If you have not been able to submit your application during the application period, in addition to the evidence applicable to your category (see procedures) you must also prove that it was not possible for you to submit your application before the end of the application period. The Immigration Office will first check whether you were indeed unable to submit your application before the end of the application period before the other conditions are checked. If the Immigration Office considers that you could have submitted your application during the application period, your application may be refused.
UK nationals and their family members who are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement can enjoy the right of permanent residence in Belgium after five years of continuous legal residence. Both periods of legal residence before and after the transition period will be taken into account. Likewise, temporary absences which do not affect the retention of the right of residence of the beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement residing in Belgium do not affect the acquisition of the right of permanent residence after a period of five years of legal residence.
The following temporary absences do not affect the retention of your right of residence:
- temporary absences of a maximum of six months per year;
- absences of a longer duration for the fulfilment of military obligations;
- absences not exceeding 12 consecutive months for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training;
- assignment to work abroad.
Once obtained, you will only lose your right of permanent residence if you are absent from Belgium for an uninterrupted period of more than five years.
Furthermore, just like citizens of the Union, you may lose your right of residence on grounds of public order or national security.
If you lose your job for a long period of time and become a burden on social security, you could also have your right of residence terminated. This is the same rule as for Union citizens.
In certain cases, the right of permanent residence is exceptionally granted before the period of five years of continuous residence. These are the same cases as for Union citizens.