Application Process

Cohabitation Visa Process and Time Line


Before you arrive in Belgium:

  • Review the Cohabitation Visa General Conditions
  • If you are NOT a US citizen you may need a visa to enter Belgium (If you are a US citizen, you can enter and remain in Belgium for up to 90 days)
  • Get all of your other documents in order
  • Try to apply for the Cohabitation Visa in the US if possible


When you arrive in Belgium:

    • Report to the town hall of your commune within 8 days of arriving in Belgium. They will issue you a declaration of arrival which entitles you to stay for a maximum of 90 days. If you are staying at a hotel, campsite, or youth hostel you are not required to register with the authorities of that commune. However, you must register with the town hall of the commune that you will be living in as soon as you find more permanent accommodation.(8 days) Read my registration story.
    • Your commune will then contact the police to request a visit (1 week)
    • You will receive a letter in the mail from the police, with times that you can call and make an appointment for a police officer to visit your residence (1 week)
    • Police officer visits your residence and completes a form stating that you both live there. Make sure that both of your names are on the doorbell!(1 week) Read my police visit story.
    • The officer sends the form to the town hall of your commune (1 week)
    • The commune sends you a letter in the mail with an appointment time for you to go to the town hall again
    • Go to your town hall for your appointment. Over a couple of hours you will:
      • Resubmit all of your documents
      • Sign a declaration of legal cohabitation. This is almost like a marriage in Belgium and very time consuming and costly to break. So as our officer said, Don’t have any fights until you leave Belgium.This will allow you to now apply for residency under the family reunification laws. Read my orange card story.
  • The commune will then send your documents to the Immigration Service who will decide whether or not to issue a visa on the basis of cohabitation. Their decision is based on the length and seriousness of your relationship. This can take more than five months. The good news is that at this time you will be given a temporary (orange card), Attestation d’Immatriculation, which allows you to stay in Belgium while the decision is being made (5 months) Read my waiting story.
  • Return to your commune on the day that your card expires, or when the commune summons you, which ever occurs first. They if approved they will ask you to submit your orange card, 2 passport photos, and a small fee and provide you with a temporary ID sheet while your Belgian ID card is being processed.
  • Within the next 3 weeks the commune should summon you by mail to come and pick up your Belgian ID card. Take the mailed sheet and your temporary ID sheet back to the commune. The mailed summons should tell you where to go to pick up your card, but make sure that you read it because it may be somewhere different than before, as you are no longer considered a foreigner (3 weeks) Read my final steps story.
  • Your Belgian ID card will most likely only be valid for 3 months, at which point you will need to return to the commune on the day it expires to pick up a more permanent card (3 months)

Read about my entire Belgium Cohabitation Visa Journey.


The Immigration Service contact information is below:

Immigration Service
Federal Public Service Home Affairs in Belgium
Chaussée d’Anvers 59 B
B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

Telephone: +32(0) 2 206 15 99
Fax: +32 (0) 2 206 14 63

  1. #1 by edris on February 17, 2018 - 3:50 pm

    Hello, I have a ID card whose validity goes till end of February 2018. Fortunately I have been acquired the right of permanent residence which I have applied for. I was told that it would take exactly five months. In the mean time I got a admission from university of Madrid so I left the Belgium last week to start up my PhD nevertheless I can have this ability to let my PhD go after one year.
    I will get my foreigner Spanish card and then will send a ‘model 8’ form to the commune.
    Do you think my study in Spain will compromise whatsoever the outcome of my permanent residency’s application?

  2. #2 by Mina on January 29, 2018 - 5:01 am

    Good Day!

    I have been in Belgium now for 5 years on student visa. If I manage to get the cohabitation visa, what type of card do I get? (permanent residence card?). And regarding the previous 5 year stay in Belgium (I also have a phd from a belgian university), when do I get a citizenship?
    another question, do I also get a work permit together with the cohabitation visa?


  3. #3 by Dutch to Belgium on January 26, 2018 - 6:40 am

    Good day there.

    Here is my situation. I am a dutch national and I have a long term and exclusive relationship with my boyfriend (non EU – Schengen visa free 90/180) who lives now in Germany on a long Stay Visa type D.

    As a dutch national I am planning to move to Belgium and marry/civil partnership my boyfriend. I was wondering if this what you did will be the same with my boyfriend, that he can move with me, and do all the process there. Also if with the Orange Card he will be able to work?

    Thanks a lot, I hope to get some answer.

  4. #4 by Shazza on January 16, 2015 - 6:06 am

    Hi I was wondering if you had to turn in your passport when you applied for the visa? My partner and I are re-applying in Feb but aren’t sure if they will need to keep her passport or if we will be able to travel during the 90 days she will have on her tourist visa. Thanks!

    • #5 by Alina on January 16, 2015 - 12:52 pm

      We applied in Belgium, and I was able to keep my passport the entire time.

  5. #6 by Kate on January 15, 2015 - 8:34 am

    Hello,your blog seems great, so I hope I will also receive an answer to my tricky situation. I’m on an orange card in Belgium right now and the due date is 25 of May. At the same moment I got accepted for the traineeship in the European Parliament from March on. I was told to commune to try to write to ministry and maybe they will be issue me documents sooner, since I will have to be able to travel within my traineeship. Have you heard anything about such situations? Plus I’m worried that if for any reason the answer will be ‘no’ even in May, how I can continue my work in the EP, since the traineeship lasts till July? Thank you in advance.

