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BELGIUM: Mandatory Fee for Some Residence Requests

The Belgian federal government has introduced a mandatory "contribution to the administrative costs" (mostly referred to in the press as a "foreigners' tax") with regard to some requests for residence authorization by foreigners. The government said this measure is in response to the continuing increase in the number of such applications and the resulting workload.

The federal government agreed to this measure on November 27, 2014. A government bill, also including several other measures, was filed in the Belgian Parliament on November 28, 2014, and the law was approved on December 19, 2014. Before the fee can become effective, it must be implemented by means of a Royal Decree. The fee will probably amount to €215 for work permit holders and €160 for family members.

Most foreigners will need to pay the fixed amount to file an application for residence authorization, either in Belgium or abroad through a Belgian embassy or consulate. If the fee is not paid, the application will be considered inadmissible. The fee will be paid by, among others, work permit holders and their family members; students; some researchers; and Blue Card applicants.

Members of the European Economic Area, Swiss citizens and their family members, asylum seekers and recognized refugees, victims of human trafficking, and unaccompanied minors will be exempt from the new fee.

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