FAQ

It is true that only family members of British citizens are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, and not the (British) family members of a Belgian or Union citizen (not British). If you have been granted an E card as a family member of a Belgian or Union citizen (not British), your situation is not protected under the Withdrawal Agreement.

However, you can apply for an M card in your own name as an economically active citizen (employee, self-employed, job seeker), person in possession of sufficient means of subsistence or student. You will have to prove that you meet the conditions to obtain the status (see procedures). For this reason, you have received a letter from the State Secretary inviting you to apply for an M card.

If you do not want your own status as a beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement but you want to continue to reside in Belgium as a family member of a Belgian or Union citizen, you can still do so on the basis of Union law. However, because you yourself can no longer be considered a Union citizen because of the Brexit, you cannot keep your E card. You must apply for an F card at the municipality. This application will be approved immediately, you do not need to present any further evidence other than your E card.

As a family member of a British beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement who is also British, you can choose to exchange your E card for an M card via the simple procedure. You will then retain your residence on the basis of family reunification and receive your M card (see procedures).

If, however, you prefer to apply for your own status as an economically active citizen (employee, self-employed person, job-seeker), person with sufficient means of subsistence or student, you can of course do so as well. You will then have to prove that you meet the conditions for your own status and your application will first have to be examined by the Immigration Office before it can be approved (see procedures).

The simple procedure can only be followed if you wish to reside in Belgium as a beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement on the same grounds as before the end of the transition period, because these conditions have already been examined in the past. If you wish to reside in Belgium on other grounds, the Immigration Office has to examine whether you all the conditions are met.

In both cases, you will receive an M card. British beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement with their own right can be joined by their direct family members with whom they already had a family relationship before the end of the transition period (the spouse or assimilated partner, the legal partner, children under 21 years of age or dependent, parents of underage beneficiaries of the withdrawal agreement or who are themselves dependent of the beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement and the de facto permanent partner). Please note that your parents and children can also come and join you when you received the status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement as the spouse, assimilated partner, legal partner or permanent de facto partner of a British beneficiary. They will have to submit their application on the basis of the status of your British partner and not on the basis of your own status.

If you changed your residence during your stay in Belgium and you did not inform your (new) municipality of this, it is possible that you have been radiated from the register (more info here).

This means that there is an indication that you may have left the country and no longer fulfill the conditions for residing in Belgium. Consequently, when you submit your application for the status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement, you will have to prove that your absence does not mean you have lost your residence right.  You will have to prove again that you meet the conditions for residence as a beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement. For this reason, you will be asked to follow the procedure for persons who do not have a valid residence card.

If you had a pending application, it will be rejected because you can no longer be considered to be a Union citizen or family member of a Union citizen. Therefore, you cannot obtain a residence on this ground.

This does not mean that you are not eligible for the status of a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. All British citizens and their family members must submit a new application in order to obtain the status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. If you wish to continue your stay in Belgium, you can submit an application as beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. To do so, you must follow the procedure for persons without a valid residence permit (see procedures). You can do this immediately and do not have to wait until your application as a Union citizen or family member of a Union citizen is rejected. When you submit your application, you will be given an annex 56 which covers your stay until a decision has been taken.

Since the end of the transition period (from 1 January 2021), E or F cards can no longer be issued to British citizens (with the exception of British family members of a Belgian or EU citizen) and family members of British citizens respectively as they can no longer be considered to be Union citizens. These cards are reserved for Union citizens and their family members, so they cannot be issued to British citizens and their family members after 1 January 2021.

This does not mean that you are not eligible for the status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. All British citizens and their family members must submit a new application to obtain the status of beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. If you wish to continue your stay in Belgium, you can submit an application as beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. For this, you must follow the procedure for persons without a valid residence permit (see procedures). When processing your application, the Immigration Office will take into account that your stay was already approved before the end of the transition period. When you submit your application, you will be given an annex 56 which covers your stay until a decision has been taken.

You cannot apply for a residence status as an employee or self-employed person because your work as a posted worker does not fall under Articles 45 or 49 TFEU but under Article 56 TFEU. However, you may be able to apply for residence in another capacity, as a person with sufficient resources if you have sufficient income, as a family member of a British beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement or as a student.

For this reason, if you already had an E card, you can follow the simple procedure to obtain an M card (see procedures). If you did not have an E card yet, you can apply as a person with sufficient means of subsistence, a student or a family member of a British beneficiary. You will then have to prove that you meet the conditions for a stay in one of these capacities (see procedures).

If you were only partially active in Belgium as a posted worker and also worked in Belgium as an employee or as a self-employed person within the meaning of article 45 or 49 TFEU, you can of course also apply as an economically active citizen (see procedures).

Posted workers who did not reside in Belgium before the end of the transitional period may have acquired rights on another ground than their employment. For example as a family member of a British beneficiary, on the basis of which they can apply for an M card, or because they were only partially active in Belgium as a posted worker and also worked in Belgium as an employee or self-employed person within the meaning of article 45 or 49 TFEU. In the latter case, they can apply for an N card on the basis of that other economic activity protected under Article 45 or 49 TFEU.

No, the annex 58 is only valid as an application form that has to be filled in in order to lodge the application.

Annex 56 serves as an attestation. Annex 56 is proof that the application has been lodged and that the holder can benefit from all the rights provided for in the withdrawal agreement while awaiting a decision. Only this attestation can be used in Belgium and when the holder is travelling.