    • #7 by Alina on January 16, 2015 - 1:00 pm

      I have not heard of anyone getting a “rush” on their application, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible, but I wouldn’t count on it. If the answer is no, you can appeal or apply again and get temporary permission to remain in Belgium, but you may not be able to travel. I would also speak with your employer to see if they can sponsor a temporary visa for you.

  6. #8 by raajeev on January 6, 2015 - 4:17 am

    I am living in belgium last four years(doing doctorate). For past 2 yrs i have a card of cohabitation legal. Now we separated so we gonna break cohabitation legal. I am not european but my X-girl friend is belgian. So i had a card for 5 years validity with cohabitation. After we break cohabitation in commune, is my card is still valid for 5 years or i will have a new card?

    • #9 by Alina on January 6, 2015 - 8:11 pm

      Technically if your card was based on the cohabitation, it is no longer valid after you break up, but they can still grant you a new 5 year card. More information here on what happens when cohabitation ends.

  7. #10 by Nina on October 16, 2014 - 3:07 pm

    Hello I and my partner after 2 of fighting in Court we won with commune. we were married in August. husband is not a European, I am. he got annex 15 And in November will get Orange card family. Is this possible to travel in Europe with this card? We want to go to my country for christmas togheter.

    • #11 by Alina on October 16, 2014 - 3:29 pm

      I’m not sure how it works with marriage law, but in cohabitation you technically are not supposed to leave Belgium with your orange card because it is only a temporary document. There is more information about traveling with your orange card here. You can try to request a special re-entry visa also, but they are difficult to get.

  8. #12 by VJ on October 7, 2014 - 7:41 am

    Hello! Thank you for this site. I am a U.S. citizen wanting to relocate to Belgium to be with my girlfriend who is a Belgian resident. We have been together for 13 months and we have emails, photos, and letters and flight tickets showing the long distance relationship we are in. She’s flown to my hometown to stay with me over the summer (about 3.5 months) and now that I want to relocate, should I first look for a job with an employer who is willing to grant a work permit, then fly there and apply for a cohabitation visa with her? I just wanted to know the necessary steps to take both in the US prior to leaving and upon arrival in Belgium as well. Thank you for your time and advice!

    • #13 by Alina on October 7, 2014 - 11:32 am

      I would try to apply for the cohabitation visa in the US if you don’t mind waiting to travel to Belgium. If you can’t you can travel to Belgium for 90 days as a US citizen and then apply once you arrive in Belgium.

  9. #14 by Lawani on August 14, 2013 - 8:31 am

    Please I need a responds , I got into Belgium 2011 and started dating my bf since I got here , we stayed together in 2 different apartment but not officially cos we were looking for our own place that took forever with agent due to whatever reason , ok at the end we got a place , put in my cohabitation , I was given the orange card, I did all necessary but at the end the refused my permission to stay due to the fact , the relationship was not proved enough and the pictures in the cd had no date , which was in the properties of the cd if it was really checked , now I have given the case to a lawyer , my ? Now is we have added proves , we will be on same addy 1 year next month, how long will the reappling procedure take and what chances is there that they will give the permit also if ever they deny it again , can we open a new file ?

    • #15 by Belgium Cohabitant on August 14, 2013 - 10:08 pm

      The appeal process could take as long as the original application, so you will need to be patient. Being at the same address together now for 1 year should help your application, however already having been denied once does not look good if you ever want to apply again, so hopefully your appeal goes through.

    • #16 by Jones on August 17, 2013 - 4:47 pm

      Hi Lawani,

      I’m sorry to hear about the decision. When and how did you find out? Was it at the end of the expiration date of your orange card? Also, what documents did you submit exactly?

  10. #17 by jo on August 6, 2013 - 11:27 am

    Hello.My gf and I just moved to brussels 5months ago and we went to brussels commune to change her address because we were living flemish before we relocated back to brussel.we waited for 4months and the police did not come to control our new address and we later went to the police station to know why the police did not come to check our new address and we saw the police man that was suppose to come and check our new address and d police man said that the commune did not send her dossier to him and that it was negative because he did not receive her information from the commune.the police man gave her a paper to give to the people in the commune and she went to the commune the man we meant there told us to go and wait for the police to come and check her new question is that why did the man we meant in the commune refuse to send my gf dossier to the police to come and control her new address?is it an act of wickedness or neglegence?because since d policeman did not receive her file he cannot come to control her new address.

    • #18 by Belgium Cohabitant on August 7, 2013 - 2:33 am

      Unfortunately, it is pretty common for papers and orders to become lost in the system. Pretty much all you can do is report back to you commune and ask them to send the request to the police again, and keep a very careful watch on your mail for the police letter.

  11. #19 by Claire on July 29, 2013 - 9:09 am

    It has been exactly 2 months since I got my orange card…I am anxious and I was wondering if you know of anyone not getting approved? And the reasons of why they didn’t get approved.

    • #20 by Belgium Cohabitant on July 30, 2013 - 12:56 am

      You probably won’t ever hear anything back from the commune, which is a good thing. You just need to go in the day your orange card expires.

  12. #21 by Ameerah Masoor on July 15, 2013 - 1:05 pm

    I also have a question, Will the 6 months period of my orange card contribute to the 3 years period for applying the Citizenship? I was issued the Numero National on the Orange Card.

