Order to leave the Belgian territory and forced removal
If you reside in Belgium as an EU citizen, your residence and that of your family members may be terminated if you do not or no longer meet the requirements laid down by law. If necessary, you will be ordered to leave the Belgian territory (in the form of an Annex 20 or 21).
You may be ordered to leave the Belgian territory in the following circumstances:
- if you or your family members are an unreasonable burden on the social security system
- if you have not submitted the necessary documents proving that you are eligible for a stay of more than 3 months within the stipulated period of 3 + 1 months
- if your application for a stay of more than 3 months is refused
- if your permission to stay is ended because you no longer fulfil the conditions
- if you are staying in Belgium for more than 3 months and your permanent residence is teminated on the grounds of public policy, national security or public health
The grounds for refusal, termination or withdrawal of your residency depend on your right of residence in Belgium. For example, there is a difference depending on whether you are staying in Belgium for a short stay of no more than 3 months or for a longer stay, or whether you have acquired a right to permanent residence.
During a short-term stay (<3 months):
If you are staying in Belgium for a maximum period of three months, your stay may be terminated if you or your family members constitute an unreasonable burden on the social security system in Belgium. This does not apply if you are employed, self-employed or a job-seeker.
When applying for a long-term stay (>3 months):
If your application for a stay longer than three months is refused because you do not meet the residence conditions, the decision of refusal may be accompanied by an order to leave the territory. This does not apply if you are entitled to residence on another ground.
During your long-term stay (> 3 months):
If your right to long-term residence is recognised, your right of residence is conditional during the first five years (and before you acquire the right to permanent residence). This means that, during that period, you must continue to comply with European rules regarding the free movement of persons (in terms of being employed, self-employed, a student, self-sufficiency or family reunification). If you have a right to long-term residence, your residence may be terminated in certain cases and, if necessary, you may be ordered to leave the Belgian territory (Annex 21):
- if you no longer meet the conditions of the European rules regarding the free movement of persons (you are no longer an employee, self-employed, a student or you no longer have sufficient means of subsistence). If you are an employee, self-employed or a job-seeker, you may still retain your right of residence in certain cases (e.g. temporary incapacity for work due to illness, involuntary unemployment, etc.).
- if you or your family members constitute an unreasonable burden on the social security system in Belgium. This does not apply if you are employed, self-employed or a job-seeker.
- if you pose a threat to public order or national security
- if you pose a threat to public health (a potentially epidemic disease as defined by the World Health Organisation or other infectious diseases or contagious parasitic disease). If the disease occurs more than 3 months after your arrival in Belgium, this can no longer be a reason for removal from the Belgian territory.
In addition, your right of residence may be withdrawn retroactively if you have committed fraud or used false or misleading information or documents which supported the recognition of your right of residence.
During your right of permanent residence:
When you and/or your family members have acquired the right to permanent residence, your right of residence can only be terminated:
- if you have left Belgium for more than two consecutive years
- on serious grounds of public policy or national security
- for compelling reasons of national security (if you have resided in Belgium for the last 10 years)
Your right to permanent residence may be withdrawn retroactively if you have committed fraud or used false or misleading information or documents which supported the recognition of your right of residence.
Procedure and consequences:
If your residence application is refused, the municipality will issue an Annex 20. If you are already residing in Belgium and your right of residence is terminated or withdrawn, you will be issued with an Annex 21.
If the Belgian Immigration Office terminates or revokes your right of residence (Annex 21), it will ask you in writing to provide any relevant information which may prevent or influence the decision. In doing so, the Belgian Immigration Office takes the following considerations into account:
- the length of your stay in Belgium
- your age
- your health
- your family and economic situation
- your social and cultural integration in Belgium
- your ties with your country of origin
The decision to refuse (Annex 20), terminate or withdraw (Annex 21) your right to residence may, if necessary, be accompanied by an order to leave the Belgian territory. The deadline by which you must leave Belgium is listed in the annex you will receive and, except in urgent cases, will not be less than 30 days.
The documents and residence cards certifying your right of residence or, where applicable, that of your family members will be withdrawn.
During the period you are given to leave Belgium, you cannot, in principle, be forcibly removed or detained. In exceptional cases (for reasons of public order, national security or public health) and when no other less coercive measures are available, you may be detained with a view to deportation.
You may lodge an appeal against an Annex 20 or 21 with the Council for Alien Law Litigation within 30 days of receiving notification of the decision. If you are administratively detained with a view to deportation from Belgium, a reduced period for lodging an appeal of 10 days applies.
The appeal period automatically suspends your removal, unless the decision against which you are lodging an appeal is based on compelling grounds of national security.
The Council for Alien Law Litigation will give its decision within 3 months. If you have been administratively detained with a view to deportation, your appeal will be dealt with under an accelerated procedure. The deadlines by which the Council for Alien Law Litigation must give its decision are indicative. This means that there is no sanction if the deadlines are exceeded.
infodesk [at] ibz.fgov.be