The CGRS recognises refugees. After his recognition, a refugee is at first entitled to limited residence in Belgium. The recognised refugee is subject to Belgian law and must respect the same laws as Belgian citizens.
The recognised refugee cannot as a rule return to his country of origin.
A recognised refugee may travel abroad with a travel document for refugees, because he may no longer use the international passport of his country of origin.
Short stay abroad
Before his departure, the recognised refugee must inquire at the embassy or the consulate of the country of destination whether he needs a visa for his trip. A short stay is for a maximum period of three months.
Long stay abroad
The recognised refugee must inform the municipality if he wants to stay in another country for a longer period of time. The recognised refugee has the right to return to Belgium within 1 year; after that, a return is not guaranteed.
If the recognised refugee wants to settle in another country, he will be subject to the laws and regulations of that country.
The minor children of a recognised refugee can obtain refugee status on the same grounds. The procedure to be followed depends on the time when the children join their parents:
- children who arrived in Belgium together with their parents receive refugee status together with their parents
- children born after their parents are recognised as refugees have to submit an application to obtain refugee status
- children who arrived in Belgium after their parents were recognised as refugees have to report to the Immigration Office (IO).
Stay of maximum three months
A refugee recognised in another European Union Member State is allowed to stay in Belgium for a maximum of 3 months. To enter Belgium, he/she needs a travel document for refugees issued by his/her country of asylum.
A refugee recognised in a country which is not a member of the European Union is also allowed to stay in Belgium for a maximum of 3 months. A tourist visa will usually be necessary to enter Belgium.
Stay of more than three months
To stay in Belgium for more than 3 months, a residence permit, issued by the Belgian embassy or consulate in the country which granted refugee status, will be necessary.
Confirmation of refugee status
To obtain in Belgium confirmation of a refugee status granted by another country, a request for confirmation has to be made at the CGRS. The Immigration Office must have issued a prior authorization to stay for an indefinite period to the recognized refugee.
- The recognised refugee must have stayed legally in Belgium for at least 18 months.
- The duration of the stay in Belgium must not have been restricted for a specific reason.
The recognised refugee has to add copies of the following documents to his/her request:
- His/her residence card or residence permit
- the travel document issued by the country which granted refugee status.
Voluntary ending of the refugee status
The recognised refugee can renounce his protection status when he thinks the reasons for leaving his country no longer exist.
The recognised refugee may renounce his/her refugee status by personally presenting at the CGRS Helpdesk recognised refugees and stateless persons. He/she brings the necessary documents (travel document, refugee certificate and an identity document) and signs a declaration of renounciation. If the CGRS is in possession of his/her national passport, it gives it back to the person
The consequences of renouncing the refugee status
The CGRS is no longer responsible for issuing documents of civil status to this person who must again contact the authorities of his country of origin.
Ending the refugee status does not automatically end residence in Belgium and the person is still subject to the same rules as before.
After the renounciation of refugee status, the person is allowed to:
- travel abroad with the passport of his country of origin
- travel to his country of origin
Cessation of the refugee status by the CGRS
The CGRS ends the refugee status when:
- the refugee has voluntarily re-availed himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality;
- the refugee having lost his or her nationality, has voluntarily re-acquired it;
- the refugee has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his or her new nationality;
- the refugee has voluntarily re-established himself or herself in the country where he/ she fears persecution;
- the circumstances in connection with which he or she has been recognised as a refugee have ceased to exist, (for example if there have been significant and permanent changes in his/her country of origin),
In case of examination of a possible revocation of the refugee status, the CGRS may interview the refugee but is not legally required to do so. The CGRS gives the refugee the opportunity to submit in writing the reasons for maintaining his/her status.
The CGRS may revoke a refugee status:
- if the refugee constitutes a danger to the community because he/ she has been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime;
- or when there are reasonable grounds for regarding him/ her as a danger to the national security.
The CGRS revokes the refugee status:
- if the refugee should have been or is excluded from being a refugee
- if granting of refugee status was based on, misrepresentation or omission of facts, or on false or forged documents.
- if the personal behavior of the recognized refugee indicates afterwards that he does not fear persecution.
If the CGRS considers to withdraw the refugee status the recognized refugee will be called for an interview. During the interview, he/she will have the opportunity to present the reasons for maintaining his/her status.
For some decisions of withdrawal of refugee status, CGRS gives an opinion on the possibility of expulsion.
If CGRS considers that a refugee status has to be ended or revoked, the refugee may lose his/her right to stay in Belgium.