    • #22 by Belgium Cohabitant on July 15, 2013 - 8:37 pm

      I believe that the 6 months of your orange card does count as you would be legally living in Belgium for that time, but I would double check with your commune.

      • #23 by Ameerah Mansoor on July 20, 2013 - 11:53 am

        Thank you very much.

  13. #24 by Ameerah Mansoor on June 16, 2013 - 7:48 pm

    It took exactly six months and at the end of the six months period we went to the commune along with my Husband and Son (both Belgian) signed 2-3 papers paid Euro 204.00 (urgent fee) and we were issued a 5 years card in 4 days. I did travel out of belgium for a few times to Non EU destinations, however did not have any problem returning as i had a valid Schengen Visa with multiple entries and did not show my orange card at the border controls.

    • #25 by Anonymous on July 12, 2013 - 6:37 pm

      Ameerah Mansoor :
      It took exactly six months and at the end of the six months period we went to the commune along with my Husband and Son (both Belgian) signed 2-3 papers paid Euro 204.00 (urgent fee) and we were issued a 5 years card in 4 days. I did travel out of belgium for a few times to Non EU destinations, however did not have any problem returning as i had a valid Schengen Visa with multiple entries and did not show my orange card at the border controls.

    • #26 by Ali on July 12, 2013 - 6:47 pm

      so how it ll work afterwards as enjoying 5years resident card now so after the completion of three years of cohabitation can i go for belgian passport or how ll it work?

      • #27 by Belgium Cohabitant on July 12, 2013 - 9:05 pm

        Yes, after 3 years of legally living in Belgium you can apply for citizenship.

  14. #28 by Ameerah Mansoor on June 9, 2013 - 11:05 pm

    Finally received my 5 years residance card

    • #29 by Jones on June 10, 2013 - 7:32 pm

      How long did the whole process take you? I just got my orange card last month and I’m anxious about how everything will turn out. Also, did you ever travel outside of the EU with your orange card and could return back successfully?

      • #30 by Belgium Cohabitant on June 11, 2013 - 12:08 am

        You probably won’t know anything until the expiry date of your orange card. On the day that it expires you should return to your commune. If you hear anything before that, it’s probably not good news. I did travel several times outside of the EU with my orange card and each time I had no problems when I said my application was processing. Each time I was with my partner who had a Belgian ID card and I brought our cohabitation agreement and other papers to show that my application was processing. However, it seems to be up to the immigration officer you have and technically you are supposed to stay in Belgium, so leave at your own risk.

  15. #31 by Nanya Eslava on May 27, 2013 - 11:47 am

    Hello, I have a question and a complaint.
    With my boyfriend( he is belgium, Im peruvian)
    we start the process of cohabitation since december 2012 ( we cohabitated since 2011 and we have 3years of relationship)

    We are doing all this process in the Commune of Forest.
    All this process in forest take an eternity and they never explain or help in this process.We have problems with police and commune not knowing were was our dossier, etc!!!

    Now after 5month!!!! finally they send all, we sing a document. So the 03 of may la declaration de cohabitation legale ca ete reglee. So I ask a document in case, I have the ACCUSE DE RECEPTION DE LA DECLARATION DE COHABITATION LEGALE and normally I was suposse to pick my Orange card the next week, they said I will recive a letter from the commune to come to pick the orange card…We call last friday and they said at the etat civile…NO!!!! you can come to pick, should be already there…
    I went today to the commune( not to the etat civile) and the guy ( His name is DETOURNAY X.) said i need to start a “Regroupment familial avec un belge” that just after this i can get my orange card…

    I dont understand nothing! I know we need to send a dossier that prove that our relation ship is real (I know this by friends) BUT nobody ask or explain us when we need to send this dossier, were….
    since we are in this process they just play with us,
    Please could you help us?!


    • #32 by Belgium Cohabitant on May 28, 2013 - 1:49 am

      I’m sorry that you have had such a frustrating experience, the application process in Belgium can be very confusing and take a very long time, and it’s not uncommon to get different advice from different places. I would recommend going to where you were instructed to get your orange card and then at that point present all of the documents that are necessary to apply for a cohabitation visa or a family reunification visa which is the same thing. Even if they don’t ask for everything specifically I would look at the document list here and make sure that you bring everything to the commune to make sure that even though you will have you orange card that the application for the cohabitation visa is still moving through the system.

  16. #33 by LPFLORES on May 23, 2013 - 7:01 am

    Hi, I’m in a steady same sex relationhsip with my boyfriend for 2 years now and I will be applying for a cohabitation visa around July. Would there be a bearing to the result if our age gap is 25 years? We have a strong proof that we are really in a good relationship, we have tons of photographs together, him and my family and friends, some sort of letters taht we have stayed together in a hotel/apartment, 2 years chat/message history in facebook, skype and some emails. What would be the some possible factors that my visa application will be denied? And how long would it take for us to know the decision? I’m from Philippines 26 years old and he’s 54 already. I hope to hear something from you. Thanks

    • #34 by Belgium Cohabitant on May 23, 2013 - 8:03 am

      The entire decision to grant the cohabitation is made based on the perceived strength of the relationship, so whatever you can do to show this helps. If the ministry thinks the relationship could be just to get a visa or not a lasting relationship they could deny your application.

