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Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens
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Aliza


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PostPosted: Thu 4 Aug 2016 - 00:17    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Good day everyone!


I really hope that English is okay, as my Flemish is very poor (even though I speak Afrikaans). The replies can be in Flemish however.


I am currently in Belgium (Leuven) on a Type D visa, doing my PhD in neuroscience at KU Leuven and imec. However, my fiancee is going to join me to enter a legal cohabitation in Belgium. We are very unsure as to how the procedure works as a lot of the sites and offices give us contradictory information. To summarize: I am on a Type D visa and am receiving my type A residence permit within the next 2 weeks. My fiancee is going to apply for a Type C visa (with the intention to enter a cohabitation).  At the moment I understand the procedure we need to follow as follows:



1. He applies for Type C visa with intention to enter a cohabitation (multiple entry) at the Belgium Embassy in South Africa (with all the 10000 documents needed for the application, which I think we have by now)
2. When he arrives in Leuven, we go to the stadskantoor together to apply for cohabitation to be pledged by the amptenaar van burgerlike stand (does all of this happen at one visit?)
3. During the next 2 months the relationship will hopefully be registered, during which the relationship can be investigated (since he is on a Type C visa, can he leave Belgium as long as it is still in the prerequirements of the visa).
4. As soon as the cohabitation has been registered we can start his visa process which takes minimum 9 months. During this time he is not allowed to leave Belgium (Is it true that it is 9 months if both are non EU?).
5. He will receive a temporary visa (orange card) during this time (how long will it take for him to receive it?). 
6. After receiving the orange card he can apply for the type C work permit (can he apply immediately when he receives the orange card?) 
6. Within 9-15 months he will receive his type D visa and can apply for his residence card (which takes 2-3 weeks to be issued)


Okay, so firstly I would like to know whether the above is correct?  The main problem which we are dealing with is that my fiancee has his own company in South Africa which is run by his father during the off season, but during peak season (December-February) he has to be there. His farther is also suffering from a chronic illness and will not be able to help out that much anymore.  This brings me to my next question: is there any way that we can decrease the time he needs to be in Belgium or find a way of letting him go to South Africa? Although the process is difficult and tedious we do not mind, as long as we can be together (as I can not do a PhD in neuroscience in South Africa), but our main concern is time. I am sure it makes sense with his company why all my questions are time and work permit related.  If he misses peak season in South Africa (which is not ideal) he is going to have to be able to earn an income through another method.


Thank you so very much for all the help and advice in advance!


Kind regards
Aliza








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Jungle
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PostPosted: Fri 5 Aug 2016 - 07:49    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Hallo en welkom op het forum.

Een visum is enkel om naar België te kunnen komen. De documenten die je als vreemdeling krijgt nadat je België bent binnengekomen zijn verblijfsvergunningen, van beperkte of onbeperkte duur.

Hier vind je de volledige en correcte uitleg van de procedure voor jullie geval: http://www.kruispuntmi.be/thema/vreemdelingenrecht-internationaal-privaatre…

En meer specifiek voor het visum C om wettelijk samen te wonen met een Belg of derdelander: http://www.kruispuntmi.be/thema/verblijfsrecht-uitwijzing-reizen/gezinshere…


Point 2 should be: he declares his arrival at the gemeentehuis and you both introduce the request to register legal cohabitation. It is important that he declares his arrival.

3. If the city hall asks for an enquiry regarding schijnrelatie, the registration of legal cohabitation might last a lot longer than 2 months: 5 months.

Whether or not he can leave the Schengen space and come back, depends on the visa itself: whether it's a visa for Belgium or entire Schengen territorium and whether it is single or multiple entry.

I would advice your friend to ask for a multiple entry visa, which would allow him to travel back and forth while waiting for registration of the legal cohabitation and decision regarding his permit to live in Belgium.

4. As soon as the cohabitation is registered, your friend may apply for a permit to live in Belgium. Not a visa since he already is in Belgium.

The time is MAXIMUM 9 months for both non EU, not minimum :-)

5. After applying for a resident permit, he will receive an "attest van immatriculatie" (again this is not a visa), which is the orange card. If DVZ grants him the resident permit, he will receive an identiteitskaart voor vreemdelingen (not a visa).


I would advice you to prove that both of you are highly schooled and/or have a high/well paid job. So copies of university diploma's, proof of your current studies, proof that he owns a business is SA + income...

Belgium does not have a problem per se with immigration, only with immigration of lowly schooled people who have low chances on the work market.


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Aliza


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PostPosted: Fri 5 Aug 2016 - 12:26    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Hallo Jungle


Thank you very much for your prompt reply and helpful information.  The links which you have sent are exactly the ones I used to determine the procedure we must follow, but with the language barrier I just had to make 100% sure that I understand it correctly (for example the visa/permit misunderstanding). 


