Legal status and visa requirements for those who were forced to leave Ukraine
General information and legal support within Belgium
- Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports can enter and stay for 90 days in Belgium without a visa, according to the Association Agreement concluded between the European Union and Ukraine in 2017. These 90 days may be extended up to a maximum of 180 days if the situation in Ukraine does not allow for a safe return at the end of the 90 days.
- Ukrainian citizens who do not hold a biometric passport, but who have received a visa for Belgium, can also obtain an extension of their authorized stay up to a maximum of 180 days.
- Ukrainian citizens are advised to go immediately to the municipal administration of their place of residence in Belgium to declare their arrival and/or to request the authorisation to extend their stay in Belgium.
- For Ukrainian citizens who have left Ukraine, and are already in the Schengen area, it is possible to apply for a residence permit directly at the municipal administration of their place of residence in Belgium. The conditions for granting this residence permit (studies, work, family reunion) are maintained, but if the applicant cannot present the usual official documents, the Immigration Office will look for alternatives for him/her.
- Ukrainian citizens who have left Ukraine and are in a country that is not part of the Schengen area can contact the Belgian embassy or consulate responsible for that country.
- Ukrainian citizens who are legally residing in Belgium for a limited period and no longer meet the requirements for renewal of their residence card (card A) can obtain an extension of their authorized stay (end date of stay + 90 days), with a possibility of extension up to a maximum of 180 days.
Refugee status/asylum seeker status/temporary protection status
- Refugees from Ukraine do not have to go through an asylum procedure. Those who were permanently residing in Ukraine and left the country to escape war, from 24 February 2022 onwards, may be entitled to temporary protection in any EU country. Temporary protection will last for at least one year, this may be extended depending on the situation in Ukraine. Rights under the Temporary Protection Directive include a residence permit, access to the labour market and housing, medical assistance, and access to education for children. Anyone residing legally in the EU also has a right to open a basic bank account.
- Stateless persons, and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine, and their family members, who benefitted from international protection of equivalent national protection in Ukraine, whose primary residence was in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 are also entitled to temporary protection status.
- Each person wishing to benefit from temporary protection must present themselves in person at the registration centre in possession of the documents proving that he belongs to the above-mentioned categories. For this, the person should sign up online for an appointment at the Registration Centre via www.register-ukraine.be. To register, he/she must go through a Belgian IP address. This means using a SIM card from a Belgian operator or connecting to a Belgian wi-fi.
- For registration, the identity data should be submitted (copy of the documents that show that the person belongs to one of the categories entitled to temporary protection in Belgium) and biometric data (fingerprints)
- Providing that the conditions for granting temporary protection are met, a certificate will be issued. This certificate must be presented to the municipality at the place of residence. The municipality will give the holder of the certificate a residence permit issued to nationals of third countries admitted or authorized for temporary stay for more than 3 months (“Temporary A” card)
- The A card is valid for 1 year from the date of issue of temporary protection. The period of validity may be extended twice for 6 months unless the Council of the European Union decides to end the temporary protection temporary protection prior to that date.
- Persons authorized to stay as beneficiaries of temporary protection are authorized to work on the condition that they are in possession of their residence permit (above-mentioned A card or the Annex 15 while waiting for the Carte A to be issued).
Learn more about staying in Belgium:
>> Interpretation services (local NGOs, volunteers, reception centres)
Access to healthcare services
In general, there are some co-payments through “ticket moderator” and the prices are determined by categories of services
More info: hellosafe.be
Where can the Ukrainians who were forced to leave Ukraine go for the following healthcare services?
After obtaining the documents on the temporary protection status the person should apply for the temporary protection certificate via info-ukraine.be
Registering with a sickness fund is also necessary for access to care www.riziv.fgov.be
The general information on medical care for Ukrainian refugees is available on the Government website: info-ukraine.be
Acute treatment through hospitals, or through 24 hours emergency services: info-ukraine.be
For a general practitioner on call:
For a dentist on call:
For a pharmacist on call:
The Ukrainians who were forced to leave Ukraine can get such treatment after consultation from a general practitioner, who will treat the person or refer them to the appropriate specialized care, if necessary.
Treatment for the third country nationals who are also fleeing Ukraine
If the third country nationals have a temporary protection status, they have access to the healthcare services mentioned above.
