Family reunification with a “sedentary” Belgian national (articles 40 bis and ter of the law dated 15/12/1980)
The only family members of a Belgian national who can benefit from a right of permanent residence are:
- his/her spouse or registered partner considered as an equivalence to marriage in Belgium (i.e. a partnership registered in Germany, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden):
- his/her partner provided that the partnership is legally registered in law (e.g. PACS in France or legal cohabitation in Belgium).
In the case of the spouse and partner, the sponsor and the joining family member must both be under the age of 21 unless the marital relationship did not exist before the sponsor’s arrival in Belgium.
- His/her minor descendant (son/daughter) or under 21 years of age or that of his/her spouse or partner on condition that custody consent has been obtained from the other parent;
- His/her major descendant (son/daughter) or descendant of his/her spouse or partner provided he/she is a dependent.
Other members of a Belgian national’s family (e.g. his/her ascendant (father/mother, grandparent, etc.) even if he/she is dependent on him/her can not benefit from the right to family reunification unless the Belgian national has exercised his/her freedom of movement by residing with other members of his/her family in another Schengen country and has then returned to settle in Belgium.
In this case, and subject to proving that the third-country national was part of his/her household and/or dependent on the Belgian national financially or physically for health reasons prior to submitting his/her application for family reunification in Belgium, then he/she may apply for a residence permit.
Our law firm will help you compile your dossier, check you meet the conditions and verify your documents, as well as submitting the application and tracking its progress until the final decision is issued.
For more information, visit our page on: Family reunification with an EU citizen.
If the foreign national is in Belgium, even in an irregular situation, the request can be submitted to the municipal authorities in the place of residence.
If the family member lives abroad, he/she must complete an application for a family reunification visa (D visa) with the relevant consular authorities in his/her country of origin or residence.
Supporting documentation (proof)
The Belgian national wishing to be joined by a family member must prove the following:
- Adequate accommodation to house the joining family member;
- Health insurance covering health care for him/herself and his/her joining family member;
- Regular, stable and sufficient revenues so that the joining family member does not become a burden on the authorities. The indicative amount is equivalent to at least 120% of the revenu d’intégration sociale (social integration benefit) at the rate applicable to the sponsor’s household i.e. currently 1969 Euros net per month for a sponsor benefiting from a family dependency rate (amount in effect since 01/01/2023 ). This amount is indexed several times each year at the same time as that of the social integration income (basic allowance).
However, the law excludes the following sources of income: income from the revenu d’intégration sociale, social security benefits/allowances, professional integration allowances and transitional allowances.
The OE (aliens office) considers the following as financial aid: CPAS (NB: public centre for social welfare) benefits, GRAPA (NB: guaranteed income for the elderly) revenues, revenues received in the context of a employment contract (see “article 60”), income replacement benefit and disability allowance.
However, following a recent ruling of the law of the Conseil du Contentieux des Etrangers (NB: the council for asylum and immigration proceedings, Belgium), one can not automatically exclude the income replacement and integration allowance for persons with disabilities nor income from GRAPA.
Unemployment benefit can be taken into account if the sponsor can prove that he/she is actively seeking work unless waived by the ONEM (NB: national employment office).
Disability and unemployment benefits are not usually excluded.
This income requirement does not apply if the Belgian national is only accompanied or joined by his/her minor descendants unaccompanied by another parent.
When evaluating means of subsistence, the authorities take into account their nature and regularity. Therefore, the amount of 1969 Euros is purely indicative. If this amount is available, the OE will, in principle, automatically issue the visa or residence permit as long as all the other conditions are met.
If the sponsor’s revenue is lower than 1969 Euros, he/she will have to provide evidence and supporting documentation establishing his/her household’s budget and demonstrate that these resources are sufficient to meet his/her expenses i.e. proving that the household will not become a burden on the authorities. If there is any doubt regarding these income conditions, we strongly recommend you contact a lawyer to help you with your application.