The Immigration Office is the reference for submitting asylum claims on arrival to Belgium.
When an asylum claim is submitted, Immigration Officers will be responsible for fingerprinting and doing a lungs x-ray scan. A second appointment will be provided on the same day in the afternoon, or in exceptional circumnstances, in a few days.
If the asylum claim is submitted for the first time:
The Immigration Office will do a short interview with applicants about the reasons for fleeing their home country. The first short interview is very important because it will constitute the basis of the second interview at the CGRS – Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless persons. It is possibel to ask for a copy of the interview so that a lawyer can see it.
During the first interview, applicants will be assigned to a reception centre, where they have access to legal, medical, social and psychological assistance. The reception centres are run by Fedasil and the Belgian Red Cross. Applicants have the right to stay in the reception centre for the entire duration of the asylum procedure.
If the asylum claim is submitted for the second time:
It is essential that there are new elements to the claim. If that is the case, a a new request will be filed by the Immigration Office and applicants will be informed if those elements are sufficient via letter. Second-time applicants do not have the right to stay in the reception centre from the beginning, but only if the second claim is filed. In case of necessity, Samusocial can be contacted at 08000/99340 or more information can be provided by StartPoint.
Download here an information brochure about the asylum procedure in Belgium. The brochure is available in many languages.
You have the right to be assisted by a lawyer throughout the asylum process. It is your right to ask for a lawyer from the very moment you present an asylum application. The legal assistance is free of charge, and if you are not happy with the lawyer you are assigned, it is your right to request another one.
To find a lawyer, you can ask at the reception centre you are assingned to, or you can visit an Office of Legal Aid. Ask at StartPoint for more information and the addresses of the Offices of Legal Aid.
A lawyer will help you prepare for the asylum interview and will assist your case in any way possible. It is very important that you receive legal assistance because the asylum process is quite difficult to navigate by yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions:
IMPORTANT: Applications have to be submitted within 8 working days from arrival in Belgium!
Where can more information about the interview be found? Read here.
What are asylum seekers’ reception rights? Read here.
What are the reception centres like? Find out here.
What will the decision be and what type of decisions can be received? Read here.
What happens in case of disagreement with the decision received? Find out about rights to appeal here.
What are the rights and obligations of recognised refugees? Find out here.
What are the rights and obligations of the subsidiary protection status? Find out here.
For minors, find more information here.
For stateless persons, read here
What is resettlement? Find out about resettlement in Belgium here.
What is relocation? Read about the European mechanism here.
Read about the difference between resettlement and relocation here.
What is voluntary return? Read more about it here.