What is the role of UNHCR in Belgium?
As already mentioned on this page, in Belgium, the authorities have the responsibility to process international protection claims and decide whether a person is in need of protection and can therefore receive a residence permit in Belgium.
Therefore, UNHCR in Belgium does not:
- receive nor process applications for international protection
- receive nor process resettlement applications (to Belgium or other countries)
- process applications for voluntary return,
- provide accommodation, social or financial assistance,
- issue refugee documents (including civil/travel documents).
On the other pages of this help-page, you can find the relevant authority/organization that can assist you with the above requests.
The main activities of UNHCR in Belgium include:
Protection (monitoring, capacity-building and advocacy) activities:
- Advising international protection institutions and relevant actors (lawyers, social workers, NGOs, etc.) on refugee law and legislative processes related to international protection and statelessness – to ensure that they comply with international legal standards;
- Assisting national institutions and civil society in building capacity;
- Advocating for comprehensive measures so that persons of concern can effectively benefit from the rights guaranteed by international, regional and national frameworks;
- Raising awareness of the rights and obligations of refugees to stakeholders, national institutions, and civil society;
- Informing refugees, applicants of international protection and stateless persons about their rights and obligations, and assisting them;
- In exceptional cases, intervening in court proceedings that are precedent-setting for the international protection of refugees.
- Advising authorities and NGOs on ways in which refugees who have been granted international protection can be helped to integrate into Belgium.
- UNHCR in Belgium proactively engages with companies, foundations and philanthropists interested in contributing to innovative solutions in addressing the challenges faced by refugees.
- Organizing events and initiatives together with cultural, political, sports partners and other private-sector organizations to promote the work of UNHCR.
- Promoting visibility of UNHCR’s work and advocating for people of concern to UNHCR by sharing inspiring stories about refugees via its website unhcr.org and through social media: UNHCR Belgium’s Facebook, and Twitter (@UNHCRBelgique and @UNHCRBelgië).
- Maintaining relationships with local media and closely monitoring the national press.
How can you contact UNHCR in Belgium?
If you have questions about our work, want to report concerns, wish to receive general information on procedures in Belgium (which cannot be found on this help page) or think UNHCR may be able to assist in your or your family’s application for international protection or family reunification procedure in Belgium, you may reach us by any of the following means:
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +32 (0) 472 18 92 65, Tuesday from 9.30 to 12.30 and Thursday from 14.30 to 17.00.
Street & Mailing Adress: Avenue Louise 283, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Please note that due to the current COVID measures, visits on appointment are currently not possible.
Please note that if your request for assistance entails a sharing of personal information with other persons, a duly filled out and signed authorization form will need to be provided in order to ensure you have been informed of your rights and provided informed consent to the processing of your information. You can find the form here in English.
Everything you tell UNHCR will be treated confidentially. All the services provided by UNHCR are free of charge.