The CGRS grants subsidiary protection status.

Residence and work in Belgium

The subsidiary protection status gives right to an initially limited stay in Belgium: the electronic aliens’ card A. The electronic A card is valid for one year and can be renewed for a period of two years. After these two years, it is again possible to request a renewal for two years.

After five years, counting from the filing of the application for international protection, the person enjoying subsidiary protection will be entitled to an unlimited stay: the electronic aliens’ card B.

A person enjoying subsidiary protection can work as a salaried employee. He is exempt from the obligation to apply for a combined permit or a work permit.

A person enjoying subsidiary protection who wants to be self-employed, must apply for a professional card (self-employed). Once the person enjoying subsidiary protection is entitled to unlimited residence (electronic B card), he is exempt from obtaining a professional card.

Travelling abroad

If a person enjoying subsidiary protection travels abroad, he or she must always have a valid electronic refugee card and, if necessary, a passport with the required visas.

Travelling to the country of origin may question the status of the person enjoying subsidiary protection. During the first five years of residence, every journey to the country of origin must be reported at the municipality where the person enjoying subsidiary protection lives.

A passport can be requested at the embassy or consulate of the country of origin.

If the person enjoying subsidiary protection does not have a passport or is unable to obtain one in the country of origin because the authorities in the country of origin are directly responsible for the risk of suffering serious harm, a special travel document for persons enjoying subsidiary protection can be requested at the municipality where the person concerned is registered in the municipal register. A special travel document is issued, provided that the identity and nationality are established and a certificate of impossibility to obtain a national passport or travel document, is submitted. This certificate of impossibility can be requested at the CGRS.

A certificate of impossibility is not necessary if the person enjoying subsidiary protection belongs to one of the categories of foreign nationals who cannot obtain a national passport or travel document according to the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (

Family of the subsidiary protected person


  • Children automatically have the same status as their parents (subsidiary protection status) when they have arrived together and have applied for asylum at the same time.
  • If the children were born after their parents were granted subsidiary protection status, the municipality has to register them in the aliens' register on presentation of the birth certificate.

If the children born in Belgium after the subsidiary protection status was granted, also want to obtain this protection status, they must submit an individual application for international protection.

The end of subsidiary protection
Voluntary ending of subsidiary protection status

Every person enjoying subsidiary protection can renounce his/her status by personally presenting him-/herself at the CGRS helpdesk for refugees and stateless persons.

He/she brings the necessary documents (aliens’ card and if necessary a travel document) and signs a declaration of renunciation. A certificate stating that the person concerned does not enjoy subsidiary protection status any longer is drawn up for the municipality.

A decision of renunciation is definitive and cannot be reconsidered.

The Immigration Office does not automatically end the right of residence but will decide case by case on the basis of the elements in the administrative file.

Cessation of the subsidiary protection status by the CGRS

The CGRS can only end the subsidiary protection status if the circumstances that gave rise to the status no longer exist, or have changed in such a way that the protection status is no longer necessary. There must not be any compelling reasons on the part of the applicant as a result of previous serious harm not to seek protection from the country of his/her nationality (or the country of main residence in the case of stateless persons).

The CGRS takes a decision to end the subsidiary protection when this status should never have been granted:

  • because the person concerned should have been excluded from protection or
  • because he obtained a protection status by means of fraud.

The CGRS can revoke subsidiary protection status if:

  • the person concerned has committed one or several crimes that do not fall within the specific exclusion clauses;
  • the crimes are punishable by imprisonment if committed in Belgium;
  • the person concerned has only left his country of origin in order to escape punishment.

Information about the asylum procedure, tailored to the asylum seeker, can be found at :