So the big problem which we are sitting with is that I am a highly schooled person as I have a bachelor in chemical engineering, master's in biomedical engineering and now doing my PhD at KU Leuven, with a full scholarship from imec. Since imec is the best in its sort in the world, I chose Leuven.  My fiancee, on the other hand, is not a highly schooled person (as he only has a matriculation certificate), but he is a highly skilled worker.  He is a professional sport fisher.  His company in South Africa is Awesome Charters (http://www.awesomefishing.co.za/),  and he worked in America for five years on a sport fisher.  He is thus only coming to Belgium because I want to do my PhD here.  If he goes back to South Africa every year from December to February he will be able to keep his company running during the 4 years that I complete my PhD.  However, since Belgium barely has a sea we do not plan on immigrating to Belgium permanently, ever! If anything we will go to America after the four years because there is a lot of work for him in the Caribbean and I will be able to find a job at a pharmaceutical company.  


Therefore, do you have any advice regarding our situation? One of my South African friends who are in a similar situation is Netherlands, fiancee managed to enter as a Single Partner. Does Belgium have something like that? Will it help if I ask imec to help with a solution? If we consider long distance during this time, how will that work? Will he only be able to be in the EU for 90 days in total, if he receives multiple entry, during the 4 years?


Really hope you can help!


Kind regards
Aliza 
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Aliza


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PostPosted: Fri 5 Aug 2016 - 13:20    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Hi Jungle
And regarding the process taking maximum 9 months, I made that assumption base on the following part on the Kruispunt website:
Gegrondheidsonderzoek door DVZ
Tijdens het onderzoek ten gronde van 9 maanden, te rekenen vanaf de datum van de aanvraag (bijlage 41bis), gaat de DVZ na of je voldoet aan alle voorwaarden voor gezinshereniging. In principe gebeurt tijdens deze periode ook een onderzoek naar de samenwoonst.
Bij complexe dossiers kan de DVZ je attest van immatriculatie (AI) dat 9 maanden geldig is maximaal 2 keer met telkens 3 maanden verlengen .
Er geldt dus een maximale behandelingstermijn van 15 maanden. De DVZ moet je op de hoogte brengen van een eventuele verlenging van de termijn van zes maanden met een gemotiveerde beslissing. Het moet dit doen voor het verstrijken van de termijn van het eerste AI.”
 
http://kruispuntmi.be/thema/de-derdelander-heeft-beperkt-verblijfsrecht-in-…
 
When this happens it would be almost impossible for him not to have to sell his company in South Africa. 
 
Also, do you think going back to South Africa and getting married will help the process in any way?
 
I really hope I can still do my PhD at imec!
Kind regards
Aliza
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Jungle
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PostPosted: Fri 5 Aug 2016 - 15:16    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

That prolongation happens only in quite complicated cases (birth certificate lost due to war etc...). It is very unlikely to happen in a case such as yours.

The difference between legal cohabitation and marriage in SA, then applying for a family reunion visa is the following:
- even if your friend gets the visa met het oog op wettelijk samenwonen, the city hall might ask for an enquiry and it might take a very long time before you even get to register the legal cohabitation
- if you marry in SA, the marriage does not need to be registered in Belgium, your then husband could apply for a family reunion visa on the basis of the SA wedding certificate.

If marriage is an option for you, it is the road I would follow. In this case only DVZ decides, the city has no say over a visa or residence permit. But the city could block a legal cohabitation or wedding in Belgium.

I suppose you are here with a student permit, you are free to leave the Schengen zone and re-enter at will.


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Aliza


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PostPosted: Fri 5 Aug 2016 - 17:41    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Thank you once again for the prompt reply!  


Before I ever made plans of coming to Belgium (it all happened quite fast), my partner and I were planning on getting married at the end of this year, so we were strongly considering just getting married sooner.  However, the reason we were advised against it is that administration in South Africa takes an extremely long time.  For example, I applied for my birth certificate at Home Affairs more than a year ago (which normally takes 3 months in South Africa, which is already crazy long) and I have only received it a week ago after getting an attorney to sort out the matter. So getting our marriage registered in South Africa and then obtaining the certificate would take over a year. Therefore we decided not to take the chance and get married, not get the certificate, entering a cohabitation in Belgium in the end out of desperation (since our status would still be single) and then have an impediment later regarding our marriage.  I know it all sounds extremely crazy, but that is literally how bad our admin is back home!


