Together with an order to leave the territory, with or without detention, the Immigration Office can impose a ban on entry into Belgium or the entire Schengen area for a certain period. The foreign national is reported and is not allowed to travel in the Schengen area, including Belgium, for a certain period of time.
Return decisions do not imply a ban on returning to Belgium. A person who has left on their own initiative may in principle return to Belgium provided that they meet the legal conditions for entry and residence. If the costs of removal have been borne by the Belgian State, the person concerned must reimburse these costs before being allowed to return to Belgium. Entry bans accompanying return decisions can be imposed on third-country nationals if the person concerned is in irregular stay. On the other hand, entry bans for reasons of public order or national security may be imposed on any foreign national regardless of nationality (including nationals of a Member State of the European Economic Area).
A ban on entry can be set at a maximum of three years, in particular when a previous decision has not been executed. This period can be extended to a maximum of five years when the third-country national has used fraud or other illegal means to gain or maintain residence. The return decision may be accompanied by an entry ban of more than five years if the foreign national constitutes a serious threat to public order or national security. The duration of entry bans is related to the specific situation of each individual. A balance is struck between the danger that the foreign national's behaviour represents for public order and national security on the one hand, and their personal and family interests on the other.
Persons who are subject to an entry ban may no longer enter or stay in the territory of the European Union Member States and, in principle, may no longer obtain a visa for those States for the duration of the entry ban. They will be refused entry at the border and normally forcibly removed if found on the territory of a Member State. This entry ban is limited to Belgium if the person is a national of a member state of the European Economic Area, one of their family members, or if they are a national of a third country who has a right of residence in another member state of the European Economic Area.
Entry bans may be suspended or lifted on humanitarian grounds. Foreign nationals may request the suspension or lifting of the entry ban for work or study reasons when two-thirds of the duration of the entry ban has expired.
Proof must be provided that the person concerned has left Belgian territory in full compliance with the return decision.