Travel documents


Country Report: Travel documents Last updated: 10/07/24


Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen Visit Website

Belgium issues travel documents for both refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.[1] The duration of validity of both documents is 2 years.[2] However, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection have to fulfil more stringent criteria to obtain such a travel document.

Refugee status

To travel abroad, a refugee needs a valid electronic card for foreign nationals and a “refugee travel document”, also known as “blue passport”.[3] Every member of the family who is a recognised refugee in Belgium must carry their own “blue passport”.

This “blue passport” has to be obtained from the commune where the refugee is officially registered. Documents needed to obtain a “blue passport” include:

  • Identity card;
  • One identity photo;
  • If there are one or more children under the age of 18, a family declaration form which can be obtained from the municipal office;
  • For persons living in the Brussels-Capital Region, a certificate of family composition, which must be requested at the municipal office).

Subsidiary protection

The overall principle has always been that the beneficiary of subsidiary protection could not automatically obtain travel documents from the CGRS. Instead, they should contact the relevant national authorities. As regards the risks of putting their protection status into question because they contacted their national authorities, the CGRS confirmed that they had obtained the protection under article 15 (c) of the Qualification Directive and were therefore allowed to contact their national authorities to obtain travel documents.[4]

Travel documents for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are issued only if beneficiaries are unable to obtain one from their national authorities.[5] The document is called “travel document for foreigners”. The travel document needs to be requested at the provincial passport service of the province of the municipality where the person is registered. A special travel document will be issued on condition that identity and nationality are established and a certificate of impossibility to obtain a national passport or travel document is submitted.

A certificate of impossibility is not necessary if the person belongs to one of the categories of foreign nationals who cannot obtain a national passport or travel document according to the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Tibetans and persons of Palestinian origin do not have to submit such a certificate.[6]




[1] Article 57(3) Consular Code.

[2] Circular on travel documents for non-Belgians, 7 September 2016.

[3] CGRS, ‘You are recognised as a refugee in Belgium’, January 2018, available at:

[4] Myria, Contact Meeting, 19 September 2018, available in Dutch at:, para 15-16.

[5] CGRS, ‘You are eligible for subsidiary protection in Belgium’, November 2017, available at:

[6] For more information: Foreign Affairs Office, ‘Titre de voyage pour réfugié, apatride ou étranger’, available in French at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation