Assistance during the family reunification process

Caritas International Belgium Assistance during the family reunification process

Isabel Corthier

Isabel Corthier



Assistance during the family reunification process



Target audience:

Those living legally in Belgium: Belgian or EU citizens or nationals from outside of the EU. For those with recognized refugee status or subsidiary protection.


CAP Brabantia, Caritas International social services

Objective: To reunite separated families

To facilitate separated families’ reunification by providing them with support at each of the complicated steps of the family reunification process.

Context: A legal framework, and complicated circumstances

Family reunification is a right established in the Law of 15 December 1980 on the access to the territory, stay, establishment and return of foreigners, in the royal decree of 8 October 1981, and in Council Directive 2003/86/EC of 22 September 2003 on the right to family reunification.

Through this process, those eligible may bring the following people to Belgium:

  • Children who are minors
  • Spouse or registered partner
  • Handicapped adult children
  • Parent(s) (only in cases where the asylum seeker is an unaccompanied minor refugees)

The conditions for family reunification are complex and vary case by case. This is why, in addition to providing personal support, Caritas also organizes collective information sessions for those wishing to file a family reunification request.

Actions: Information session and individual support

Given the increase in demand for information, Caritas organizes collective information sessions for those wishing to file a family reunification application. The sessions are planned according to applicants’ legal status.

Those needing more expansive assistance are also supported by our services and are assisted individually. We offer administrative assistance, especially for filling out online visa applications (for those who are illiterate, lack computer skills, don’t know the language, etc.). If necessary in the context of the case, we also contact the various authorities responsible, such as embassies and immigration offices.

After family members arrive in Belgium, Caritas remains with the family, if needed. A frequent problem that arises is registration at the municipality. The civil status documents recognized by the immigration office are not always recognized by municipalities. In such cases, Caritas supports applicants in the search for solutions.

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