Belgium is one of the most avant-garde among LGTB+ friendly countries, having ranked second in the European Union for LGBT+ rights protection by ILGA-Europe in 2021. In addition to the basic set of temporary protection support, which includes short-term accommodation, unlimited access to the labour market, access to the national healthcare system and education, Belgium provides one of the biggest financial supports for Ukrainians in the EU. On the another hand, this causes a huge influx of war refugees that challenge the capacity of the Belgian authorities (be ready to deal with delays in service provisions).
Under the EU Temporary Protection Directive, Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine, third-country nationals, or stateless persons enjoying protection in Ukraine and their family members may apply for temporary protection in Belgium.
Before any other procedure, you must go to the Registration Centre (Brussels Expo, Hall 8 - 1020 Brussels) to submit an in-person application for temporary protection, along with your identity papers.
To book an appointment: Go to the website www.register-ukraine.be
- In order to register, you must go through a Belgian IP address. This means you must use a SIM card from a Belgian operator, or you must be connected to Belgian wi-fi.
- Fill in the form and book a time slot in order to register yourself and your family.
- You will receive a QR code by email. Make sure to check your Spam folder.
- Go to your appointment at the registration centre with your QR code and your identity papers.
- Join the special queue for this purpose. Your QR code will be scanned at the entrance and exit of the registration centre.
The whole procedure will entail gathering your identity data, biometric data (fingerprints), and photocopying the documents in your possession (e.g. passport, marriage certificate, children's birth certificate, etc.)
Provided that the conditions for granting temporary protection are met, you will receive a provisional residence document (annex 15). You will also be asked to give permission for the registration of your personal data (telephone number and/or email address) in the National Register of Natural Persons.
Annex 15 costs 10 euros, an amount that you have to pay when applying for your residence permit. Annex 15 is valid for 45 days and gives you unlimited access to the labour market. Together with the issuance of annex 15, the administration will request a residence investigation from the local police to verify your actual presence at the address indicated.
If the verification of your address is positive, you will be given an appointment slot to go and apply for your residence card (card A) at the Administrative Centre of the municipality you reside. The residence card is biometric (fingerprint) and costs 25 euros. You can order it before your provisional document (annex 15) expires. You will be notified of the date from which you can collect Card A, and you will receive the activation codes for your card at your address. You can collect the card free of charge (without appointment) at the Population Service of the Administrative Centre of the City of Brussels (2nd floor).
The issuance of card A completes your residence procedure. Card A is valid until 4 March 2023.
The period of validity may be extended twice for 6 months, unless the Council of the European Union decides to end the temporary protection prior to that date.
To receive social assistance, you must first register to obtain Temporary Protection Status before going to the Public Centre for Social Welfare (CPAS/ OCMW) in the municipality where you live.
People benefitting from temporary protection can receive aid equivalent to the social integration allowance.
How much assistance you can receive each month is regulated by law, depending on the category applicable to you:
- Category 1: you live with one or more other people in a joint household. You may be entitled to receive the allowance for cohabitants (743.78 euro per person as of 1.05.2022 - rate changes monthly).
- Category 2: you live alone. You may be entitled to receive the allowance for single people (1115.67euro per person as of 1.05.2022 - rate changes monthly).
- Category 3: you support a family with at least one unmarried child who is a minor (1507.77 euro per person as of 1.05.2022 - rate changes monthly).
Earning social integration allowance does not prevent you from receiving additional income. Nevertheless, you should discuss the precise amount of additional income as well as any other requirements with your social worker at the Public Centre for Social Welfare (CPAS/OCMW).
In Belgium, children are also entitled to a financial contribution in order to support the families who raise them. For these cases, refer to the Growth Package in Flanders and Child Benefits in Wallonia and Brussels. Follow the link to get more information and to apply.
People benefitting from temporary protection are eligible to become members of a mutual health insurance fund (mutuelle) as soon as they are able to prove their residency status by means of a certificate of temporary protection, proof of registration or an Annex 15.
