Unaccompanied minor

If you apply for asylum as a minor (under 18 years) and your parent(s) or legal guardian are not in Belgium, you will follow the procedure for unaccompanied minors. This procedure is identical to the one for adults, but with some peculiarities.

Start of the asylum procedure
Applying for asylum

At the start of the asylum procedure:

  • you fill in a description form with your identity data at the Immigration Office (IO). You show your identity documents and present any other relevant documents about the reasons why you fled your country;
  • an age assessment may be carried out;
  • the Guardianship Service assigns a guardian if your minority is confirmed.

The registration process is the same as for adults. 

During the first interview at the IO (DVZ/OE), your guardian’s presence is required. Furthermore, the first interview is identical to the one for adults. 

First interview

Route description

The IO (DVZ/OE)  invites you to an interview at the following address: Boulevard Pacheco 44, 1000 Brussels.

Purpose of the first interview

During this interview, the IO (DVZ/OE) will ask you questions about your identity, your family situation, your former places of residence, your journey to Belgium and the reasons for your asylum application. Be sure to present all your original identity documents and any other documents regarding the reasons why you have fled your country. During this interview, mention all the reasons leading to your flight.
This first interview will serve as a basis for your interview at the CGRS, during which your reasons for applying for asylum will be discussed in detail.

The second interview
Preparation of the second interview

Together with your guardian and/or lawyer, you prepare yourself for the interview at the CGRS. You go over all the reasons why you fled your country and why you cannot or do not want to return. With your guardian’s help, you gather documents about your identity, your family and the reasons for your flight.

Persons present during the interview

Your guardian must be present at your interview.

If you are under 15 years, the interview takes place in an adapted room. You are free to tell your story, but you can also explain things with a drawing or with Duplo® dolls.

Your guardian supports you during the interview and can make remarks. He/she makes sure that you are free to tell all the reasons for your flight.
The protection officer who conducts the interview has received a specific training to interview children. 
You can also be assisted by a lawyer. During the interview, the lawyer sees to it that everything happens correctly and he is only allowed to make remarks at the end.

Content of the interview

During the interview, it is important that you:

  • tell what really happened to you;
  • give honest information about your relatives and their whereabouts;
  • tell your own story, not what you have heard from others or what someone suggested to you.

The interview takes on average three to four hours, but can be longer or shorter. A break is planned after about one and a half hours. You can always ask for a break yourself if you need one. 

Documents and evidence

It is important that you present original documents that prove who you are and the problems you faced in your country. Important documents are for example your passport or identity card. If you do not have any identity documents, you can also submit other documents that can prove your identity, such as school certificates, identity documents of your parents or a military booklet. Gather also documents that can prove why you cannot or do not want to return to your country, for example legal documents.

Do everything possible to have original documents sent to you and do not keep back any documents.

Submit documents that deal with your personal situation. You do not need to gather any documents that contain general information about your country. You can be sure that the CGRS is aware of the situation in your country.

If you do not have any documents, explain the reasons for this during the interview. Do not have any documents forged or do not have any false documents made because this may have a negative influence on the assessment of your asylum application.

The CGRS will safely keep the documents you present.  You can ask them back at any time during the procedure.


Waiting time

After the interview, you will return to the reception centre or your place of residence. Meanwhile, the protection officer will analyse all the information necessary for a decision. The waiting time for a decision varies. The CGRS aims at taking a decision within two months after the interview, unless further analysis is necessary. An applicant from your country who arrived later than you in Belgium may nevertheless get a decision earlier. This is not a reason to worry. Every application for asylum is different and is examined individually. The CGRS is aware that a long waiting time is a cause of uncertainty and stress. It does everything to take a decision as quickly as possible.

How does the CGRS take a decision?

After your second interview, the CGRS examines your application. The CGRS takes into account:

  • your age, background, level of education, gender and maturity;
  • the fact that as a minor, you do not experience everything in the same way as an adult.

First, the CGRS assesses the credibility of your declarations and documents:

  • Is the information you gave during your interview correct?
  • Are the documents real?
  • Are your declarations credible, whether about your origin or about the problems you faced.

If your declarations and documents are credible, the CGRS will check whether your application falls under the Geneva Refugee Convention, that is to say whether you fear persecution because of your nationality, ethnic origin, religion, political opinions or because you are a member of a particular social group.

If you cannot be granted refugee status, the CGRS will examine if you may receive subsidiary protection. This will be the case when you run a risk of serious harm in your country because of death penalty or execution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or indiscriminate violence because of war.

If you cannot be granted refugee status or subsidiary protection status, the CGRS will take a decision of refusal.

If you do not agree with the decision of the CGRS, you can bring an appeal to the Council for Alien Law Litigation (RvV/CCE).