The CGRS invites every applicant
The CGRS invites every applicant at least once for a personal interview. There are some exceptions to this.
In case of a subsequent application for international protection, the CGRS can take a decision without organizing a new personal interview. The CGRS will decide on the basis of the existing asylum file and the additional statements made by the applicant during the registration of his/her subsequent application at the IO.
More information on this subject tailored to the asylum seeker can be found on asyluminbelgium.be in 9 languages (Dutch, French, English, Spanish, Arabic, Pashto, Farsi, Tigrinya and Somali).
The location of the personal interview
The personal interview takes place at the offices of the CGRS in Brussels (near the Brussels-Midi railway station).
If the applicant is detained in a closed reception centre, at the border or in prison, the CGRS official will interview him there. The personal interview can also take place through video conference.
The place of residence of the apllicant
The asylum authorities must be able to reach the applicant at any moment of the procedure, in order to ensure that any mail regarding the application for international protection reaches him/her in time and at the right address. When registering the application for international protection, the applicant has to give an official place of stay in Belgium; this is the ‘chosen place of residence’. If the applicant changes his address (chosen place of residence) during the procedure, (s)he must inform the IO and the CGRS about this, either by sending the ‘change of chosen place of residence’ form by registered mail to both the CGRS and the IO, or by personally handing over this form at the CGRS Helpdesk. Under the asylum procedure, a change of address notified at the municipality does not count as an official change of address. The CGRS sends the invitation for the interview to the address the applicant has chosen as his official place of residence.
The applicant’s lawyer receives a copy of all the correspondence between the CGRS and the applicant. If the applicant is a minor, his/her guardian will also receive a copy.
Presence at the personal interview
- If the applicant cannot be present at the personal interview due to circumstances beyond his/her control, (s)he must inform the CGRS by letter as soon as possible, or not later than 15 days after the date fixed for the interview. If an accelerated procedure or an admissibility procedure applies, this information has to be given within two days. The applicant must send to the CGRS, by registered mail, the document proving that he cannot be present. If (s)he fails to do so, the CGRS can take a negative decision.
- A lawyer’s absence at the personal interview is not a valid reason to postpone the interview. Only when a minor applicant has his/her first personal interview is the presence of a lawyer legally required.
- If an unaccompanied minor’s guardian cannot be present at the personal interview, the CGRS will fix a new date for the interview.
The request for information and additional information
When needed, the CGRS sends a letter with a ‘request for information’ to the applicant. In this letter, the CGRS asks the applicant to give additional information about his/her application for international protection. The applicant has 30 days to answer or to provide a valid reason for not being able to answer, failing which the CGRS can decide to reject the application.
An additional personal interview
The CGRS may invite the asylum applicant for a second personal interview in order to collect more information. The Commissioner General will then be able to take a correct decision on the basis of all the available information.