Document List



Documents Presented by US Partner
(original + 2 copies)
Legalization Required?
Declaration of Legal Cohabitation
National Passport
3-5 Recent Passport Photos
Original Birth Certificate Apostille
FBI Criminal Record
Certificate of Good Conduct Apostille
Medical Certificate Notarized
Proof of Insurance
Affidavit of Celibacy Notarized and Apostille
Proof of a Durable Relationship
Proof of Funds/Pledge of Financial Support
Proof of Age
Documents Presented by Legal Resident of Belgium
(original + 2 copies)
Legalization Required?
Belgian Identity Card
Affidavit of Celibacy Notarized and Apostille
Pledge of Financial Support/Proof of Funds
Request Letter
Proof of Sufficient Lodging

Declaration of Legal Cohabitation


Once you have gone to your local commune in Belgium they will notify the police. You will then receive a letter in the mail asking you to call the police during certain hours to set up an appointment for a police officer to come to your house or apartment. Make sure that you have your name on the doorbell by this time. The police officer will then come to your place of residence and ask you some questions, and ask to see some photographs to support your claim of cohabitation. They will then ask you to sign a form which they then will send back to the commune who will then contact you for an appointment in 3-4 weeks were you can then present your documents once again and make your case to the authorities. You will then sign a Declaration of Legal Cohabitation at the commune town hall. Read more on Declaration of Legal Cohabitation.

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Your passport must be valid for at least 15 months from the time that you apply for your visa/ residence permit.

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Passport Photos


These passport photos need to be recent. If you do not have any you can get some in small red booths in many of the metro stations (Porte de Namur) in Brussels for a few Euros.

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Birth Certificate


Your original birth certificate with the apostille stamp affixed.

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FBI Criminal Record


This needs to cover the last 5 years and be dated within 6 months of when you submit your application. It costs 18$ and can be obtained by sending in a fingerprint card, letter of request, and payment to:

FBI CJIS Division – Record Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306


You can obtain the fingerprint card, and get fingerprinted at your local police station. To print off a cover letter form and get more information, visit the
FBI Record Request Website. Note that you can not pay by personal check but only: money order, certified check, or credit card. If you do not have a criminal record, you will receive the same card back in the mail with a No Record stamp on the back. You are asked to allow 8-10 weeks for processing.

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Certificate of Good Conduct


This is a criminal record check but at the local level and can be obtained from your local Police Station and takes all of 10 minutes.

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Medical Certificate


This medical certificate needs to be dated within 6 months of your date of application and either completed by one of the doctors approved by the Belgian Embassy, OR your own doctor’s signature needs to be notarized. You can print off this form and have it filled out by a doctor.

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Proof of Insurance


This needs to prove that you have personal or collective travel insurance that covers your medical expenses during your first 3 months in Belgium. Note that an insurance card is not enough alone to prove this, you will also need a copy of your insurance policy. You can also use proof that your partner in Belgium has a health insurance policy covering medial costs in Belgium for both of you. I came at the same time as my partner, so we had his employer write a letter stating that as soon as I was granted a visa/residence permit, I could be a named a dependent on his insurance.

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Affidavit of Celibacy


Both partners need to present this document with an apostille legalization affixed to prove that each is not presently married. These can usually be obtained at your State Records Office. It involves filling out and signing a short form which you turn in to the records office. They will then run a check to make sure that they have no record of you being legally married at any time in the state. The records office will then mail you back the form, which you can then take to be legalized with the apostille seal.

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Proof of a Durable Relationship


The decision of whether you are in a durable relationship is left up to the authorities so you want to make the most convincing case that you can. Below are some documents that you can present in order to make your case stronger. The more you can show, the better.

  • Proof that partners have lived together for at least 1 year *
  • Proof that you have known each other for 2 years or longer *
  • Proof of regular contact by email or phone
  • Joint Financial Records
  • Joint Bank Account
  • Utility Bills in both names
  • Mortgage/Rental Agreement in both names
  • Letters from friends and family
  • Photographs- write date and place on the backs
  • Plane Tickets
  • Passport Stamps
  • Tickets from Travel Agencies

* Most references state that the partners need to have previously lived together for at least 1 year and known each other for at least 2 years, but I have heard that there is a small chance to still get a cohabitation visa/residence permit without this if you can make a strong case.

