Voluntary return

Voluntary return is an integral part of the return policy. Voluntary return and forced return are two pillars of this policy.

Belgium applies the principle that every foreign national who has been ordered to leave the country can leave independently and voluntarily. Forced return is only applied if the foreign national in irregular stay does not voluntarily comply with an order to leave the territory.

Independent return is in principle the normal situation. When a foreign national is ordered to leave the territory, they are requested to leave Belgian territory by their own means and to return to their country of origin or to the country where they are entitled to stay (or to enter).

The entry ban will not be ordered if the obligation to return is respected within the time limit of the order to leave the territory. The foreign national can organise this voluntary return independently and with their own means, or they can contact the federal agency Fedasil, which is responsible for organising assisted voluntary return.

If you wish to return, the Immigration Office can help you.

Contact the Voluntary Return Service of the IO:
Tel: 02/4889777
e-mail: return@ibz.fgov.be

The service will inform you about the travel arrangements, the steps to be taken and the necessary documents.

The IO may cover the cost of your air, rail or bus fare.

Assisted voluntary return is an essential part of the return policy pursued by Belgium and the Immigration Office. This return policy also provides for detention and forced return as a last resort if the foreign national refuses to return voluntarily.

Detention in a detention centre is one of the tools of forced return. The Immigration Office has chosen to register the detention centres for foreign nationals in irregular stay as voluntary return partners with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Back in 1999, an agreement recognising the detention centres as independent voluntary return partners was concluded. And in 2008, a similar agreement was concluded for the family units.

Return coaches from detention centres must, among other things, convince the persons detained pending their return to cooperate in returning and, if appropriate, to join the voluntary return programme. Assistance in the context of voluntary return does not automatically apply to all persons held in detention centres. In principle, this assistance is not provided to foreign nationals who have committed crimes.