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Belgian residence termination for an EU citizen

Question

Does anybody know what to do in my situation? I have been living in Belgium working continuously for 12 years and have an E card (I am a UK citizen). Today I tried to apply for Belgian nationality and got a response that my E card (residence) was actually terminated in October last year because some "agents" rang my doorbell several times and nobody answered! I have always lived in my apartment but I leave for work around 6:30 - 7:00. There was no note, no letter, nothing. I am in a state of a total shock. What shall I do in this situation?

Answer
katie Jul 6, 2017 16:56 Marked as helpful by the topicstarter

You say you have been working continuously for 12 years. Has this been a 'normal' job, paying tax? Or have you been working at one of the institutions where you do not pay tax? If you have not been paying tax, you need help. If you search this site a few days ago, there is information about someone who went to court in Leuven and won the right to stay.
I presume you live in one of the communes bordering brussels? if not I would go and chat to the local town hall, but in tervuren, zaventem that is probably a waste of time. You do have the right to stay, but I hope you get advice on this site on how to prove it.

Answer
becasse Jul 6, 2017 17:06 Marked as helpful by the topicstarter

Firstly, is your card an E card or an E+ card? As the national of another EU state living and working in Belgium for more than 5 years, it should now be an E+ card giving you the right to indefinite residence.

Secondly, what expiry date is shown on your card. If the card has already expired and you did nothing to renew it, I am afraid that you were the source of your problems. The card HAS to be renewed BEFORE the end of each 5-year period of validity.

Answer
vked Jul 6, 2017 17:08

Yes, sure I work in a Belgian consultancy firm and then - without any break in my employment - for a major ICT industry company. So the jobs are perfectly "normal" and I have been paying all taxes. Moreover, the Tax Authority regularly sends me registered letters to my address and I always pick them up. I live in Brussels (1000). I am planning to involve an immigration lawyer and/or apply to the ombudsment of my Commune (1000 Bxl). I also think that I have the full right to stay and apply for BE nationality since I have not breached ANY law. Thank you! I am just not sure where to start as I am in a state of a shock (my hands are shaking while I am writing this).

Answer
vked Jul 6, 2017 17:09

No! The expiry date on the card itself (it is an E card, not E+) is December 2019!

Answer
vked Jul 6, 2017 17:11

When I went to the commune to renew my E-card in 2014, they said that they would give the the E-card for now and then send me a letter inviting me to receive an E+ card. I never received any such letter.

Answer
vked Jul 6, 2017 17:12

And the issue is not even about my right to stay, it is about my uninterrupted stay in order to be able to apply for BE nationality. I have all the rights to do so (I think).

Answer
vked Jul 6, 2017 17:14

And it is totally ridiculous to terminate one's residence based on the fact that somebody rang my doorbell a couple of times and nobody answered! I work all day, for heaven's sake!

Answer
J Jul 6, 2017 18:36 Marked as helpful by the topicstarter

This definately an administrative cock-up. You had no reason to renew your ID card, as it doesn't expire for another 2 years.

The "agent" they are talking about is an "agent de police" - a police man.

Talk to the commune about putting it right. If that doesn't work, go to see the échevin responsible and demand that the mess gets sorted out. In Brussels, that would be Alain Courtois, échevin for état Civil.
https://www.bruxelles.be/alain-courtois

Answer
vked Jul 6, 2017 20:46

thank you very much for your advice!

Answer
becasse Jul 6, 2017 21:12 Marked as helpful by the topicstarter

A final question to answer, is there any reason why the problem was triggered last year. In particular, did you move home? If you did, it would explain why the agent de quartier (police) was trying, unsuccessfully, to track you down last October. Did you have your name on the door bell and/or letter box? If you didn't, and if someone else was still registered at that address (perhaps having left Belgium and failed to return the ID card), and the agent failed to find you in after several attempts, it would at least explain why they thought that you weren't actually living at that address and deregistered you. The police normally leave a "calling card" asking you to go to see them if they don't find you in, but, if your name was on neither bell nor letter box they may have been wary, we don't know.

Understanding why the problem may have occurred is often the key to having it put right. When you go to see anyone at the commune about it, make sure that you have a copy of your rental lease with you (and make sure that it has been registered as is required by law) as that will prove that you were at least paying for the accommodation during the relevant period.

You do need to get this sorted quickly because it isn't just your application for citizenship that might be affected. You could find your bank accounts frozen, for example. Obviously start with a relevant employee of the commune's population service, but if you sense that that isn't going to work or work quickly, do raise it with the appropriate échevin, normally they hold weekly clinics for just such matters. If you have dealings with a particular notaire, it might be worth having a word with him or her but I wouldn't otherwise have recourse to "lawyers".

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