Here is a list of various mutuelles in Belgium.
While waiting for the right to join a mutual health insurance fund, urgent medical assistance is provided to those who have left Ukraine due to the war and who declared to the Public Centre for Social Welfare (CPAS/OCMW) that they are claiming temporary protection status. In this case, the Public Centre for Social Welfare will register you with a mutual insurance company. The charges, which are called “contributions”, can be covered by the Public Centre for Social Welfare.
For a general practitioner on call:
- In Flanders: call 1733 or visit http://www.mediwacht.be/mdwonline/publiek/wachtdiensten/Zoek.aspx
- In Wallonia: call 1733 or visit https://www.health.belgium.be/fr/sante/organisation-des-soins-de-sante/aide-medicale-urgente/services-de-garde
- In Brussels: call 1733 or visit Brusselse Wachtdienst (gbbw.be)
For a dentist on call:
- In Flanders: call 0903 39969 or visit www.tandarts.be/wachtdienst
- In Wallonia: visit https://www.dentistedegarde.be/
- In Brussels: call 02 426 10 26
For a pharmacist on call:
- In Flanders: call 0903 99 000 or visit https://www.apotheekvanwacht.be/
- In Wallonia: call 0903 99 000 or visit https://www.pharmaciedegarde.be/pharmacies-de-garde/
- In Brussels: call 0903 99 000 or visit https://www.pharmacie.be
In case of chronic diseases that require specialised care, you can consult a general practitioner, who will treat you or refer you to the appropriate specialised care, if necessary.
For the treatment of tuberculosis, you can also contact a specialised VRGT centre:
For HIV treatment, you can also go to a reference centre:
Vaccination. Protect yourself and your children against serious diseases (polio, tetanus, measles) and get vaccinated. The most important vaccines are free in Belgium.
You can find information about compulsory and recommended vaccinations for the whole family on the website https://www.vaccination-info.be/
The Belgian authorities recommend that you stay with family or friends in Belgium for the adaptation period where possible. If this is not an option, the authorities can guide you to housing offered by the various municipalities in Belgium. Fedasil can offer emergency reception for 1 or 2 nights. Please approach the registration centre at the Brussels Expo, Paleis 8, Heysel.
For further information, please visit the website of the Belgian authorities: I need a place to stay – Ukraine (info-ukraine.be)
Further information on accommodation and reception can be found here: General services and helpdesks – UNHCR Belgium
EL*C has created a lesbian hosting network of individuals who made their flats and spare rooms available to Ukrainian refugees. Please notice that EL*C can provide you with a temporary solution (up to a few months). Contact the relocation team at: +48 571 944 400 and email@example.com
Like all children in Belgium, children seeking asylum are subject to compulsory education. Children up to the age of 12 must attend primary schools close to their accommodation and, if possible, join regular classes. Usually, children who go to secondary school first follow a specific education for a while, in which they receive intensive language lessons and before switching to regular education.
Holders of a Ukrainian degree who wish to continue their studies in an educational institution in Belgium have to contact the educational institution where they wish to study directly.
Belgian Universities have developed special programs for Ukrainians who wish to pursue higher education in Belgium. For more information, please contact the university of your choice.
- Available only on the following 3 destinations: Brussels - Paris, Germany - Brussels, Germany - Paris
- One way only
- On a booking horizon of 2 days (sliding)
- On presentation of a Ukrainian passport, Ukrainian identity card, or Ukrainian residence permit
- In second class only
As a beneficiary of the temporary protection status, you get unlimited access to the labour market if you have the required residence permit in your possession (A card or Annex 15 issued pending the A card). The same access to the labour market is provided for certain family members of the beneficiary of temporary protection who are not themselves beneficiaries of this status, but whose stay is linked to that of the beneficiary concerned.
Who to contact?
- Actiris - Brussels regional employment agency
- ONEM (National Employment Office) - Brussels Branch
- Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue
The A-card is only valid for employees; if a Ukrainian citizen would like to start an independent business in Belgium, they would need to apply for a professional card under the standard procedure.