Do you have any advice for this? During legal marriage you sign a form at the Magistrate in South Africa (declaring our marriage). Do you think that form can work as substitute for the marriage certificate until we receive it?  Because then the situation changes quite a bit.  He can come and visit me now, on a Type C visa (hopefully get a 3 months stay, multiple entry not even necessary), go back for his company until February, we get married in that time, and then in February we can just start the family reunification process.  Will that work? Because then we have 9 months until December, when he needs to be back again.


Wow, if that can work everything will be solved! Do you think such a from can work?


Kind regards
Aliza 
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Jungle
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PostPosted: Sat 6 Aug 2016 - 06:43    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Oh wow, that's crazy! And we Belgians complain about our administration being complicated lol

I have no idea whether that form would be accepted, you would have to ask the Belgian embassy in SA about that.


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Aliza


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PostPosted: Sat 6 Aug 2016 - 10:21    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

I wouldn't say our admin is complicated, just extremely bad (which complicates things).  


Okay so I did some reading on the Kruispunt MI website again with our new option and have additional questions:


Scenario 1 (we enter cohabitation in Belgium and start with the gezinshereniging afterwards):


1. Is there already a chance of investigation to schijnrelatie at the time of visa application to come here to enter cohabitation?
2. If the gemeente asks for an investigation into schijnrelatie after request for registering cohabitation, is there a problem in terms of him legally staying in Belgium during this period that we are waiting for that investigation? In other words, is there any problem with us being together here in Belgium at the time this investigation is running?


Scenario 2 (we get married in SA and apply for gezinshereniging afterwards):


I have emailed the Embassy in South Africa about the Home Affairs delay and awaiting their reply.  


1. Does he then have to apply for a type D visa to come to Belgium in February (married by this time) and then immediately start with the 9 months' process? 
2. If the Embassy grant him this visa to come to Belgium based on the form stating our marriage (and not yet the legalized marriage certificate, as I see they specifically ask for it) we can assume that the DVZ will also accept it as they decide about the family reunification (hopefully before the end of the 9 months we will have the certificate). We just need them to start with the process so long, as my then husband will have to be back in SA by December 2017.  Do you think I can contact the DVZ about this after (and if) the Embassy says that they will accept it?


I am sorry for asking so many complicated questions.  I am just really desperate by now.


Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Kind regards
Aliza
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Aliza


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PostPosted: Sat 6 Aug 2016 - 10:34    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

I have also spoken to quite a few people from KU Leuven about our situation and after re-reading the process of bringing along family member given by KU Leuven I have a question (here is the link from their website if you are interested in reading it: https://www.kuleuven.be/english/admissions/travelling/bringing)


So this is the process:


Step 1: You will have to travel to Belgium first while your family applies for the special visa later. (I assume the type D visa)
Step 2: When already in Belgium you will need to find suitable housing for yourself and your family. (which I have)
Step 3: You will need to have a copy of your housing contract legalised at the Registratiekantoor (Registry Office). You will need to send this legalised copy to your family as proof that suitable housing is ready. (which I have)
Step 4: You will also need to obtain an attestation from your health insurance company here in Leuven that states that your family members will also be covered by a health insurance in Belgium. You will need to send this document to your family as well. (which I have)
Step 5: Your family will need to submit the legalised housing contract, the attestation from the health insurance, along with the other required documents to the Belgian embassy or consulate when they apply for their visas.
Step 6: Upon their arrival in Belgium, the spouse and children of regular Students will need to register at City Hall.
Step 7: City Hall sends a police agent for a visit at your residence to see that all your family members are together with you. When this procedure is complete, they will receive the Certificate of Inscription in the Foreigners' Ledger.


So my question is: What does it mean if he receives the  Certificate of Inscription in the Foreigners' Ledger? Is that like a orange permit? Does that mean the 9 months process can start, etc?  


Kind regards
Aliza
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Jungle
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PostPosted: Sat 6 Aug 2016 - 15:11    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Scenario 1:
1. Theoretically: yes. Your husband may be interviewed at the embassy and in case of doubt, DVZ might ask for an enquiry at the parket.

But as you are here with a verblijfsvergunning van beperkte duur, the risk is limited: your husband's verblijfsvergunning would be directly dependent on your's. If your verblijfsvergunning ends or you leave Belgium, then his permit is revoked as well.

And as you are both highly schooled or high professionnals, the risk is a lot less and almost non-existant.

2. If the gemeente asks for an investigation, his staying in Belgium is not exactly protected but tolerated. Which means theoretically and legally DVZ might remove him from the territory but they usually don't, except in some cases where they fear the person staying in Belgium is victim of a marriage scam.

Scenario 2:
1. The 9 months behandelingstermijn starts on the day the visa for family reunion has been applied for.

2. DVZ follows the embassy in regard to which documents are legal in a certain country. If the embassy says the document is legal and valid, DVZ will follow suit.