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Proof of Funds or Pledge of Financial Support


This can be presented in the form of a recent bank statement to show that you have proof of funds, or your legal partner in Belgium can write a Pledge of Financial Support (FR/EN or NL/EN)in which they promise that they will cover all costs incurred during your stay in Belgium.

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Proof of Age


This obviously can be shown using several of the documents above. Most sources state that partners need to prove that they are at least 18 years old.

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Belgian Identity Card


This is obviously only possible if the Legal Partner in Belgium already has their Belgian ID Card. In my case, my partner and I arrived at the same time so we were both applying for a residence permit at the same time. In this case it is acceptable for the Legal Belgian partner to present some sort of proof of intention to reside in Belgium such as an employment contract or a rental contract.

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Request Letter


This is a letter in which the Legal partner in Belgium requests that their partner be authorized to reside with them in Belgium, and documents the relationship.

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Proof of Sufficient Lodging


This can be shown with a rental contract or a letter from the Legal Partner’s employer confirming housing arrangements.

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Attestation d’Immatriculation


This card will be given to you by the commune and allows you to remain in Belgium while the decision is being made about your residance permit based on cohabitation. The good news is that it allows you to stay in Belgium while you are waiting for the decision. The bad news is that you are technically not supposed to leave the country. If you are from the US, once you stay past your 90 day tourist visa, you are not allowed back into Belgium unless you have left for another 90 days. So…while this is not a problem within the Schengen area, becuase there is no more border control, it may be if you want to re-enter Belgium after a trip to another non-Schengen country, such as the UK or the US. Although I have done so several times with my organge card and have not had any problems getting back in to Belgium yet. In theory, you can also request a re-entry permit from the commune before you leave, but I have not heard many success stories.

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Read about the application process for a Cohabitation Visa.

  1. #1 by Shazza on January 5, 2015 - 5:09 am

    I was wondering about the Affidavit of Celibacy. Where did you find the form for that, and also where did you get it notarized and apostilled? We’re applying here in Belgium for the 2nd time since our visa was denied 2 months ago since we hadn’t been dating long enough. Thanks for your help!

    • #2 by Alina on January 6, 2015 - 8:09 pm

      I had everything notarized and apsotilled in my home country, the US, before I left for Belgium. Since you’re already there you should be able to do it at your county’s embassy in Belgium.

  2. #3 by joe on October 6, 2014 - 11:13 am

    how much euros is the Proof of Funds?

    • #4 by Alina on October 6, 2014 - 11:15 am

      I have heard salary requirements anywhere from 1000 euro a month to 1500 euro a month. If someone does not meet this requirement then the other option is to have their partner sign a pledge of financial support.

  3. #5 by AGUbataofia on September 13, 2014 - 4:29 pm

    Hello .I have been in the same address with my gf for the past 7 months.we are in relation for 2yrs now.The police came 7months ago to control the address,found me & i was inscribed in the city council register and i had a printout 7 months ago to that effect.We signed the samenwonen contract at the city hall after they asked for birth certificate and certificate of celibacy which they got. We signed the contract a month ago and the city council has just written me last week that they would investigate until the end of october 2014.Can i ask for an orange card now ?They did not ask for supporting this normal? is the police coming the second time again after they have allowed me sign the samen wonen contract at the city hall or are they doing the procedure the wrong way. They never asked for pictures , letters and other supporting documents which we have.They only asked of the certificate of celibacy and age declaration and they sent it to the appropriate authorities for control after which they asked us to come sign the samenwonen contract and then last week a letter came informing us that they are investigating until end of october 2014 and yet they never asked us to furnish them with proofs.Should i normally then ask for orange card while i am waiting for the conclusion of the investigation.I am a bit confused as i read through the thread here .It seems that been allowed to sign the samenwonen contract should be accompanied by orange card and should be preceded by furnishing of documents showing the durability of the relationship .Please my question is having reach this point what is the next step? Is this the proper procedure they are following and how would they investigate the relationship when they did not ask us of proofs? When would they issue me a orange card and at what point ? Seems the procedure is going up -bottom

    • #6 by Alina on September 15, 2014 - 7:12 pm

      This process is slightly different in each commune, but they may not always ask for more proof. But I always recommend that people submit as much proof as possible to have the best chance to have your application approved. Normally, after the police visit and once you sign the cohabitation contract/samenwonen, you should have been given an orange card to allow you to live in Belgium while the decision is being made. If you have another visa that allows you to stay in Belgium for now, then they may not have given you one. So, if you need to orange card to stay in Belgium until the end of October, I would ask at your commune, otherwise they should contact you then with their decision.

