The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu

Cohabitation Process


I would like a detailed help/advice with the co-habitation process. I heard many different stories.
What is the first step? Do I go to the commune, what document do I need to ask for?
I am an Australian and my boyfriend is Australian/Irish. We are both registered and currently living in Brussels, I'm on a working holiday visa. We Have lived together in Brussels for one year and one previously in Salzburg and 6 months in Australia. We have plenty of evidence to "prove" our relationship, air flights together, accommodation, photos, testimonies from friends and family etc.

Thank you very much for your help.


Hi there,

Firstly, you need to go to the commune you are both registered in and ask for the documents you need for this procedure. They will give you a list of papers and explain what documents you need to bring, what needs to be legalized, translated and so on. There can be some numerous papers, depending on the commune. Mine is Ixelles and they were pretty messy with what they needed. I've come several times for clarifications and got several controversial answers, I guess, it's a part of "initiation" to get to live in Belgium :)

For example, you will need your birth certificate original, the proof of not being married or proof of divorce either from the last commune or state you lived before (meaning, were registered in) or just your embassy in Belgium, that really depends on how picky the commune you currently live is.

After you hand all these papers you've collected to the commune office, they will send a policeman to your apartment to prove that you actually live with your boyfriend at the indicated address (could be a couple of weeks or months, that depends on the commune, again). It would be great to have all the papers for cohabitation ready by the time the policeman comes to your place.

The policeman will leave you a paper with the time and date of when to come to send the Bureau des etrangers for the appointment, and the list of socuments you need to bring. So as soon as the policeman visited you, go to the commune with this paper and ask them to get your cohabitation paper ready.

I believe in any bureau des etrangers you can postpone your appointment if needed. On the appointment day, bring all the stuff they listed, together with everything that can prove your relationship (as you said, pictures, tickets, letters, prints of facebook chat, letters from friends that can testimony your relationship is real, you name it. Just remember to put in copies of these proofs because you will never get back those pictures and letters).

And if everything is fine, bureau des etrangers gets you the provisional paper called temporary permit type A that you can live and work with in Belgium, but cannot travel abroad unless you have a valid visa and/or your Australian passport allows you to travel within EU. You will need to wait for your plastic card for around 6 months.

If the bureau calls you before this temporary document is expired, then the Ministry approved your request and you are getting the card. If not, just go there the next days the document is expired.

Again, this was my experience with Ixelles, one of the most populated communes in Brussels especially with foreigners. Smaller communes do it faster, of course.

Also, they told me at Bureau des etrangers that before they used to be the only office in charge of these procedures with the foreigners, without involving the maison communale, so I'm not sure if this division happened for all the Brussels' communes.

Summarizing, the very first step for you will be going to maison communale and ask them many-many questions about what documents you need, the timing, the costs, the entire procedure.

Good luck with that! It is tough and annoying but it's manageable :)

Nov 29, 2017 10:49

What is the first step? Do I go to the commune, what Rush essay writing do I need to ask for? I am an Australian and my boyfriend is Australian/Irish.

Jan 3, 2018 11:20