Slide One

Administrative and Constitutional Law
Immigration Law
International Family Law

Slide One

Administrative and Constitutional Law
Immigration Law
International Family Law

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Altea Attorney

Unregistered durable relationship

Are you Belgian and in a relationship with a non-EU national? Do you also reside in another Member State of the European Union? If your relationship is of a “durable” nature, it is important to know that your partner can, if necessary, essentially apply for residency in connection with your relationship, without having to go through the marriage box or registration of any partnership.

This possibility derives from the European Directive 2004/38 on the Right of Citizens of the Union and their Family Members to Move and Reside Freely Within the Territory of the Member States. In Article 3.2 of this Directive, it is expected that Member States of the Union should facilitate the entry and residence of a partner with whom a Union citizen has a “duly attested” durable relationship. The latter reference, however, should not be confused with the assumption of a “registered” partnership.

With the aforementioned Directive having necessarily had to be transposed into the other countries of the European Union, if you are a common-law partner in a durable relationship with a foreign national of a third country and you reside in another country of the Union, you may wish to check with a specialist how this family reunification faculty is applied in practice in this other Member State. For example, you can find experts through this network:

In Belgium, the rule has been transposed to Article 40 bis of the Entry, Temporary and Permanent Residence, and Deportation Act of 15 December 1980, by indicating that family reunification was possible for a European citizen’s partner upon proof that they maintain a “duly established, durable and stable” partnering relationship.  It is specified that these conditions are fulfilled if the partners prove they have cohabited in Belgium or another country continuously for at least one year before the application or if they have a common child, or if the partners prove they have known each other for at least two years before the application and they provide proof that they have maintained regular contact by telephone, ordinary mail or e-mail, and that they met three times in the two years preceding the application and that these meetings total 45 days or more.

This opportunity is therefore offered in Belgium for partners of a European citizen other than Belgian, as well as for partners of Belgian nationals who have exercised their free movement within the territory of the Union and who return to Belgium with their common-law partner.

Altea can provide you with the services of a lawyer who is an expert in your situation.

Contact Céline Verbrouck or Catherine de Bouyalski, lawyers specialising in the rights of foreigners and private international family law, certified by the Order of Lawyers of the Brussels Bar.

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Altea brings together lawyers highly specialised in:

- Constitutional and administrative public law;

- Foreign nationals and private international family law.

The firm strives to be accessible.

Altea covers many intertwining areas but the firm’s lawyers all have an interest in defending human rights.


Boulevard Louis Schmidt 56, 1040 Etterbeek - Belgium

+32(0)2 894 45 70