Family reunification how long to get Orange card?


I am a German national living in Germany and my (soon-to-be) wife is a Moroccan national living in France. She has a French residence permit valid for the next 4 years. I have a company in Belgium and am planning to relocate to Brussels very soon. I want my wife to join me to Brussels, but it seems like a difficult and lengthy process if trying to do it as e.g. a highly skilled worker. Family reunification seems therefore the most promising way for her to migrate to Belgium. I have a couple of questions regarding this process:

My wife is currently employed in France. If she wants to come to Belgium via family reunification, she would need to quit her job in France, come to Belgium, and request an Appendix 19ter + Orange card.

1. Does she need to apply for a family reunification visa or does her valid French residence permit (and freedom of travel in the Schengen zone) suffice to come to Belgium and make the application?

2. How long does it take from presenting yourself to the municipality to receiving the work permit (Appendix 19ter + Orange card)? This is crucial to know how long my wife would have to live in Belgium without being able to work.

3. Is there any way of starting the process while still living/working in France to avoid a period of unemployment?

Thank you very much in advance for your answers!

Hello, I had a similar process so i can share my experience.

1- I was also living in France and I came here with my French residence permit to join my EU citizen partner. When you're already in EU with a valid residence permit, there is no need to get a visa if you're joining a family member who's an EU citizen. If she wanted to come alone to work, in that case she would need to ask a visa from the Belgian embassy in Paris. But in this case, as she is joining her husband, there is no need of visa.

2- That really depends on the commune that you will live. In my case (commune Forest) it took me aprox. 3 months to receive the orange card which is a bit annoying as you can only work with that until you recieve your F card. However, in other communes it might be a bit faster. Annexe 19ter, they give directly during your first appointment.

3- This i am not pretty sure as you have to both settle in the country to do the process of family reunification.

I hope it helps. Good luck :)

@Clouderzzz thank you very much for your answer, thats super helpful. We are planning to move to Brussels, I really hope that it will be less than 3 months for the Orange card there because that is a full quarter during which she will not be able to work and earn money. I will try to get in contact with the commune there to gather more info.

Hi Shunam,

Did you ever get an answer to this?

I am in the exact same situation. British citizen with permanent residency in the Netherlands, in a civil partnership with a Dutchman. I would like to move to Brussels because I have been offered work there. My partner, who we think can sufficiently prove finances/stable income to move to another EU country, says he is willing to move to Brussels with me so I can exercise spousal rights under EU law.

However, I just need to know if I can start working as soon as I get my Appendix 19ter or if I can only start working as soon as I get my orange card, which seems like it may be months....

Would be so grateful to hear if you made any progress with your situation!


@katjane96 Hi, you can only start to work one you get your orange card. Annexe 19ter is a proof of your family reunification application. Usually it takes 2-3 months to get your orange card. On your orange card, it is mentioned that you have access to work. Hope it helps

@Clouderzzz Thanks for the reply! Oh gosh. And i can imagine getting the orange card takes a while?

@katjane96 Yes indeed! First the police has to check if you're really living in the appartement/house that you declared as your adress. Then, the commune issues the orange card. The whole process could take up to 3 months. A lot depends where you live actually. If it's a big city such as Brussels or Antwerp, it could take easily 3 months. In my case it took 3 months and i heard similar things from people living in big cities. But if its a small commune, then i suppose that it could take a little less.