General Principles

On this website, you can find the residence permits which are mentioned in annex 22 of the Practical Handbook for the Border Guards.

8 Principles for residence permits for Extra-Schengen travels

  1. If all the following conditions and principles are met, it is possible for a foreigner to undertake a visa-free trip to Belgium using this residence permit:
  • The person has to be in possession of a valid and recognized travel document (see sections “Recognized Travel Documents). During the travel, both the travel document and the residence permit have to be in the possession of the traveler.
  • The following 5 identity parameters have to match 100% between the travel document and the residence permit: Name, First Name, Sex, Date of Birth and Nationality.

If there is not a 100% match than it is not possible to travel with that combination:

  • Example 1: A person has dual nationality X and Y, both of which are third countries[1].   The person concerned cannot travel with the passport issued by third country X and a residence permit stating nationality Y.
  • Example 2: A person has been recognised as a refugee in another Schengen Member State Z. The person concerned must therefore travel with a refugee passport issued by Z.  

The person concerned cannot, therefore, travel on the basis of the national passport of his country of origin A with nationality A, and a residence document issued by Schengen Member State Z, marked 'refugee'.

Refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status: see section 6 below

  1. Other documents that are not mentioned under the section “Visa-Free residence permits” do not have any value to replace a visa or for travel. For example:
  • Belgium: Attestation d'immatriculation (Attest van immatriculatie), certificate of loss or theft of a residence permit, …
  • France:
    • “Récépissé de demande de carte de séjour - a demandé la délivrance d'un premier titre de séjour.”
    • “Récépissé de demande de carte de séjour - a demandé le duplicata de son titre de séjour.”
    • “Récépissé de demande de carte de séjour - a demandé la modification de son titre de séjour.”
    • “Attestation de prolongation d’instruction d’une demande de renouvellement de titre de séjour.”
  1. Third country nationals who are holders of a valid long-stay visa (visa D) or residence permit issued by one of the Schengen states may travel visa-free to the territory of other Schengen Member states. Such a visa/residence permit also allows them to stay on the territory of the other Schengen states for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. All this, of course, within the period of validity indicated on the visa/residence permit.[2]

For a long stay in Belgium (= more than 90 days in any 180 day period): a residence permit delivered by Belgium or a D visa delivered by Belgium is always required.

  1. Residence Permits, D visa, or any other visa, delivered by Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, Ireland and Croatia: these documents in principle don’t have any (visa-free) value for the Schengen area. There are only a limited number of exceptions. Do verify the section “Residence Permits delivered by Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, Ireland and Croatia” for detailed information.
  2. In the list of Residence Permits, a distinction is made between:
  • “Residence permits delivered according to the uniform model of the EU” and
  • “All other documents issued to third-country nationals having equivalent value to a residence permit”. The documents are not according to the uniform model of the EU.

This distinction is important to check whether the document has visa-free value or not. Always check under which specific section the document falls.

You can find more information about the uniform format on the EU website

  1. Refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status

Recognised refugees must travel with a travel document issued by the State offering them protection. They cannot travel on the basis of a travel document issued by their country of origin. Recognised refugees may never travel with the national passport of their country of origin.  Example:

- OK to travel: person travels on the basis of a Refugee Passport issued by another Schengen State X and a residence permit from that Schengen State X stating "refugee".

- NOT OK to travel: A person has been recognised as a refugee in another Schengen Member State Z. In this context, the person concerned must travel with a refugee passport issued by Z. The person concerned cannot therefore travel on the basis of the national passport of his country of origin A with nationality A and a residence document issued by Schengen Member State Z stating "refugee".

Persons with the status of subsidiary protection: retain their national travel document of the country of origin. They can travel in a visa-free manner with this travel document, provided that they are also in possession of a residence permit which is mentioned under the section “Residence Permits” of this website. For example:

- OK to travel: the person has been granted subsidiary protection status by another Schengen Member State Y. He retains the national passport of his country-of-origin A with nationality A. The other Schengen Member State Y will issue him with a residence permit marked 'subsidiary protection', with nationality A. The person concerned can travel visa-free on the basis of his passport from his country-of-origin A and a residence permit issued by Schengen Member State Y, marked 'nationality A’.

The Belgian and European rules on subsidiary protection status only provide for the issue of a specific travel document by Belgium or another EU Member State if the beneficiary of the status cannot obtain a national passport and has to travel abroad for urgent humanitarian reasons.


7.Citizens of an EU Member State or a Schengen Member State may travel on the basis of a valid identity card issued by their country of origin or a valid national passport. They must always be in possession of at least one of these two documents.

They cannot travel on the sole basis of a residence permit (e.g. for Belgium an E, E+, EU or EU+ card) without also being in possession of a valid identity card or passport.

  1. As of 01.01.2021 Residence cards or visa delivered by the United Kingdom don’t have any value to replace a visa for travel to the Schengen area. This both concerns visa for short stay (C visa) as airport transit visa (A visa)

 


[1] Third country is a country which is not part of the Schengen area or the EU.

[2] See document “Guidelines for reading the visa sticker type A, C and D”