  17. #35 by Chris on May 9, 2013 - 11:13 pm

    Thanks for this helpful forum…

    I would need your advice…I am a Belgian citizen but lived in the philippines for almost 10 years. I came back to belgium 2012 for my career.. Now that i am settled here in belgium and found a permanent job (been working for 7months) i would like my 7years filipino boyfriend to move here in belgium to live with me.. Its has been already 1 year that we have been apart but maintained our relationship throuhg daily calls via internet… We have lived together for more then 4 years back in the philippines and would like to continue living together here in belgium…
    My question is should he apply for a tourist visa to come here in belgium then we can go together to the commune to apply for cohabitation visa or apply straight away for a cohabitation visa at the belgian embassy in manila, philippines? Or is there an easier way we could use for us to be living together here in belgium?
    I hope you can help me with my question… And i thank you in advance for your time…

    best regards.

    • #36 by Belgium Cohabitant on May 9, 2013 - 11:59 pm

      You should be able to apply either way. It might take less time if you do it though the embassy in the Philipeans, but if he comes to Belgium on a tourist visa and applies there, he will be able to live with you in Belgium for the 6-9 months while they are making the decision.

      • #37 by chris on June 10, 2013 - 2:59 pm

        Hello. thanks for the response.
        we have started gathering the needed papers for the visa application of my filipino boyfriend.
        i was wondering what could be the best “duration of stay” that i could state in the “prise en charge” document that i have to submit. i know that the “prise en charge” is valid for a period of 2 years. shall i put a period longer than the 2 years or less?

        • #38 by Belgium Cohabitant on June 11, 2013 - 12:05 am

          I would recommend putting down the maximum time of 2 years, after that point your partner can apply for citizenship.

          • #39 by Chris on June 11, 2013 - 5:33 pm

            Thank you.. I have now gathered all the needed documents (composition de menage, prise en charge and 3recent payslips) i just need to print out all our communication evidences over the years we have been together, pictures, etc..
            Do you have a website you could recommend me which could supervise us on how to properly fill up the visa application form?
            We are struggling on some questions like the expected return date to the country of origin..(which we could not say since he is applying for a undetermined stay cohabitation visa), the purpose of the journey( cohabitation is not included in the given choices and i don’t think visiting would be a good option), is a boyfriend which i have been living with for more than 4 years considered as a spouse in belgian law? Is he considered as well a family member of a EU citizen coz there are some marked fields with* that shall not be answered by family members of a EU citizen (spouse,child or dependent ascendsnt)…?

            Thanks a million;o)

          • #40 by Belgium Cohabitant on June 12, 2013 - 12:14 am

            As to your questions: I would leave the date of return to your country blank and then if they ask you to fill it in, put the expiry date of their current visa. For purpose I would check the other box and write in family reunification or cohabitation. And unless you have signed a cohabitation contract you would not be considered legal partners or cohabitants in Belgium who have many of the same rights as spouses.

  18. #41 by peter. on May 8, 2013 - 1:22 pm

    hey i need help please .my legal procedure just got finish and now i have my girl freind and we wish to ask for a cohahitation it possible to go to the commeun to declare our relationship.because we have been together for four months .And i was ask to live the country so i have the feer that if we ask for cohabitation police may come after me.please advise me.

    • #42 by Belgium Cohabitant on May 8, 2013 - 11:50 pm

      Unfortunately, for the cohabitation visa you would have needed to live together for one year or have been together for at least 2 years with a very strong relationship. Your best bet would be to find a way to remain in Belgium so that you could live together for one year, or both go somewhere else and live for one year together.

  19. #43 by Km on April 24, 2013 - 1:40 pm

    Hi, thanks for this forum. I also have a question, and thought maybe you can help. My bf and I made a cohab contract and I have the orange card already. We are just waiting for the answer from Brussels. My question is, I’m also applying to a Masters program at a University in Belgium, if the answer from Brussels is positive meaning that I can stay and live together indefinitely, which price for the Uni do I have to pay: non-european or european/resident price? I have read that we get the same obligations and rights as our partners (thus if I am with a european partner I get to pay the price he would have to pay at a Uni, si what I read before, but not sure. Is like the medical insurance price, we pay the same price as our partners, right?) Please help! And thanks 😉

    • #44 by Belgium Cohabitant on April 24, 2013 - 11:41 pm

      Correct, it depends on what your partner’s status is, but you may have to wait a certain amount of time before you can get the lower EU price. My partner was a non-EU citizen who had a temporary research position so I had to wait one year before I could get the lower price.

  20. #45 by L on April 22, 2013 - 5:30 pm


    My boyfriend is non-EU and we are doing the ‘samenwonen’ proces and are waiting for the answer. (I am a Belgian National). My boyfriend already has a fixed job, do you think that’s going to help with the process? We hand in his contract papers of his job with all the other papers needed for the process cohabitation. If we get denied, can we just apply again for the process ?? And if we can, how many times can we do it? Or what is the best thing to do?

    And if he gets denied, what happens with his tourist visa? Does he has any problems to come back again to Belgium if he goes some time to his home? Can he for example go home for 2months and come then back to apply again for cohabitation?

    Thanks a lot!!

    • #46 by Belgium Cohabitant on April 23, 2013 - 12:58 am

      The Cohabitation Visa decision is based on the strength of your relationship so the fact that he has a job does not have too much to do with that, but it could help a little. If his visa is denied you could apply again, but unless something has really changed that shows how strong your relationship is, it will probably just be denied again. Another option is to turn in an appeal with or without the help of a lawyer. Also, if he is denied it should not have any effect on his tourist visa.