- ID (e.g., passport)
- Birth certificate
- Prenuptial agreement (if required)
- Proof of address (e.g., tenancy agreement, recent bills)
- Proof of nationality
- Proofs of civil status (e.g., a divorce or death certificate, if you have been married previously)
- Proof of residence – Belgian authorities will expect this to be a certificate, as described below. However, if your place of residence is not Belgium and does not issue these certificates, another proof will be required. At least one partner must produce proof of residence in Belgium. The local authority should be able to issue a ‘certificate of residence for marriage’ (bewijs van woonst voor huwelijksdoeleinden / certificat de domicile pour mariage). You will need to prove your residential status to this authority, e.g. by bringing your tenancy agreement.
The Federal Transgender Law of 25 June 2017 provides trans and intersex people the right to change their legal gender to male or female as well as to change their first name. The legal gender and first name can be changed on all identification documents, including the birth certificate. This applies to Belgian citizens and aliens enrolled in the population registers. For a person above the age of 18, the change of legal gender is subject to a written application and advice of the public prosecutor (to prevent fraud). The procedure to change the legal gender takes three to six months. For a person aged 16-17, the change of legal gender is subject to parental consent and a psychological assessment, confirming that their decision was made freely. A person aged 12-16 can only change their first name but not their legal gender. The change of name is subject to parental consent or, in case of disagreement, via an ad hoc guardian appointed by the family court. A written application is required. For a person above the age of 18, the change of the first name is subject to a written application and a number of documents including a birth certificate, proof of residence, and a criminal record extract. The procedure to change the first name takes six months to one year.
The federal authorities have launched an information website about the situation in Ukraine: www.info-ukraine.be.
LGBTI organisations focussing on migrant/refugees
WHY ME Help (Brussels)
Provides the following services to LGBT+ asylum seekers:
- Legal aid;
- Medical aid;
- Help to find lodgings in case of emergency or illness;
- Cultural and educational activities.
Executive office: 42 Rue Marche au Charbon, 1000 Brussels
Tel : +32 466 16 40 38, +33 782 21 49 33
PRISME - LGBT+ migration issues (Wallonia)
5 rue Pierreuse 4000 Liège
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org +32 4 222 17 33
Het Roze Huis (Flandres) is the organisation to contact for any questions about sexual and gender diversity. The organisation is also the point of contact for local authorities, organisations, and the press with questions about LGBT+ subjects.
ADDRESS Draakplaats 1 en 2
TEL +32(0)3 288 00 84
General LGBTI organisations
Rainbow House Bruxelles is the umbrella LGBTI organization for the Brussels Region (find the list of their members here)
42 Rue Marche au Charbon, 1000 Brussels – Belgium
çavaria vzw is the umbrella LGBTI organisation for the Flanders Region (find the list of their members here)
Kammerstraat 22, 9000 Gent
Contact: email@example.com +32 (0)9 223 69 29
Maison Arc-en-ciel is the umbrella LGBTI organisation for the Wallonia Region (find the list of their members here)
General civil society organisations
Free vet care for pets of Ukrainian refugees is available at the Prince Laurent Foundation on presentation of a temporary protection certificate or A card valid for 1 year. Contact one of 6 veterinary practices in Belgium.
Brussels. Rue des Renalds 1C, 1000 Brussels
Mon - Fri, 10 AM - 12 PM
Ghent. Vogelenzangpark 9, 9000 Ghent
Mon - Fri, 10 AM - 12 PM
Hasselt. Jukstraat 33, 3500 Hasselt
Tue and Thu, 10 AM - 12 PM
Hornu. Av. de la Corderie 85, 7304 Hornu
Tue, Wed and Thu, 10 AM - 12 PM
Liege. Rue Saint-Laurent 79, 4000 Liege
Mon - Fri, 9 AM - 11 AM
Charleroi. Rue Fransois Dewiest 96, 6040 Jumet
Mon and Fri, 10 AM - 12 PM