Humanitarian or medical stay

Often, humanitarian stay permits and permits granted for medical reasons are put under the same umbrella. And yet, they are granted using two very different procedures. For humanitarian issues, either the Secretary of State for asylum and migration or the Immigration Office decides at their own discretion, whereas the process to authorize residence permits for medical reasons comes closer to a kind of international protection.

Article 9a: humanitarian stay

In principal, residence requests should be made from abroad. If the foreign nationals are already staying in Belgium illegally and returning to their home country is either impossible or at least very difficult for them, they can submit a request to Belgium for exceptional circumstances (illness, pending legal decisions…).
The legal grounds for this can be found in article 9a of the Immigration Law. In principal, humanitarian stay permits are authorized at the discretion of the Secretary of State for asylum and migration. In practice, it is the Immigration Office that decides whether a foreign national can stay in Belgium.

Article 9b: medical stay

Article 9b of the Immigration Law provides the legal grounds for granting residence for medical reasons. The law specifies a number of factors: the seriousness of the illness, the likelihood of receiving treatment in the foreigner’s own country, and access to this treatment. The Immigration Office issues medical stay permits depending on the details of the request.