  4. #7 by Jude on September 8, 2014 - 8:46 am

    And is there any harmful danger when you are living together officially and your gf in receiving money from the Government or living on social walfare.

    • #8 by Alina on September 8, 2014 - 2:34 pm

      It shouldn’t be a problem as long as the person applying for the cohabitation visa can either support themselves financially or their partner can agree to support them financially.

  5. #9 by Jude on September 8, 2014 - 8:44 am

    Hi talked about writingvdate on dat back of the photograph.wont the minsters taking the decision question the reason while someone should write date at the back with your hand

    • #10 by Alina on September 8, 2014 - 2:33 pm

      If you can print the pictures with the official date from the camera on them, of course this is better. But we couldn’t so we wrote the dates on that back just in case it could help show that we had been together for a long time.

  6. #11 by Lynn on September 2, 2014 - 3:32 pm

    Hello, I am a Ghanaian but living in Austria on an aupair stay permit which expires in about 5 months and im thinking of leaving. I wanna apply for a cohabitation visa for belgium as we met one year ago when i was aupairing in Belgium but never lived together. My question is ,is it possible that i go directly to belgium and start living together whilst applying there or do i need to apply in Austria?

    • #12 by Alina on September 2, 2014 - 3:34 pm

      You can only go and apply in Belgium if you have permission to enter the country like with a tourist visa or a Schengen Visa. Otherwise you should be able to apply in Austria.

  7. #13 by Jeddo on August 22, 2013 - 2:16 pm

    i am a nigerian and i have a 5 years UK visa and also a schengen visa which has expired because i am processing a cohabitation Visa with ny partner which has not gone through yet.
    AS things are now our relationship does not seem to be working out as we expectected and my schengen Visa has ran out , how do i get out of hear either Uk or Nigeria. would this also affect my re entry if needs be?

    • #14 by Belgium Cohabitant on August 22, 2013 - 6:25 pm

      I would do your best to cancel the application for the cohabitation visa with your commune and it should not effect any re-entry applications.

  8. #15 by LIL on August 18, 2013 - 11:18 am

    Hello! I was wondering whether someone holding the Attestation d’iImmatriculation is allowed to work in Belgium? Thanks!

    • #16 by Belgium Cohabitant on August 19, 2013 - 5:36 pm

      You may be able to depending on the status of your partner in cohabitation visa application. The best way to find out for sure is to visit the employment office in your commune.

  9. #17 by Rachael on July 9, 2013 - 11:08 am

    Thanks for all of the great information. I’m going through the process now of applying for my cohabitation visa. I’m also a US citizzen, my boyfriend is Belgian. We’ve known each other since 2008, but we only have proof of email contact until fall 2011. We were told yesterday at city hall that any pictures we use as proof must have the data on the photo from the camera. which…most digital cameras no longer stamp the date on the photos. We’ve been unofficially living together for a year (I’m in belgium on a student visa) but since that doesn’t help us prove our relationship, we just want to make sure we have enough documented proof. Do you have any thoughts on what would be useful, especially if we don’t have photos with the date stamped onto the photo? Thanks!

    • #18 by Belgium Cohabitant on July 10, 2013 - 4:21 am

      If both your names are on the apartment contract that you can use that even if you were not official cohabitants. Otherwise I would suggest getting letters from parents and such attesting to your relationship. And also if you still have the image files, you can go into the EXIF data in the properties and get the date.

    • #19 by Claire on July 10, 2013 - 1:43 pm

      I submitted mine at the end of May, my commune laughed at us when we said we wanted to use photos as proof. So we didn’t submit any photos, all we gave them were a bunch of copies of plane tickets with our names on them, other tickets of trips we’ve taken together (bus, train, ferry reservations with either one of our names on them). We also attached a cover page which explained sort of our timeline of us being together to explain what each copy of the tickets mean. Good luck!

  10. #20 by Pete on January 20, 2013 - 5:07 pm

    I am a Belgian citizen, living in Belgium and my partner has applied for a cohabitation visa and (after 4 months waiting) we are expecting an answer any day now.
    All the required documents that you mentioned above have already been submitted to the Belgian embassy. Will my partner need to run and get all these documents all over again for city hall? To be clear: The Belgian embassy needs the above mentioned documents (proof of celibacy, birth certificate, etc…) for the cohabitation visa application but so does city hall once the visa has been accepted, right? Is it true that these documents also need to be translated from English to Flemish or French for city hall?