  21. #47 by Jm on April 20, 2013 - 4:50 pm

    Hi just need advise here … About my situation now .. Im asain i live with my bf … Im illegally live now with him what best i can do for legally live in belgium with my bf ? Pls advice me thanks alot …

    • #48 by Belgium Cohabitant on April 20, 2013 - 11:48 pm

      Once you have lived together for one year then you can apply for the cohabitation visa, but you must find a way to live in Belgium legally until that one year is over through a student visa, job or another visa.

      • #49 by Jm on April 21, 2013 - 11:25 am

        Still i can get student visa coz im already 38 yrs old?? What other visa can get to proccess? For examples if some employer to declare me here is it possible they can give me a visa to be legal to stay here .. Thanks

        • #50 by Belgium Cohabitant on April 22, 2013 - 12:58 am

          Yes, another option would be to find an employer who is willing to sponsor your visa on the basis of your job with them.

          • #51 by Jm on April 22, 2013 - 7:12 am

            Thank you very much for your advice help much your advise..

  22. #52 by JT on March 1, 2013 - 10:54 pm

    First, thank you for your very helpful site.

    You write that you strongly recommend applying from the US. My understanding is that it can easily take a year to apply from the US (probably similar to in Belgium) and it gives no right to remain in Belgium in the meantime. Indeed if I understand the embassy correctly, they send the forms to the interior ministry the same as the commune would. I wonder why you say you prefer that route, rather than showing up in Belgium with your large pile of documents and applying at the commune? Many thanks.

    • #53 by Belgium Cohabitant on March 2, 2013 - 4:07 am

      As I applied in Belgium myself, I only recommend that based on other people’s experiences. I have spoken to several people who had a much easier time navigating all of the paperwork and procedures in the US than I seemed to in Belgium. From what I have heard it also takes about half of the time in the US that it does in Belgium, but you are correct that you are not granted permission to be in Belgium during this time.

  23. #54 by M on January 20, 2013 - 7:37 pm

    My boyfriend who is a non EU citizen has received a negative answer from CCE to stay in Belgium, so he is now supposed to be expelled from the country. As I am a Belgian National I told him we would start the cohabitation process as soon as I start working. My only concern is, since he is currently illegal, will he actually be given the orange card? Can we start the process if he is illegal? I’m planning to go to the commune tomorrow to ask about all the details but I would really appreciate an answer here, because last time I went there (commune) the people who received me didn’t seem to care much and talked to me as if I were a complete fool.
    Thanks in advance,

    • #55 by Belgium Cohabitant on January 21, 2013 - 4:55 am

      Unfortunately the commune will probably not give an orange card to a person who is in Belgium illegally, but it’s always worth a try. The best situation would be if he could find another way to be in Belgium legally first just to start the process.

      • #56 by M on January 21, 2013 - 4:19 pm

        Ok thanks for your feedabck. I went to the commune and they told me that even if he had currently no papers he would be given the card. For those who were wondering, the income has to be of at least 1300€/month for the cohabitation to be valid.

        Otherwise, what would you recommend as a way of being in Belgium legally? Is there another way than being a student?

        • #57 by Belgium Cohabitant on January 21, 2013 - 4:32 pm

          Thanks for the great information. A student visa is really the easiest way, but he could also try to find a job where the employer would get the visa for him. Or he could apply for another tourist visa.

  24. #58 by Sachin Gupta on January 19, 2013 - 4:51 pm

    I am getting working VISA of Belgium . I want to accompany my family and daughter with me . I have some queries .

    Q1. Should I apply dependent visa of my wife and daughter along with my VISA or should I reach Belgium first then apply dependent VISA ?

    Q2. What documents, I need for VISA ? I read some where , that I need Police clearance certificate and Legalized documents ?

    Please reply , as soon as possible with correct information . Please note , that I am from India .

    • #59 by Belgium Cohabitant on January 20, 2013 - 4:06 am

      Your family can apply for the cohabitation visa as soon as you have permission to legally remain in Belgium for yourself. I would have them apply for it in India if possible. A general list of the documents you need for the application is on the documents page.

  25. #60 by Ameerah Mansoor on January 10, 2013 - 12:29 pm

    Hi, I am Pakistani national married to a Belgian National and also a mother of a Belgian National. I have an Orange card issued to me recently while and was advised that an F card will be issued in 6 months.

    I have a multiple Entry Visa for Belgium, can i travel outside the EU and come back again before the 6 months period withour any problems at the Passport Controls?



    • #61 by Belgium Cohabitant on January 10, 2013 - 12:41 pm

      Technically you shouldn’t leave the country while your application is processing but, you should be ok, but it would be best to travel with your husband, and if you have any doubts double check with your commune.

      • #62 by Ameerah Mansoor on January 11, 2013 - 9:39 am

        Thanks for the information, do u think i should bring the orange card into the notice of the officer at the Border Control or i should just use the Visa I have to enter Belgium?



        • #63 by Belgium Cohabitant on January 11, 2013 - 9:54 am

          Well if you don’t need the orange card to enter the country because your visa is still valid, then your visa alone should be fine.

  26. #64 by b on December 24, 2012 - 10:01 pm

    Hello there,
    Can anyone tell me how it look like the orange card and how long it takes to get it after you make the registration at commune, do they provide this card on the same day you make the registration at commune?
    I tried to find any template of such card but couldnt find out

    • #65 by Belgium Cohabitant on December 25, 2012 - 4:32 am

      The orange card is just a folded piece of stiff orange paper with all of your information inside including your photograph. You do not get it the first time that you register with the commune when applying for the cohabitation visa but rather after the police have visited your apartment to verify that you live there and then told the commune. The commune will then contact you to come back, at which point you will receive the orange card. This can take several weeks to 2 months, depending on how quickly the police visit your house, and when they contact the commune after that.

