The presence of foreign nationals on Belgian territory is monitored by the police, the Social Inspectorate and the Federal Public Service Finance. Any administrative decision related to their residence is taken by the Immigration Office.
When the police in Belgium check a person, they first contact the Immigration Office for an administrative decision. The Immigration Office studies the file on the basis of the administrative report drawn up by the police, checks the foreign national's residence situation, takes a decision and gives instructions to the police as soon as possible. If the foreign national is found to be staying irregularly, one of the following decisions will be made. These decisions will be forwarded to the police and must be served on the person concerned:
- order to leave the territory or confirmation of a previously notified order to leave the territory;
- detention in a detention centre or an open family unit for families with minor children, with a view to return;
- transfer to an open centre for unaccompanied minors and supervision by the Guardianship Service of the Federal Public Service Justice.
Any administrative decision is subject to a judicial decision. The decision of the Immigration Office only becomes enforceable when the magistrate decides not to arrest the foreign national in irregular stay on the basis of the crimes they have committed.
Belgium's strategy is to focus increasingly on voluntary return. When an order to leave the country is issued, efforts will be made to provide effective guidance for return, either a voluntary return or a forced return if the foreign national continues to refuse to voluntarily comply with the order.
When a foreign national is served with an order to leave the territory, they are given clear and concrete information on the course of the procedures, voluntary return and the risk of forced return.
You have received the order to leave the territory This means that you must leave Belgium. What exactly do you have to do?
You must have left Belgium, at the latest, on the date mentioned on your ‘order to leave the territory’.
The most obvious and simplest solution would be to arrange to return to your country of origin. You may also go to another country, but only if you have documents allowing you to enter this country and if authorization to return to this country is still valid.
If you no longer have your identity documents to return to your country of origin, you must go to the embassy of your country of origin. They can issue you with a passport or return document. If you have any problems, one of the departments mentioned below may be able to help you.
If you do not leave the country by your own means or un- der your own initiative, the police will arrest you. The Immigration Office may decide to keep you at a detention centre or housing intended for this purpose while waiting for your journey to return to either your country of origin or another country to be arranged.
In addition, if you do not take any action relating to the order to leave the territory, an entry ban may be imposed. This ban means that, for a period of 3 to 20 years, you will not be allowed to enter the territory of member states. You will be reported throughout the entire Schengen area.
You must pay for your journey yourself. However, if you cannot do this, you may request the support of the voluntary return program. Through this program, you can obtain a return ticket under the same conditions as a normal traveler, you will be accompanied at the airport of departure and the majority of connecting airports and air- ports of arrival (if you leave by plane) and you may receive additional assistance.
If you would like to take advantage of this program or get more information about the voluntary return, please call Fedasil on 0032 800/32 745. You can also contact a local REAB partner.
If you have chosen to leave by your own means, you must inform the Belgian authorities of your departure. To do this, you must hand over the original form from the order to leave the territory to the Federal Police when you cross the border. If you do not pass a border post when you leave Belgium, you must send proof of your departure (e.g. a photocopy of your passport with an exit stamp) by email suiviOQT@ibz.fgov.be (fr) / opvolgingBGV@ibz.fgov.be (nl).
There are procedures for appealing against a negative decision regarding an order to leave the territory. These procedures are described at the bottom of the decision form. Your lawyer can provide you with information about this. If you do not have a lawyer, you can contact a local law society to receive legal aid (free of charge).
Only a few of the appeal procedures suspend the order to leave the territory. If you file an appeal with a suspensory effect, while awaiting the final decision, on the instructions of the Immigration Office, the municipal government of your place of residence will issue a temporary stay document (via an annex 35).
In other cases, you will not receive a temporary stay document and you must leave the territory, even if you have filed an appeal. In certain circumstances, you may be subject to preventive measures. These are detailed on the order to leave the territory and must be obeyed.
Have you carried out undeclared work or worked illegally? Were you the victim of an accident at work? Were you not paid, or paid less than the legal minimum amount?
You may still be able to collect your salary and report your accident through the Direction Générale Contrôle des Lois Sociales.
If there is sufficient evidence of your work, the Direction Générale Contrôle des Lois Sociales may be able to intervene with your employer in order that they pay you the salary you are still owed. It will also help you with the steps that must be carried out for declaring an accident at work. You can find all information on www.meldpuntsocialefraude.belgie.be