Publicity of the administration

Information is a right of the citizen and an obligation of the administration.
This principle is enshrined in the Law of 11 April 1994 on the publicity of the administration, which aims to make the workings of the administration more transparent. 

In accordance with this Law, the Publicity Department of the administration of the Immigration Office transmits a foreign national's file (or a part thereof) electronically at the request of a lawyer or a private person.

This service can only be accessed by e-mail publiciteadministration [at]

In some cases, it is possible to receive a paper version of a file or part of it for a fee.

In any case, the Publicity Department of the Administration does not answer questions regarding the content.

These questions should be sent to the Infodesk infodesk [at]

You must send your request to the Publicity Department of the administration at the e-mail address openbaarheidvanbestuur [at] ()

If the request for consultation is made without the intervention of a lawyer, the applicant will have to prove their identity. 

No. The law of 11 April 1994 on the publicity of the administration provides that any request for consultation or copy must be made in writing. This request must mention the matter in question and, if necessary, detail the administrative documents concerned, the consultation or copy of which is requested. If you do not wish to obtain a copy of the entire file, but only of specific documents (e.g. a decision taken on a given date), please specify this clearly in your request. This has repercussions on the calculation of the fee if you wish to have a physical copy (see below).

The information that must be included in the request is the surname, first name, date of birth and, if possible, the file number of the Immigration Office. The request must always be accompanied by a detailed statement of reasons.

Yes. The Immigration Office switched to electronic file management for foreign nationals at the end of 2002, so it is technically feasible to receive a copy of a file by e-mail. Given the size of some of these and the diversity of the documents, it may be necessary to send them in several emails. It is therefore important that your mailbox is able to receive mails with several tens of megabytes. However, if you only need a few very specific documents or additional documents from a certain date, mention this clearly in your request.

The sending of electronic documents is always free of charge (see above).  In the exceptional case where it is not technically possible to send a file electronically (see above), you must go to the reception of the Immigration Office to receive a physical copy of the file. We ask that you always make an appointment before picking up the copies.   

The Royal Decree of 17 August 2007 laying down the amount of the fee payable for the receipt of a paper copy of an administrative document specifies that the first 50 pages (A4 format, black and white version) are free of charge. From the 51st page onwards, copies are subject to a charge. The amount of this fee has been fixed by Royal Decree and must therefore also be paid by lawyers (pro deo). Upon receipt of the request, the costs of making copies will always be charged. If you no longer wish to pick up the copies, the fees are still due (costs have been incurred).

The amount will be communicated to you in advance by the Publicity Department of the administration. 

Payment must then be made by transfer to account number
BE57 6792 0060 9235, with the following indication: 'Costs of copy lawyer, file number X.XXX.XXX'.

The law of 11 April 1994 on the publicity of the administration provides for a legal deadline of 30 days for the administrative authority to formulate a response to the request. Applications are processed in chronological order. In concrete terms, you can expect a response to your request within two to three weeks, depending on the number of requests, bearing in mind that this can take up to 30 days (maximum).

Note: The legislation on publicity of the administration was not created in the context of appeal procedures, and therefore does not contain provisions on the lodging of (urgent) appeals.

Pursuant to the law of 11/04/1994, the Publicity Department of the administration is responsible for processing requests for consultation and communication of copies of files. This department does not answer questions regarding content. For this, you can contact the Infodesk of the Immigration Office at the e-mail address infodesk [at] () or by telephone: 02 488 80 00.

If you wish to check which information about you has been included in the Visa Information System (VIS), you can contact the e-mail address dpo.dvzoe [at]

The Publicity Department of the Immigration Office can be contacted by e-mail at openbaarheidvanbestuur [at] ()