The Immigration Office is the government body responsible for registering applications for international protection. The Immigration Office also investigates whether Belgium is responsible for processing the application for international protection. Usually during a stay in the arrival centre and sometimes after leaving, you will receive an appointment at the Immigration Office (IBZ). It is located at Boulevard Pacheco 44, 1000 Brussels (simply called Pacheco) and opens from 08:30 to 16:00. Applicants will receive a document that proves that they have requested asylum (Annex 26).
The Immigration Office determines on your Annex 26, the language (French or Dutch) in which the asylum procedure will proceed. The caseworker and the other asylum institutions will speak to you, also the letters written to you, any appeal from your side against a negative decision will be in this language.
The first short interview date will be written on you Annex 26 at the first appointment at Immigration Office. The date can be postponed several times. The Immigration Office may invite you sometimes several times to ask you questions. Immediately after registration of your asylum application, the Immigration Office caseworker will ask you to complete a questionnaire. There will be a short interview at the Immigration office, during which you are assisted by an interpreter so you understand the questions and can respond. You will be asked questions around detailing your identity, your family situation, your former places of residence, where you are currently staying in Belgium and your journey to Belgium from the origin country. Also, the reasons for requesting international protection may be asked briefly. You must provide documents (evidence) to prove your answers on your identity, nationality, travel route, stays in other countries and the reasons for which you are requesting asylum. At this point, you can submit additional documents which prove you are entitled to protection. If you have none of these documents, you can still apply for international protection. It is important not to throw away any personal documentation, as this could negatively impact your application. At the end, the official of the Immigration Office re-reads the document and asks you to sign it to show your agreement. You receive a copy of the document.
The interview with the Immigration Office does not last long (maximum 1.5 hours) to explain the reasons why you are applying for international protection in Belgium. It is important that you answer to the questions properly. The Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) bases its preparations for the hearing on the details that you enter in this questionnaire.
Lawyers are not allowed to attend the interview at IBZ. At the end of interview, you have right to choose a man or a woman as interviewer and interpreter in upcoming interview at the CGRS.
The Immigration Office (IBZ) will check whether Belgium is responsible for processing your application for international protection. If Belgium is responsible, the Immigration Office forwards your case to the CGRS.
Tips for LGBTQIA+ individuals:
At the Immigration Office you will fill in a questionnaire about special procedural needs. This concerns the reasons for which you may have difficulties to follow the asylum procedure. If necessary, the CGRS will take appropriate support measures.
For example, you may have physical problems, as a result of which it is hard for you to climb stairs. In that case, the interview will take place on the ground floor. If you have psychological problems, several interviews may be planned or additional breaks may be included. If, because of problems you had in your country, you feel more comfortable to be interviewed by a man or a woman, the CGRS will see to it that a male or female interpreter and protection officer will interview you.
The Dublin Regulation is an agreement between the EU countries, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Each asylum seeker shall only have his or her application considered in one of the countries participating in the cooperation.
The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Taking fingerprints enables the Immigration Office to check whether you have sought asylum and/or have travelled to Belgium via any other European Union country. If this is the case, the Immigration Office can ask this EU country to take over your application for asylum. This is organised according to the so-called Dublin Regulation. If another European country is responsible, Belgium can transfer the applicant for international protection to this Member State. If the other European country is responsible for your application, the IO will ask that country to process your application.
If this is not the first application for international protection, the Office looks at whether the foreigner is providing any new and relevant elements to support the new application (examination of multiple applications). At this stage, the applicant only makes a short statement and completes a standard questionnaire.
If you already have a protection status in another European country, Belgium assumes you are safe in that country. In that case, Belgium will only examine why you cannot return to that country.
Tips for LGBTQI+ individuals: