Are you a non-Belgian in Ghent who is going abroad? Read here what you have to do before you leave Belgium.
Moving abroad permanently
You must report your departure to the municipality. We will register the end of your stay in the foreigners' register.
Report your permanent departure from Belgium
Fill out the e-form and choose the option 'Declaration of permanent departure'.To the e-form
Make your declaration only after you have left Belgium. After your declaration, you will receive a proof of departure by e-mail (model 8 - Proof of removal from the national register). We will cancel your residence permit. Your file in Belgium is then closed.
If you need the 'model 8 - Proof of removal from the national register' before your departure from Belgium, you can also exceptionally receive it at the counter. Make an appointment for this at Migration or a service centre. We will then retain your residence card. You will receive appendix 37 and a copy of your residence card.
Why do you have to report your departure?
- For Dutch nationals, because Dutch municipalities often ask for this proof to be re-registered in a Dutch municipality
- Sometimes this model 8 - Proof of removal from national register is needed to arrange customs formalities for the export of goods on departure at the airport
Copy of residence card important for non-Schengen
It is best to return the residence card only after having dealt with all matters for which the card is needed (e.g. bank transactions).
This return is especially important for non-Schengen nationals. They have to be able to prove at the external borders of the Schengen area during controls that they were legally residing in Belgium.
Model 8 and Annex 37 are insufficient proof of legal residence, which means you risk a fine and an alert for illegal residence. For this reason, you should in principle be able to present a copy of the residence permit along with the model 8 and annex 37.
Less than 3 months abroad
If you are going abroad for less than 3 months, you do not have to inform the local authorities of your departure and return.
If the validity of the residence document expires before the expected return date, an early renewal can be applied for (provided that all residence requirements are met at that time). Once the validity of the residence card has expired, you run the risk of being denied re-entry to Belgium if you are not an EU/EEC citizen.
More than 3 months and up to 1 year abroad
You must report your absence to the municipality before departure.
Email email@example.com with the subject line 'TEMPORARY DEPARTURE' - your full name and your national register number.
What information do we need?
- Indicate whether you will live at your address again after your temporary departure.
- The date of your departure.
- The date of your return.
- Your address abroad.
What documents do you attach to your email?
- A copy of your residence card.
- Proof showing the date of your departure, e.g. a bus, plane or train ticket.
Can't manage to e-mail?
- Go without appointment to the Stadskantoor. Take a ticket 'Ik heb geen afspraak'. A staff member refers you to Migration. or or .
- Or make an appointment at Dienstencentrum Gentbrugge, Dienstencentrum Nieuw-Gent, Dienstencenrum Sint-Amandsberg, Dienstencentrum Wondelgem or Wijkkantoor Rabot.
To make an appointment, call Migration at 09 266 71 50
You will receive proof of the declaration (annex 18 - Attestation of departure) and you will keep your residence card.
Check the validity of your residence document
If the validity of the residence document expires before the expected return date, an early renewal can be applied for (provided that all residence requirements are met at that time).
Once the validity of the residence card has expired, you run the risk of being denied re-entry to Belgium if you are not an EU/EEC citizen or a Swiss national.
Report your departure and avoid losing your right of residence
If you do not report the temporary absence and you cannot be found at your main place of residence during an inspection, the municipality must remove you from the aliens register.
The deletion makes the residence card invalid and you can lose the right of residence.
After cancellation, you must request a re-registration and you must provide proof that you have not stayed abroad for too long.
The examination of this application may take some time. You will therefore not immediately receive a new residence card.
How do you report a departure?
Via the e-form: choose 'Final departure declaration'.
- Put the residence card under closed cover in the return mail box of the AC Zuid or send it by post (the address details can be found in the e-form).
- You will receive an email to confirm receipt of your declaration (Model 8 - Certificate of deregistration from the national register) and a proof that you have returned the residence card (annex 37).
The certificate of deregistration is important in certain situations:
- If you are Dutch and you want to re-register with a Dutch municipality, there is a good chance you will be asked to present Model 8 - Certificate of deregistration from the national register.
- You may also need Model 8 - Certificate of deregistration from the national register to complete certain customs formalities for the export of goods at the airport upon departure.
Copy of residence card important for non-Schengen
It is best to return the residence card only after all matters for which the card is required (for example bank transactions) have been completed.
This refund is especially important for non-Schengen nationals. At the external borders of the Schengen area, they must be able to prove that they resided legally in Belgium.
Model 8 and annex 37 are insufficient proof of legal residence, so that you risk a fine and an alert for illegal residence. For that reason, you must in principle be able to submit a copy of the residence permit together with model 8 and annex 37.