  27. #66 by TH on November 8, 2012 - 7:03 pm

    Yourblog is very useful.I am a master student. I already registered at Brussels central town hall on 4 October. The police already confirmed my address on 15 Oct. Could you please tell me about the next step at the town hall. How long will I have to wait until receive the appointment? It takes such a long time to have Residence permit in Brussels.

    Thank you very much!

    • #67 by Belgium Cohabitant on November 21, 2012 - 12:29 pm

      It can take several weeks for the police officer to contact your town hall who then has to contact you by letter telling you to return to the commune. This time you will need to bring in all of your papers again and sign an official cohabitation contract that the commune will submit to immigration services which can then take 5 months or more.

  28. #68 by Cathrine on October 18, 2012 - 12:47 pm


    Me and my boyfriend have just signed the cohabitation document, and I have the orange card now. Is it possible to work with the orange card? or do I have to wait until it has been processed? I very confused because I read somewhere they said you can work if your partner is a Belgian national, or does it apply only to people who are married.

    • #69 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 18, 2012 - 1:49 pm

      If you are a legal cohabitant with a Belgian national or any EU citizen, yes you can work. I think that you will have to wait until your application is fully approved but I would double check with the employment office in your city to see if you can work now with your orange card.

  29. #70 by Michael on October 10, 2012 - 12:46 pm

    For the proof of durable relationship, when proving that you’ve known each other for two years…do you need to prove that you’ve simply known each other (as in I can show we became Facebook friends back then and have one time-stamped photo) or do we need to prove we were good friends or in a relationship already back then? Thank you for your help! 🙂

    • #71 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 11, 2012 - 5:27 pm

      If you can, showing a strong relationship through emails or pictures is the best, but whatever you can provide will help

  30. #72 by Leigh on October 7, 2012 - 11:03 am

    My boyfriend is in the Navy and we have just moved to Belgium. We are looking for a place to live. He can not get a Belgium ID card until we have a place to live, which means I can not start the Cohabitation process yet. I have all the paper work, I just have not notified the City Hall (until we sign a lease). My tourist visa will expire in December. We arrived in Belgium in September. We both will fly back to the US in December and then plan to return to Belgium the first week in January. Is this possible for me, with out the Cohabitation Visa? How long do you have to wait to return to a country with a tourist visa? He will have his Belgium ID card by then and his orders.

    • #73 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 9, 2012 - 3:29 pm

      Technically if you leave Belgium in December you won’t be able to re-enter for three months, at which point you will be granted a new three month tourist visa. However if you are able to sign a lease and start the cohabitation process more than a month before you leave, the commune should give you an orange card that will allow you to remain in Belgium while your application is being processed. With the orange card you are technically not supposed to leave Belgium, but I have left and re-entered with my partner who has the Belgian ID card several times.

      • #74 by Leigh on October 10, 2012 - 2:46 pm

        We are living in Brugge, do you think it will take longer since we are not in Brussels for the Visa process? I talked to the women in the Town Hall and they told me there are usually no problems for Americans. If I do have a orange card and I am with my boyfriend (who has his orders and Belgian ID), what’s the certainty I can return!? This makes me a little nervous and fearful.

        • #75 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 11, 2012 - 5:28 pm

          I think not living in Brussels might even make it easier. Also as an American you are allowed to stay in Belgium for 90 days and then if you leave you technically would not be able to return for 90 more days, at which point your 90 day visa would renew. I however had never had problems getting back into the country, they don’t seem to usually check your past exit and entry stamps.

          • #76 by Leigh on October 20, 2012 - 10:14 am

            Thanks a lot I really appreciate it! I went to the town hall today, because we still haven’t found residency (very complicated) and they suggested that I start looking into a Visa D. Do you recommend this idea or know anything about it?

          • #77 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 22, 2012 - 6:26 pm

            A D visa might be a good choice because it is basically an extension on your C tourist visa and will allow you an additional 90 days.

  31. #78 by Michael on October 3, 2012 - 7:55 am

    Do you have any experience obtaining a job with an orange card while cohabitation paperwork is being processed? Apparently you are allowed to work with it, even though you don’t have a work permit. I just don’t know how an employer would handle the situation.

    • #79 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 3, 2012 - 3:31 pm

      I personally was unable to work with my orange card because my partner is not an EU citizen and he only had a temporary research contract. I have heard that it is possible to work with an orange card however and the Employment Office in your commune should be able to tell you your options according to your specific situation.

  32. #80 by NS on September 25, 2012 - 8:27 pm

    I just finished my studies at Kuleuven and my staying Visa is almost expired (in few days),
    I’m living with my Belgium girlfriend over two years and we decide to do legal cohabitation, we went to the city hall in Leuven and they ask me for a papers from my country to prove that i’m single.
    I requested those papers from my country embassy but they told me i’ll get them only in 2-3 weeks.
    Can i stay illegal until i get the papers and then start the cohabitation process? is it possible? What is my options?