For third country nationals with no temporary protection status, access to medical care depends on residence status: application for international protection or not. Third country nationals who fled Ukraine and who submitted an application for international protection in Belgium have access to medical care (procedure depending on where they are staying: reception centre or not).
People without a legal stay permit in Belgium are entitled to Urgent Medical Aid if they are without resources and are staying illegally in Belgium.
Protection against serious diseases (polio, tetanus, measles) via vaccination are provided in Belgium. The most important vaccines are free in Belgium, including vaccines for SARS and CoV 2
There a several regional and federal Public Service Interpretation Agencies that can provide interpretation for Ukrainians in either Russian or Ukrainian.
- Federal: Intercult provides free intercultural mediation in Russian and Ukrainian for medical professionals
- Flanders: Agentschap Integratie en Inburgering provides certified interpretation in Russian and crisis-interpretation in Ukrainian and Russian. The Flemish Government has provided specific funding to make the offer free of charge temporarily. (#Oekraïne: sociaal tolken en vertalen | Agentschap Integratie en Inburgering (integratie-inburgering.be))
- Brussels: Brussel Onthaal/Bruxelles Accueil and Sétis Bruxelles offer interpreters in Russian and Ukrainian
- Wallonia: Sétis Wallon offers interpreters in Russian and Ukrainian
Services for People Living with HIV
HIV care and other health services are available to people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Those who have been granted temporary protection status can access public healthcare free of charge, including antiretroviral therapy. There is further information about accessing healthcare, in Flemish, French, and Dutch – some information is provided in Ukrainian and Russian.
The additional information can be obtained via the website: www.medimmigrant.be (French and Flemish)
Online services for Ukrainians fleeing the war in all countries www.aidsmap.com (Ukrainian language available)
Antiretroviral treatment (ART)
People on ART can bring their medication into the country together with their doctor’s prescription Important medical information must be communicated to the physician, including the medication the person is taking. This can be important for the care provided. The physician will always treat the information confidentially.
Those who are on long-term medication must consult a physician to receive a prescription. If possible, take the packaging of the medication to a doctor. The physician may prescribe equivalent medication. This medication may look different in shape and/or colour.
Access to care is available, information is available via all health centres and the HIV help centres preventionsida.org
Minors can get tested and get ART.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
PEP must be started as soon as possible after the HIV risk incident occurred. Preferably within two hours, otherwise up to 72 hours post-exposure. As a rule, the drug is taken for 28 days. Please contact specialised centres and any University Hospital.
Services for People Living with Hepatitis B or C
Hepatitis B or C testing, hepatitis B vaccination, and hepatitis B or C treatment availability
Everyone has access to care, and the assessment is individualised, with testing available. More info at depistage.be
Support systems (harm reduction/safer use, social support or psychosocial support) available for the Ukrainians undergoing therapy for hepatitis C or related liver diseases
If the person has TB symptoms:
Systematic health check based on clinical history and eventual TB symptoms is offered to all Ukrainians who are fleeing the war and arriving in Belgium (but not mandatory) and if the Flemish region, it is enhanced by systematic chest X-ray.
Directly observed treatment (DOT)
Newly diagnosed patients are systematically evaluated by a VRGT or a FARES nurse to estimate the risk of non-compliance and decide which coaching the patient needs (eventually DOT but this is exceptional).
Video directly observed treatment (VDOT)
VDOT was initiated in the Covid-19 time. This is a possibility after initial evaluation mentioned above, if suitable for the patient.
Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination for children
The BCG indications are very limited and BCG is almost non existing in Belgium. The information is available via FARES & VRGT.
Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) Services
To get the dosage, the person should receive the prescription from a general practitioner, as the medication is dispensed via prescription at pharmacies.
Please note, that the person needs to be registered in the country to have access to OAT prescriptions.
What OAT drugs are available in the country?
Methadone and Buprenorphine.
OAT treatment fees
To get the free of charge OAT medication, patients should go through a system run by general practitioners.
Search for local addiction support facilities here: www.reseaualto.be
Useful links to follow on OAT:
General requirements and access to healthcare
09. Taking an HIV Test is Taking Care of Your Health
HIV-SAM Project: Taking an HIV Test is Taking Care of Your Health. HIV-SAM Project, Institute of Tropical Medicine, 26 p.