Refugees no longer automatically granted unlimited residence permit in Belgium – but a first limited residence permit of 5 years
A law published today in the Belgian Official Gazette limits the duration of the residence permit granted to recognized refugees in Belgium. It will enter into force on 8 July 2016.
The law of 1 June 2016, which modifies the law of 15 December 1980 regarding the entry, residence, settlement, and removal of foreign nationals, was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 28 June 2016.
As of 8 July 2016 – when the new law enters into force – asylum seekers granted refugee status by the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons will no longer receive a residence permit of unlimited duration (‘B card’). They will receive a temporary residence permit instead (‘A card’) with a validity of 5 years. This period of 5 years is calculated from the moment the asylum application was lodged, not from the moment the refugee status was granted.
After 5 years, the refugee will receive a residence permit of unlimited duration, provided his refugee status has not been withdrawn.
The full text of the law can be found here (in French and Dutch).