customs officers if they asked for proof. Plus, the Annexe 3bis form bears an official stamp by the commune.

What is a Type D Visa?

Type D Visa is a long-term visa that permits the holder to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days for the purpose of studying, working or residing permanently in one of the Schengen countries. Type D visa holder shall return to their country once they have fulfilled their objective.

Also called a national visa, the holder of Visa D can travel or stay in another Schengen country. The duration is 3 months maximum within a period of 6 months with a valid passport. The visa has a maximum validity of one year and is renewable on a case by case basis.

The applicants must present themselves within six months not exceeding the date stated inside the visa. There is a processing fee of € 180 for a Type D Visa. It is payable directly into the bank account of the Belgian Immigration Office.

If a couple has already registered their marriage or civil partnership in another country, the foreign partner would apply for a Type D Visa to come to Belgium.

Another reference source from the Belgian Refugee Council (CBAR-BCHV). It states that a Type D visa application is for a family reunification of a recognised refugee in Belgium who has not obtained a Belgian nationality yet. When a refugee receives his Belgian citizenship, a Type D Visa application is not applicable in his case anymore.

General Schengen Information

Note that the Schengen State Members consist of 26 countries whereas, the European Union has 28 countries. Passport holders of the countries below DO NOT NEED a travel visa to enter into Schengen Area for a stay not exceeding 90 days.

Last Update: November 2018

  • A – C 
  • D – K 
  • L – N
  • P – S
  • T – Z
A | Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria

B | Bahamas, Barbadoes, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria

C | Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic

D | Denmark, Dominica

E | Estonia, El Salvador

F | Finland, France

G | Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala

H | Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary

I | Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy

J | Japan

K | Kiribati

L | Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg

M | Macao, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro

N | Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway

P | Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal

R | Romania

S | Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

T | Taiwan, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu

U | Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay

V | Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela

The European Union Explained

If you want more information about the European Union, please check out the video.

Video Length: 5m 50s


More Information about Belgium Visa Application Requirements.

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.


  1. Thank you for your blog! It’s super helpful and shared a lot of insights on the process. In case the non-EU partner holds a Visa D from another EU country (e.g for work), is it possible to start the process in Brussels? Or should one go back to their country and apply for Belgian Visa C? Will greatly appreciate the answer. Thank you!

    • Hi Anya, yes, you can start the cohabitation process in Belgium even if you hold a Visa D from another country. You do not have to go back to your country to get a tourist visa again. The issue is whether you have all the necessary documents with you at the moment? Some of them may only be asked in your home country. Here is a checklist for you to prepare the documents.

  2. Hello,

    I would like to ask did you apply Visa D in the end? I do not need the tourist visa to go to any EU countries, so do I just produce Biljage 3 bis (hard copy) to the customs? Do I need to tell them that I plan to stay with my partner (although my visa only allows me to stay in 90 days, would they think I’m trying to stay there illegally or something? Thank you very much for your help!

    • Hi Ravless, for passports that do not need are visa-free, it is not possible to apply for Visa D. I have asked for that in the Belgian Embassy in my country. The staff told me I could not request for Visa D and advised me to travel as usual to apply for the legal cohabitation in Belgium. My passport does not require me to have a visa to enter Belgium too. Only some countries need Visa D, such as India where their marital status is ‘married’.

      If the customs ask for your return air ticket, show them the Bijlage 3 bis. It will have to be hard copy as the commune of your partner will stamp it. That is one of the purposes of the Bijlage 3 bis since you will not buy a return ticket. Otherwise, under normal circumstance, you do not even need that form to enter Belgium with your passport. Yes, you can tell them you are doing a ‘samenwoning’ if they ask about your purpose in Belgium. You should not face any problem as that is what all of us do and face the same situation as you.

      Once the procedure is running after you sign your legal cohabitation agreement within 90 days of your arrival, even when you do not receive the Orange Card after 3 months, you will NOT be considered as staying illegally. The commune should issue you an Orange Card to cover your stay after 90 days. But unfortunately, some cities will issue you after 3 months. It is typical for many people, but they can continue to stay in Belgium.