    • #21 by Belgium Cohabitant on January 21, 2013 - 4:58 am

      Unfortunately you will probably not hear an answer until you are asked to return to the commune on the day the orange card expires. The city hall will handle the transfer of your documents to the ministry that makes the final decision. And they would have told you if you needed to translate the documents when you turned them in, so you should be fine.

  11. #22 by redhead on December 18, 2012 - 2:54 am

    Question- could you be more specific about the Proof of Funds? or Partner in Belgium’s stable means of subsistence? I heard that there was a minimum salary they have to have in order to get it.

    • #23 by Belgium Cohabitant on December 18, 2012 - 3:53 am

      Proof of funds could be a work contract or a recent bank statement, but a work contract would be much better. I don’t know the exact figure but, I have heard salary requirements anywhere from 1000 euro a month to 1500 euro a month.

  12. #24 by asian on November 28, 2012 - 6:34 pm

    why does some of the requirements here are different from the list in Belgian Embassy?
    Does the medical attest also apply for both persons(the applicant and the guarantor?
    and does the Verbintenis Tot Tenlasteneming also a very important requirement in applying the visa?because I am a card holder for one year and they have mentioned that for me to be able to get the Verbintenis Tot Tenlasteneming paper I should be a holder of a card for 5 years, and since I am not a holder they suggest that I can ask a Belgian national to apply the paper for me for my boyfriend,is it possible?

    • #25 by Belgium Cohabitant on December 3, 2012 - 2:16 pm

      The documents listed here are just a general guideline and a specific list for people coming over from the USA. Each country is different and it’s always a good idea to check with the Belgian Embassy in your country. As to your other questions, the medical certificate is only needed for the partner who does not have legal residence in Belgium. The Verbintenis Tot Tenlasteneming (proof of coverage) is important in that it is required for the application. I have not heard that your support person needs to be a Belgian but if they told you that then hopefully you know a Belgian well enough who will agree to guaranteeing your coverage.

  13. #26 by Mimi on October 17, 2012 - 4:27 pm

    Thanks so much for the super quick response! Much appreciated. Not sure if I will take the risk, it worked for me when I was in France and had to travel to Australia and back during that time, but from my personal experience of dealing with the UK Border Agency I am extremely wary. Delighted the risk paid off for you though!

    • #27 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 17, 2012 - 4:33 pm

      That is true, I have found the UK border to be very strict, but not so much re-entering Belgium. Good Luck!

  14. #28 by Mimi on October 17, 2012 - 3:22 pm

    I went to the local town hall yesterday and was very frustrated and angered to learn that I would effectively be held prisoner in this country for six months during this Attestation of immatriculation period. Fine, living in Belgium on a permanent basis is what we’d like to achieve, but none of this was explained to me at any point during my numerous dealings with the town hall. And now i understand my boyfriend (from the UK) and I will probably be forced to stay here for Christmas, which is supposed to be a time to celebrate with family. Ironically, he will have to make the horrible choice between spending it with his family or his gf. I have also had to amend a trip i had booked outside of Belgium in the hope i will be granted a re-entry visa (which is looking increasingly unlikely) for that time. How can they not warn anyone about this?! As far as I’m concerned it is a breach of rights. Is there any official documentation outlining your rights during the Attestation d’Immatriculation period? Six months is an obscene amount of time in which to prevent someone travelling abroad, even for the occasional weekend across the Channel.

    • #29 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 17, 2012 - 4:05 pm

      Technically this is the rule, but to tell you the truth I was able to re-enter Belgium twice from the US and once from the UK with my partner. Of course this is a risk, but I wanted you to know that the border control is not as tight as they might like to think. I just presented my Attestation and told the officer that my application was processing, and I always went up with my partner who did have permission to remain in Belgium.

  15. #30 by Emilie on March 25, 2012 - 1:02 am

    About the affidavit of celibacy..Im from philippines,and im a married woman but my husband is already dead,and now i have a common law spouse hes married also but separated with his wife for 8yrs and not yet applied for an there any chance to us to live together in belgium and is there any chance i can get a cohavitation visa/or residence permit even in affidavit of celibacy saying that he is married?

    • #31 by Belgium Cohabitant on March 26, 2012 - 4:17 pm

      No. The cohabitation visa is only possible if both partners are not married at the time.

Note:only comments about the COHABITATION VISA (not marriage) will be approved!
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