Applying for asylum
In recent years, legislation on family reunification has become very technical. A lawyer will help you avoid certain pitfalls. Sometimes, for example, the Immigration Department judges that your marriage is not real but a sham. Then a lawyer will assist you to make counter-arguments.
A residence application may also be refused if the person residing in Belgium has too little income. Income from OCMW support is not taken into consideration. A lawyer will go through the possible solutions with you.
How can I apply for asylum?
- Go to the Immigration Department as soon as possible. There you submit an asylum application. Nowadays this is called an 'application for international protection', because you need protection from Belgium vis-à-vis your country of origin.
- The Immigration Department examines whether your application should be examined by the Belgian government or another European country. If Belgium is competent, your application will be forwarded to the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS).
- The Commissioner General decides whether you will be granted international protection. You are eligible if you cannot or do not want to invoke the protection of your country for fear of of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, social or political beliefs or because there is war in your country.
- If you do not agree with the decision, you can appeal to the Council for Immigration Disputes.
Do I need a lawyer to apply for asylum?
A lawyer experienced in immigration law can best assess your chances of success and help you gather all useful and important data. Often you have no written evidence of persecution, and then it is a matter of convincing the Commissioner General. A lawyer will assist you and help you convincingly explain the (usually delicate) reasons for your flight. In some cases, as an asylum seeker, you are even entitled to free assistance from a lawyer.
If your application is refused and you end up at the Council for alien law litigation for an appeal procedure, a lawyer will certainly come in handy. After all, many technical rules apply there that a citizen is usually unaware of. To avoid your appeal being rejected for procedural reasons, the assistance of a lawyer is no luxury.