Family reunification with a national from a third country

Family reunification with a national from a third country

Family reunification with a national from a third-country entitled to stay in the country for an unlimited period of time or to settle there

The only members of a third-country national allowed to stay in the country for an unlimited period of time or to settle there and apply for residency 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 descendent is under 18 years of age.
  • His major descendent is disabled.
  • The father of mother of an unaccompanied minor child recognised as a refugee or as a beneficiary of subsidiary protection.

Our law firm  will help you compile your dossier, check you meet the conditions and verify your documents, as well as helping you submit the request and track its progress until the final decision is issued.

Only foreign nationals already authorised for temporary stays for other reasons (e.g. studying, work, etc.) may submit their application in Belgium.

In all other cases, the application must be made at the diplomatic or consular representation in the country of origin unless the foreign national can prove exceptional circumstances justifying submitting his/her application in Belgium and proving why the applicant is unable to return to his/her country of origin.

A second exception to this rule applies to underage children wishing to join one of their parents provided that the other parent has agreed to the child moving to Belgium with the sponsor.

A third-country national wishing to be joined by a family member must prove the following:

  • adequate accommodation to house the family member;
  • health insurance covering health care for him/herself and the joining family member;
  • regular, stable and sufficient revenues so that the 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 1,505 Euros for a sponsor benefiting from a family dependency rate (amount in effect since 01/09/2018 ). This amount is indexed 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.

Disability and unemployment benefits are not usually excluded.

When a third-country national is only accompanied or joined by his/her minor descendants unaccompanied by the other parent, the latter does not need to demonstrate that he/she has a regular, stable and sufficient source of income.

When evaluating the means of subsistence, the authorities take into account their nature and regularity. Therefore, the amount of 1505,78 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 1505,78 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.

The residence permit will only be granted for a period of one year; this is renewable.

The renewal of the residence permit is subject to compliance with certain conditions (proof of sufficient household resources, cohabitation with the sponsor, integration, not having committed acts contrary to public order, etc.).

Our law firm  will help you compile your dossier, check you meet the conditions and verify your documents, as well as helping you submit the request and track its progress until the final decision is issued.