Residency application fees in Belgium now set in stone

Residency application fees in Belgium now set in stone
Long lines outside the Office for Foreigners © Belga

The Belgian government has closed a loophole allowing migrants in Belgium to challenge the total fees for applications in court. A new royal decree has now been enacted to set these costs in stone, according to the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Sammy Mahdi on 28 May.

When foreigners apply for residency in Belgium, they must pay an administrative fee intended to cover the costs of processing the application. Last year, €13.69 million in fees were collected by the government.

For several years, there has been uncertainty surrounding the exact amount that should be collected from foreigners. Two subsequent judgments from the Council of State found that royalties had not been correctly calculated by regional administrations.

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As a result of this ruling, a wave of foreigners came forth to challenge the fees that they had paid for their residency application in court. In 2015-2020, around €1.7 million was paid to claimants who could demonstrate that their fees had not been calculated correctly.

Now, following a detailed study which set guidelines for immigration office fees, these costs have finally been set in stone.

“By collecting arbitrary amounts that are not substantiated, we end up with endless discussions and appeal procedures. From now on, this will no longer be the case. We will no longer let ourselves be guided by our intuition, but work on the basis of facts, as it should be,” Mahdi told the Belga news agency.

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