I don't quite understand what you want to contact DVZ about or after what?

KU Leuven site:
Certificate of Inscription in the Foreigners' Ledger means the person is registered in a population ledger dedicated to foreigners, apart from the one for Belgians.

As proof of registration, the foreigner receives this certificate in the form of a sort of ID card.

This is after the visa has been applied for and DVZ has decided, so after that 9 months behandelingstermijn, when the visa has been granted and the foreigner has arrived in Belgium.

The only formality left then is to register at city hall, come back 10-14 days later to receive the certificate and that's it.

Are you living around Leuven? I could find you a VZW that's specialized in Vreemdelingenrecht so you could check and ask questions.

Usually, if conditions of housing, income etc... are met, there are no big problems to get family reunion in a case like yours. It's more a matter of getting all the paperwork and pay the visa fee and administrative bijdrage.

The embassy might even decide to grant your husband the visa without submitting the visa application to DVZ, which is then a lot faster.


One thing your then husband could do, is apply for a 1 year Schengen visa multiple entry before getting married. That way, he will be free to travel back and forth at his convenience during behandelingstermijn.


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Aliza


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PostPosted: Mon 8 Aug 2016 - 07:41    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Wow, thank you so very much for all that information.  I live in Leuven, so will you please be able to find me a VZW who specialized in Vreemdelingenrecht? It would be really great to also just talk to someone in person to present all my documents to them and discuss different options.  

 
If I understand the behandelingstermijn correctly, it is not a matter of the DVZ wanting to keep people from leaving Belgium, it is just that people cannot leave as they do not have a valid visa to re-enter? If he applies for a "normal" Schengen visa with multiple entry now and it gets granted (with the assumption that we will get married in December and we will be able to get our marriage certificate/some substitute in time):  

 
1. Does that mean that he can come and visit me now (for up to 90 days), but then he must leave the Schengen territory again for 90 days before he can re-enter? 
2. If 1. is correct, can he then apply for a Type D visa after getting married (with will then be during his 90 days out of the country)?  
3. If 2. is correct, can he even during the 9 months period be able to leave Schengen territory should he return to South Africa during that time (as long as it obeys the 90 days in, 90 days out that the Schengen visa with multiple entry grants one)? 

 
Thank you so very much for all the help, as I do realize that this forum is mostly for Belgium citizens wanting to reunite with foreign spouses. I really appreciate it! 

 
Kind regardsAliza

 

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Jungle
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PostPosted: Mon 8 Aug 2016 - 16:45    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

You will find a few addresses of VZW's here: http://www.kruispuntmi.be/juridisch-advies-in-vlaanderen-en-brussel

In your case, your husband would be waiting in SA during the behandelingstermijn of 9 months: that's the maximum time alloted to DVZ to decide whether or not to grant the family reunion visa. Once in Belgium after having gotten here with a D visa, he receives a residence permit immediately, no more waiting.

1. Yes: a total of 90 days per period of 180 days, so it depends if he takes 90 days in one go or distributes them evenly over this period.
2. yes
3. not applicable as he has to apply for a visa for family reunion in SA, he would theoretically wait for the answer in SA.

However, he could apply for a 1 year/multiple entry Schengen visa before the marriage. That would allow him to travel back and forth between SA and Belgium while waiting for a decision for the family reunion visa. He would then be able to leave an re-enter Schengen at will.


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Jungle
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PostPosted: Mon 8 Aug 2016 - 16:46    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Oh, and this forum is absolutely not for Belgians only :-) It's for family reunion to Belgium, no matter what nationality.

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Aliza


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PostPosted: Mon 8 Aug 2016 - 20:57    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Hi Jungle


Thank you so very much for all the information and enormous amount of help.  I have made a few appointments (based on the information you gave me) and will bother them for a while with all my questions.


Thank you very much for the selflessness in which you run this forum, it is extremely helpful.


Kind regards
Aliza 
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Aliza


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PostPosted: Thu 11 Aug 2016 - 19:47    Post subject: Cohabitation and work permit uncertainty for non-EU citizens Reply with quote

Hi Jungle
 
In your messages you advised that my partner should apply for a multiple entry visa, which would allow him to travel back and forth while waiting for registration of the legal cohabitation and the decision from the DVZ regarding his permit to live in Belgium. Does this mean that they will give a Type C with the intention to enter a legal cohabitation for a period of a year, multiple entry, or how long do they normally give it for?
If this is true, and they do grant him a year and we can enter the cohababitation after 2/5 months, then he still has 10 months left.  Does that mean that he can travel back and forth during that time. Don't they take your passport once you apply for the family reunification?


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Aliza
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