    • #81 by Belgium Cohabitant on September 26, 2012 - 11:35 pm

      Unfortunately you can only stay legally once they give you an orange card, which does not usually happen until your application is in process, at which point you can stay in Belgium while they are making a decision. I would not recommend staying illegally as the commune will see that you have done this as soon as you go in to apply. I would first ask the commune for temporary permission to stay while you are gathering your documents or try to extend your student visa.

  33. #82 by va on September 24, 2012 - 1:27 am

    i am american and my boyfriend is living in belgium with a residency permit. we have lived together for 6 months and in june we will have known each other for 2 years. i want to know if i could stay in belgium beyond a 3 month tourist visa with the intention of applying for a cohabitation visa after 6 more months of living together or in june when we will have known each other for 2 years.

    • #83 by Belgium Cohabitant on September 25, 2012 - 3:23 am

      I would not recommend living in Belgium illegally in order to fulfill the 1-year requirement. I would recommend finding another way to stay in Belgium, like a student visa and then apply for the cohabitation visa after you have been living together for 1 year.

  34. #84 by D.J. Brown on August 7, 2012 - 6:10 pm

    I am a US Citizen and have my Orange card ( Attestation d’Immatriculation ) and waiting for the rest of the Cohab VISA to be processed (that wonderful 5-6 month waiting period lol). Is there ANY circumstance..such as a death in the family that I can leave Belgium without being penalized and having to start all over? Hopefully that will not happen but, always be prepared, right?

    …Just as a side note, we did not have to translate any of our paperwork which was in English. English, Dutch, French and sometimes German seem to be acceptable. 🙂 If you have all your paperwork and Apostle seals attached, it’s really a pretty simple process. You have to follow the guide though…and they do like lots of proof of a stable long term relationship..letters, emails, photos, photos, passport stamps, airline tickets….the more the better. Also, I came over for a Cohabitation VISA…so I cannot work until they process that VISA, then I can apply for a work permit. I own my own biz in the states now so it won’t be necessary but, wanted to put it out there since I read the questions and comments that were submitted.

    • #85 by Belgium Cohabitant on August 7, 2012 - 6:29 pm

      Technically you are not supposed to leave Belgium while the decision is being made. That being said, I did twice and had no problems. The first time I didn’t say anything and no one bothered to check my passport stamps, the second time I traveled with my cohabitation partner who already had a Belgian ID card and just said that mine was processing. For the least risk I would travel with your cohabitation partner who is already a legal resident of Belgium and bring your orange card and cohabitation document. If you don’t want to take any risks, I believe that you can request re-entry from your commune, especially in special circumstances.

      • #86 by D.J. Brown on August 7, 2012 - 8:43 pm

        Thank you! Good to know if the unthinkable happens back home, I have at least a shot of getting there and back without issue. Really, thank you. 🙂

  35. #87 by hansel torres on July 19, 2012 - 4:41 pm

    I am in New York and apply for a visa cohavitacion, I would like to know who long it takes to process so I can go to belgium and complete all steps in the commune

    I’m well confused, because the first time I went they told me that it would take about 2 weeks because they had to send these papers to brusselas and now I went to complete my missing papers she said, it could last the rest of the summer but I need to go to belgium fast, my girlfriend is alone without family, without anyone belgium

    • #88 by Belgium Cohabitant on July 19, 2012 - 5:51 pm

      Something similar happened to us. Although it is much easier to do in the US it can take much longer than they say. In the end we ended up getting new emergency passports, flying to Belgium and finishing the process here. It takes even longer here in Belgium (5-6 months) but you are allowed to remain in the country while it is processing.

      • #89 by hansel torres on July 27, 2012 - 1:12 am

        how can i ask for the emergency passport, i just want to get to Belgium fastest i can, we need each other 🙁

        • #90 by Belgium Cohabitant on July 27, 2012 - 12:22 pm

          To get an emergency passport you have to make an appointment and go in person to a regional passport agency. You will also need to show that your trip is within 2 weeks of the day of your appointment.

  36. #91 by hTp on June 29, 2012 - 7:11 pm

    while I wait for my visa process in Belgium, I can work and what if my girlfriend and I break up? after they give me my Belgian ID

    • #92 by Belgium Cohabitant on July 2, 2012 - 4:41 pm

      Whether or not you can work with an orange id depends on why you were given it in the first place. If your partner is an EU citizen you shouldn’t have a problem, but the best way to find out if you qualify is to visit the Brussels Employment Policy Department located on the 1st floor of the North Station. I just walked in and took a number and was able to speak with someone in English within 10 minutes. This is the Employment Department Website. The visa is only valid while you remain in a relationship and living with your partner, so if you break up the visa is technically no longer valid.

  37. #93 by girl on June 7, 2012 - 5:28 pm

    My 3 months Visa just expired MAY 2,and i didnt know that i can request for extension of my visa in commune while im waiting my requirements papers from manila.and now i have the original papers prove that im not married,what im gonna do?i need to transelate this into dutch before i will pass to commune?i need living together papers so that i can stay here in belgium.

    • #94 by Belgium Cohabitant on June 9, 2012 - 8:59 am

      I would turn in your papers to the commune as soon as possible and also apply for the extension. If your papers are in English you shouldn’t have to have them translate, but it might depend on your commune, so I would ask there.

  38. #95 by Schumi on April 4, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    I will be traveling to Belgium on a work permit for 2 or more months. I want to take my wife along with me as a dependent visa.

    a. Should my wife apply for dependant or tourist visa to travel with me to Belgium and back ?

    b. I assume she would have to apply for an orange card ?

    c. Can she travel with me to the adjoining Schengen countries during the weekends in the ornage card or dependant visa ?

