Stateless persons

A stateless person is a person who is not conserved a national by any State under the operation of its law.  This person may have a country of ordinary residence but may not have the same rights as a person with that country's nationality.

How to apply for the status ?

Belgian legislation does not currently provide a specific procedure or authority for recognising individuals as stateless persons.

Persons who would like formal recognition as stateless individuals can submit a so-called 'request regarding the state of a person' to a Court of first instance in his residential location in Belgium.

The applicant must provide his own evidence that confirms his statelessness, e.g.

  • evidence of the embassy with which the stateless person has ties and showing he does not have nationality of this country
  • the nationality laws of the countries with which the person has ties.

The countries with which the applicant-stateless person has ties could be:

  • country of residence
  • country of birth
  • country where family members have nationality.

If the request for recognition as a stateless person is refused, the person concerned can lodge an appeal to the court of appeal.

Residency in Belgium

During the procedure of recognition as a stateless person, the individual will not have a right to reside in Belgium unless he simultaneously submits another residency procedure (regularisation, an application for international protection,...).

Recognition as a stateless person does not provide an automatic right to longer residence in Belgium unless the recognised stateless person has a right to reside in Belgium on the basis of another procedure.

It is possible that, for the recognised stateless person who legally resides in Belgium, there may be a case of a 'deportation ban'. This gives the recognised stateless person a (very) temporary residence permit.

If the recognised stateless person wishes to reside (longer) in Belgium, he must submit a regularisation application (article 9b of the Aliens Act) to the Immigration Office (IO).

If the decision regarding the regularisation application is positive, as determined in article 9b of the Aliens Act, the recognised stateless person will be granted a longer residence permit.

What does the CGRS do for recognised stateless persons?

The CGRS has no authority to grant the status of recognised stateless person.

The role of the CGRS is limited to issuing documents upon request by the recognised stateless person. If the recognised stateless person, for administrative issues, cannot count on the services of the country with which he is linked, the CGRS can offer him administrative assistance.

The CGRS issues documents (birth, marriage or death certificates) to recognised stateless persons as long as they

  • can prove their identity and
  • provide a certificate showing there is no ongoing appeal against the decision to be recognised as a stateless person.