18 years old, what now?

The day you turn 18 is an important moment in your life. You are no longer an unaccompanied minor and this will have consequences for your residence procedure and for your reception in Belgium.

Use the months before you turn 18 to think about your future. Your guardian and supervisors can help you to make good decisions about your situation.

What changes when you turn 18? That depends on your residence procedure:

  • You do not have legal residence. You can stay in Belgium until the age of 18 anyway. Even if you do not have a residence permit or if you have not applied for asylum. When you turn 18, that changes. You have to leave the reception centre and you can no longer stay in Belgium
  • You have not yet received a decision about your residence in Belgium. When you turn 18, you move to a reception centre for adults. This is often in the reception centre where you are already staying. You will now follow the procedure for adult asylum seekers. Now that you are 18, your guardian is no longer responsible for you.

  • You are recognised as a refugee or you have received subsidiary protection. If you are 18, and you have a residence permit, you are allowed to live alone. You get social assistance (a living wage) from the CPAS/OCMW. Your guardian is no longer responsible for you. Living alone is not so simple. If you have problems or questions, ask help from your supervisor.