    I am coming from india

    • #96 by Belgium Cohabitant on April 10, 2012 - 9:11 am

      Unfortunately a cohabitation visa is only for partners who are not currently married. I would first check with the Belgium embassy closest to you in India for more information on married couples and visas. This is always a good place to start.

  39. #97 by Hanrii on March 28, 2012 - 9:38 pm

    also i want to know if somebody has the orange id card by 5 months? does he or she has right to work???

    • #98 by Belgium Cohabitant on March 30, 2012 - 12:39 pm

      Whether or not you can work with an orange id depends on why you were given it in the first place. The best way to find out if you qualify is to visit the Brussels Employment Policy Department located on the 1st floor of the North Station. I just walked in and took a number and was able to speak with someone in English within 10 minutes. This is the Employment Department Website.

  40. #99 by Hanrii on March 28, 2012 - 9:32 pm

    i have one question,am Macedonian in Belgium i met a man who is living with another women and they are living partners of course i did not know that,but am pregnant now,and he accept to recognize the child and his living partner agree with this,i was there as a tourist now i want to know,what to do,if i stay in Belgium he can recognize the baby??? and where i can birth my baby he can recognize before birth the baby?he has orange id! does he has to wait the permanent id? to recognize the child? if istay in belgium what kind of help i ll have?because i can not back in my country like single mother.please answer to me and help me!

    • #100 by Belgium Cohabitant on March 30, 2012 - 12:35 pm

      Then only way that a cohabitation visa could help you here is if you were planning to remain in Belgium and live with this man and you would need to live with him for one year before you applied for the cohabitation visa. If you are not planning on doing that I would talk to your commune about your options concerning the child.

  41. #101 by Elisha on March 7, 2012 - 12:41 pm

    Thank you again for all of your efforts to inform the rest of us! I can’t tell you how refreshing and helpful it’s been, just with the moral support alone!

    One more question….did you have to have any of your documents translated from English in order to submit your permit (such as birth certificate or affidavit of celibacy?

    • #102 by Belgium Cohabitant on March 7, 2012 - 1:52 pm

      You shouldn’t have to, I had no problems using only my original documents in English for my application.

  42. #103 by Elisha on March 2, 2012 - 12:11 pm

    All of this information has been extremely helpful. My situation is a bit more unique. My boyfriend has a contract in Brussels through May. I need to register with the local commune in the next week and we would like to begin the cohabitation application process, but after May my boyfriend’s company is moving his job to Paris where he will continue to work. Is it possible to begin the process in Belgium and then finish it in France as they are both Schengen countries, or is it possible to wait until he begins work in France.

    • #104 by Belgium Cohabitant on March 2, 2012 - 12:14 pm

      The Cohabitation Visa would only work as a residence permit in Belgium so I would wait until he begins work in France to start the process there.

  43. #105 by JH on January 6, 2012 - 12:14 pm

    As a US citizen trying to live in Belgium with my Belgian partner, my partner and I are in the process of getting a “Living Contract.” Once this contract is signed I will receive an “Orange Card.” I was told by the immigration department in the local City Hall in Belgium that once I have this card I will be able to work without a problem, even while my Cohabitation Visa is being processed. Is this consistent with everyone else’s situation or have I misunderstood the process told to me? Thanks in advance to any and all who help!

  44. #106 by Carlos on October 17, 2011 - 3:02 pm

    Hello! and thanks for this useful website!

    I already got the “Attestation d’immatriculation, modèle A” in Belgium, i’ve been told i need to wait til march for the decision about the visa… what i’m not sure is about the job permit and traveling around Schengen. So, with this Attesttion is possible to get a job for me? I mean, it works as a job permission? and the other question, it’s possible to fly to another Schegen country and come back to Belgium later without any problems…
    Thanks a lot!

    • #107 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 26, 2011 - 10:39 am


      1. The main way to get a work permit is to have a company apply for a work permit for you, but to do this you need to be offered a job which is very difficult without a work permit already. Getting a Belgian work permit from a cohabitation visa or Attestation is possible but complicated. It all depends on who you are cohabiting with. The best way to find out if you qualify is to visit the Brussels Employment Policy Department located on the 1st floor of the North Station. I just walked in and took a number and was able to speak with someone in English within 10 minutes. There is some great information here.
      2. As for traveling, there is no longer any border control within the Schengen area so you should not have any problems traveling, although I think that technically you are supposed to remain in Belgium to await the decision.

  45. #108 by MS on August 3, 2011 - 5:04 am

    Hi, did you have to speak French or Dutch with the workers at the commune or did they also speak English? Thanks!

    • #109 by Belgium Cohabitant on August 12, 2011 - 8:18 am

      At the Brussels commune we were able to speak English with almost everyone.

  46. #110 by MS on July 18, 2011 - 4:57 pm

    Hi, your blog is great! When the police visit the residence, do they interview you or just make sure both names are on the doorbell? My girlfriend is considering helping me find an apartment, registering with the commune in Brussels then waiting out the process in the US (the month or so it takes to get an appointment for cohabitation at the commune).



    • #111 by Belgium Cohabitant on July 26, 2011 - 8:12 am

      When the police visit your residence both people need to be present, because the police are checking to make sure that you both actually live there. You both need to be there to also fill in the form and sign together.

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