Belgium Cohabitation Visa General Conditions
The cohabitation before marriage law in Belgium allows that you can apply for a cohabitation visa and residence permit as an immigrant to Belgium if you meet certain visa requirements under their family immigration laws.
You can apply for visas or a residence permit to stay in Belgium as cohabitants if you are in a stable and long term relationship (heterosexual or homosexual) with someone who is one of the following:
- a Belgian national
- a national of the European Union
- a foreigner who is not a EU national, but has a residence permit for Belgium or has the permission to
If you have a United States passport you do NOT need a travel visa to Belgium for the first 90 days. This will allow you to apply for visas in Belgium in person, however I would strongly urge you to try to apply for your cohabitation visa in the US if you can. The Belgian Embassy in New York will no longer do this for you, but you may be able to apply for visas at another Embassy. If you are coming from another country, you may need to apply for a Schengen Visa to enter Belgium.
Both of you must be at least 18 years old to meet the visa requirements. If you are over 21 you might not have to show that you have lived together for 1 year, or your criminal record depending on your commune in Belgium.
Within 90 days of arriving in the Schengen Area you must submit a visa form which called a Declaration of Statutory Cohabitation to your commune in Belgium to declare as yourselves legal cohabitants. You can then request a residence permit on the basis of cohabitation before marriage.
Some conditions of a stable and long term relationship for cohabiting couples:
- You have been cohabiting (a couple living together) for at least 1 year in any country
- You can prove that you have known each other for at least 2 years
- you have had regular contact by phone, mail, or email
- you have met at least 3 times in the past 2 years for a total of at least 45 days
- you have a child together
Other Options for Immigrants Who Need a Visa to Belgium
I have heard that it is possible to apply for visas as an immigrant without having lived together for 1 year or without having been together for 2 years but there is some risk involved. Apparently it does not look good to have a denied visa in your passport for future visa requests. Immigrants that do not meet one of the first two conditions of a stable relationship do have some other options for a residence permit.
- Study at a University in Belgium to obtain a Student Visa. Then once you have been a couple living together in Belgium for a year with the Student Visa, apply for the cohabitation visa and resident permit.
- Get married
Note: Currently all the information on this web site is based on visa requirements in Brussels, Belgium as a US citizen. The visa application forms and immigrant laws may differ if you are coming from another country.
Read about the documents required for the Cohabitation Visa application.
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