Registering With Your Commune When You Arrive in Belgium

Technically, you are required to report to the town hall of your commune to register within 8 days of having permanent accommodation. That means that you don’t have to register if you are staying at a hotel, campsite, or youth hostel, but once you sign a lease or have a permanent address in Belgium you have 8 days to register. We didn’t find this 8 day rule to be very strict, but it’s best to get your Cohabitation Visa application started as soon as possible.

First find the location of the town hall for the commune you live in. I would suggest getting there very early in the morning, especially if you are living in a busier commune. Once our number was called we presented our passports, proof of address in the commune, several passport photos and all of our Cohabitation Visa documents to begin the application process. The partner who has legal permission to be in Belgium will need to present proof of this. If they are a Belgian citizen it could just be their passport, but if they are not they would need to show their visa and job contract, or anything else that proves that they have legal permission to remain in the country.

After going through all of our papers the commune took two of our passport photos and created two Declaration of Arrival documents for each of us; a copy for them and a copy for us. This sheet of paper declared that we had arrived in Belgium and could remain there for a maximum of 90 days due to our Schengen Visa type C. The commune also contacted the police in our neighborhood and requested that a policeman visit our apartment to verify that we both lived there together. Now all we could do was go home and wait to receive a letter about our police visit.

All of this took several hours, but it felt really good to have the process in motion.

Next post in my journey to get a Cohabitation Visa: What to Expect from a Police Visit


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  1. #1 by Amy on October 31, 2014 - 4:49 am

    I am from hk and my bf from france living in belgium, we were going to apply this and then an organisation advised us to go for the new family reunion thing which you can do it even though you are not married or cohabitated. Anyway, the commune doesn’t know the law and we are thinking go back to apply for the cohabitation visa. I am going to go back to HK for 2 weeks to get the insurance and then come back. I just wonder if we have to hand in all the documents in the first visit or it is the visit after the police visit that we have to hand in. So when I declare, do I state the date that I come back from HK?
    Thank you so much for your time and help.


    • #2 by Alina on October 31, 2014 - 8:37 am

      I don’t think that you have to hand in everything until your commune visit after the police visit which is when you actually apply. But it’s good to show as much as possible the first time to show your intent to apply for the cohabitation visa. I don’t know your entire situation, but if you use the date when you come back from HK, then it might give you a little more time before your current visa expires if it is from your last date of entry into Belgium.

      • #3 by Amy on October 31, 2014 - 8:41 am

        Thanks for your reply, so basically it should be just passports for the first time? I am not required to have a visa if I stay less than 90 days, so I hope it will then count as a new entry. Have you heard of the new family reunion law, we were told about it but since the commune doesn’t know anything about it, we delay our plan to apply. Thanks again

        • #4 by Alina on October 31, 2014 - 8:45 am

          Yes, it’s best to apply closest to when you enter the county for the last time as you need to declare yourself to the commune 8 days after your arrival and when you have an official address in Belgium. It’s my understanding that family reunification is basically the same thing as cohabitation but for family members like brothers/sisters, sons/daughters, grandmothers/grandfathers. Even cohabitation falls under family reunification laws as it is much like a marriage in Belgium. But for cohabitation you do have to be living together.

          • #5 by Amy on October 31, 2014 - 9:06 am

            Thanks a lot for your time, it is very hepful to get advise from someone that had been through the same thing

  2. #6 by Claire on October 17, 2013 - 3:52 pm

    Hello, so I have exactly 1 month left until my orange card expires. If the decision was bad, would I have heard back already or I still have a chance of receiving a negative answer?

    • #7 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 17, 2013 - 7:40 pm

      It’s impossible to tell, but not hearing anything is a good thing.

  3. #8 by Want to get a visa on October 11, 2013 - 7:22 pm

    My boyfriend and I hate to have our pictures taken, so we don’t have any photo together to prove we have been together. Without photos, what kind of proof can we provide that will still convince them we have been really together? Also, we just met 4 months ago. Although we weren’t living together, he would come to my place every day after work and stay. Currently I am not living in Brussels due to the Schengen requirement, but I am coming back in Jan. I can stay on a tourist/Schengen visa for up to 90 days, and in the meantime, we would like to apply for a cohabitation visa. Would it even be possible?
    He is from a EU country.

    I would appreciate any useful info and advice.

    Thanks in advance!

    • #9 by Belgium Cohabitant on October 12, 2013 - 10:39 pm

      Some people also use emails and letter to show the length of the relationship, but in your case it might be wiser to wait until you meet one of the requirements as applying and then being denied does not look very good.

  4. #10 by whisperer on September 6, 2013 - 12:02 pm

    Hi Pls help.. I came into Antwerpen last year am from HK.. my bf is from the Netherlands and moved to Belgium as we are trying to do the Belgium Route.. at first everything went well.. I got the temp ID card and was supposed to get the Electronic ID etc.. but then the application did not go through because one of the documents needed from my bf (insurance document) was incorrect (handed in the wrong form) .. but my bf has already sent in the Correct one early June.. since my application was connected to his application for the Belgian ID.. I was asked to leave the country since his was not completed in time.. Long story short.. I was able to apply for an appeal due to the document served to me asking me to leave was incorrect as it did not state the reason on asking me to leave.. this was in early July and my lawyer says I am supposed to receive a document asking me to get a new Temp Belgian ID for my stay during the appeal (which i still have not received up til now)… My bfs application should also be approved by now since all his documents are now in order too as he handed all the correct documents for his Belgian ID back in June (they said it should take 3 weeks for him to get the letter to get his electronic ID but again still heard nothing from them and its now Sep. already) … Tried many times to call or email but no luck on getting a proper answer… we were told that things could be slow because of the holidays… is this common? Should I worry? Pls Help 🙁 .. we are waiting for my bf to get his Belgian ID so that we can re-apply for my visa but this whole process is taking forever it seems .. just wondering if this is normal..

    • #11 by Belgium Cohabitant on September 6, 2013 - 2:53 pm

      Yes this is completely normal and things can take a very, very long time especially when there are complications. I have never had any luck with email and phone, and would recommend that you go in and speak with someone directly at the commune. Otherwise, I would just try to be patient as long as you are allowed to remain in the country while everything is processing.

      • #12 by whisperer on September 7, 2013 - 10:41 am

        thank you so so much for the reply.. i feel a little better knowing that this does happen 🙂 … I will go to the commune and ask directly too.. Thank you so much for this page you have created and all the help that you are giving everyone 🙂 will post once i get replies from them to let you or everyone know how my processing went 🙂

        • #13 by Belgium Cohabitant on September 7, 2013 - 2:44 pm

          Thanks, we would love to hear how it goes!

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