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Processing time for a visa application

Processing time for a visa application


The processing time for a visa application depends on the purpose and duration of the intended stay.

In some cases, diplomatic and consular posts may issue the visa without consulting the Immigration Office. In other cases, the posts forward the visa application to the Immigration Office, which grants or refuses the visa.

Sending a visa application to the Immigration Office will inevitably increase the processing time of an application, especially when the file has to be sent to Brussels by diplomatic bag (i.e. an additional 2 to 4 weeks).

The processing time is also longer at certain times of the year (summer, school holidays, end of the year). Therefore, the Immigration Office advises persons who wish to travel during these periods to submit their file several weeks prior to the date of travel.

In order to avoid additional processing time, the Immigration Office also recommends that travellers make sure that their file is complete before submitting their visa application.

Finally, the Immigration Office advises to follow the processing of a visa application via the "How is my visa application progressing?" app rather than by phone or e-mail. The time required to respond is indeed time that cannot be spent on processing visa applications.

 

Short-stay visa (family visit, tourism, business, cultural or sporting event, etc.)
Visa for family reunification (D visa)
D visa for the purpose of family reunification with a foreigner holding an A, B, C, F or F+ card
D visa for the purpose of family reunification with a foreigner holding an H card
D visa for the purpose of family reunification with a foreigner holding a D card
D visa for the purpose of family reunification with a Belgian citizen
C visa in order to accompany or join a citizen of the European Union or a citizen of the European Economic Area or a Swiss or a Belgian who exercises his /her right to free movement
Visa for marriage or legal cohabitation (C visa)
Visa in order to study in Belgium (D visa)
Authorization to stay longer than 90 days in Belgium (D visa)

 

 

Short-stay visa (family visit, tourism, business, cultural or sporting event, etc.)

Belgian diplomatic and consular posts may issue a C visa (maximum 90 days) without consulting the Immigration Office if the conditions for entry into the Schengen territory have been satisfied. In most cases, this visa is issued within 15 days of the submission of the visa application [see article 23 of the Community Code on Visas].

If the conditions for entry are not met, or if the applicant is in a particular situation, the posts are required to forward the visa application to the Immigration Office. In this case, the processing time is longer, especially at certain times of the year (summer, school holidays, end of the year).

Currently, the processing time ranges from 30 to 85 days from the day the Immigration Office receives the visa application.

 

Visa for family reunification (D visa)

At the moment, the processing time for a visa application for family reunification by the Immigration Office is almost the same as the time period set by the law of December 15, 1980, which is detailed below.
 

D visa for the purpose of family reunification with a foreigner holding an A, B, C, F or F+ card

The Immigration Office must take a decision within 9 months of the date mentioned on the certificate of deposit issued by the post (Annex 15quinquies to the Royal Decree of October 8, 1980).
However, it may extend this examination period (3 months) twice. In this case, the post will notify the decision to the applicant and will inform him/her of the reason for the extended period.

If the Immigration Office does not take a decision before the legal deadline has expired (9, 12 or 15 months), it will have to allow the visa to be issued.

NB: If you have not received a certificate of deposit (incomplete file), the Immigration Office is not required to take a decision within this time limit.
 

D visa for the purpose of family reunification with a foreigner holding an H card

The Immigration Office must take a decision within 4 months of the date mentioned on the certificate of deposit issued by the post (Annex 15quinquies to the Royal Decree of October 8, 1980).

However, it may extend this examination period (3 months) twice. In this case, the post will notify the decision to the applicant and will inform him/her of the reason for the extended period.

If the Immigration Office does not take a decision before the legal deadline has expired (4 or 7 months), it will have to allow the visa to be issued.

NB: If you have not received a certificate of deposit (incomplete file), the Immigration Office is not required to take a decision within this time limit.
 

D visa for the purpose of family reunification with a foreigner holding a D card

The Immigration Office must take a decision within 4 months of the date mentioned on the certificate of deposit issued by the post (Annex 15quinquies to the Royal Decree of October 8, 1980).
However, it may extend this examination period (3 months) twice. In this case, the post will notify the decision to the applicant and will inform him/her of the reason for the extended period.
If the Immigration Office does not take a decision before the legal deadline has expired (4 or 7 months), it will have to allow the visa to be issued.

NB: If you have not received a certificate of deposit (incomplete file), the Immigration Office is not required to take a decision within this time limit.
 

D visa for the purpose of family reunification with a Belgian citizen

Belgian diplomatic and consular posts may issue a D visa without consulting the Immigration Office if the conditions for family reunification have been satisfied.

If the conditions are not met, the posts have to send the visa application to the Immigration Office.
The Immigration Office must take a decision within 6 months of the date on which the applicant submitted his / her file.

If the Immigration Office does not take a decision before the legal deadline has expired (6 months), it will have to allow the visa to be issued.

NB: This point does not apply when the Belgian citizen exercises his / her right to free movement.
 

C visa in order to accompany or join a citizen of the European Union or a citizen of the European Economic Area or a Swiss or a Belgian who exercises his /her right to free movement

The visa application of a family member of a person covered by Directive 2004/38/EC must be examined as soon as possible and under an accelerated procedure [article 5.2. of the Directive).

Belgian diplomatic and consular posts may issue a C visa without consulting the Immigration Office if the applicant establishes that he / she is covered by the Directive. In most cases, this visa is issued within 15 days of the submission of the visa application.

If the applicant fails to establish that he / she is covered by the Directive, the post office must forward the visa application to the Immigration Office. In this case, the processing time is longer (6 weeks from the reception of the visa application).

 

Visa for marriage or legal cohabitation (C visa) 

The law does not specify the time limit within which the Immigration Office must examine an application for a C visa in order to marry or declare legal cohabitation in Belgium.

The processing time will therefore depend on several factors: the time required to transmit the application by diplomatic bag, the content of the file submitted, the checks and enquiries to be carried out, the number of applications to be processed, the means available, etc.

Currently, the decision is usually taken 8 weeks after the application has been submitted.

 

Visa in order to study in Belgium (D visa)

In principle, Belgian diplomatic and consular posts may issue a D visa without consulting the Immigration Office, if the applicant fulfils the conditions set out in article 58 of the law of December 15, 1980. In most cases, this visa is issued within 30 days of the submission of the visa application.

If the conditions are not met, the posts have to send the visa application to the Immigration Office by diplomatic bag for decision. In this case, the processing time is longer (at least 3 months from the submission of the visa application).

NB: Due to a shortage of staff to process applications submitted during the summer, the Immigration Office may not be able to take its decision before the deadline by which the student has to be present in the institute of higher education. Therefore, the Immigration Office recommends that students whose file is complete submit their visa application in May.

 

Authorization to stay longer than 90 days in Belgium (D visa)

Belgian diplomatic and consular posts must forward applications for a residence permit to the Immigration Office.

The law does not set a time limit for the Immigration Office to examine these applications.

The processing time will therefore depend on several factors: the time required to transmit the application by diplomatic bag, the reason for the application for a residence permit, the complexity of the file, the checks and enquiries to be carried out, the number of applications to be processed, the means available, etc.

NB: Due to a shortage of staff to process the applications for residence permits, the Immigration Office needs several months to take a decision.