In certain cases and subject to certain conditions, the Belgian authorities may detain foreign nationals at a detention centre.

Who can be detained?

  1. Foreign nationals without legal residency

The Immigration Office may detain foreign nationals who do not have legal residency.

  • Persons who were given a negative decision regarding their stay and who received an order to leave the territory (OQT/BGV).
  • Applicants for whom a different country is responsible for their procedure (Dublin procedure).
  • Foreign nationals who do not have permission to enter Belgium.

If you do not comply with the order to leave the territory, you may be forcibly removed from Belgium. As a result, the Immigration Office will transfer you to a detention centre or residential unit.

Detention during procedure


2. During the procedure

During the asylum procedure, a foreign national may be detained:

  • so that their identity or nationality can be ascertained,
  • in the event of a risk of absconding (you evade the Immigration Office).
  • if the applicant has already been detained for a scheduled forced return and makes a new application in the detention centre with the sole aim of delaying the forced return,
  • if the protection of national security or public order so requires.

For how long can a foreign national be detained?

  • The detention lasts 2 months.
  • These two months may be extended to 5 months, under certain conditions and if the forced return could not take place within two months.
  • If there is a danger to national security or public order, the period may be extended to 8 months.
  • For special procedures (Dublin, detention at the border, etc.) the duration of the detention is different.