Several weeks after the second police visit, having responded in the meantime to a couple of requests for claification of some of the details in Merv’s file, we were convoked once again to the foreign office for an appointment with Madame M, to which Merv was asked to bring along 3 passport photos and a(nother) copy of his birth certificate.
Our weary feet made their way down the now all too familiar route to the liaison office, and waited to be ushered in for our appointment. Like every other time, we sat in a waiting room with at least half a dozen others who each had the same appointment time despite there being only two officers on duty. (We still somehow managed to find this amusing, perhaps in part due to the knowledge that in comparison with the no-appointment queuing system at the central municipal office, this was by far the more privileged option.)
Our most recent visit to the foreign office was the shortest by far. Madame M greeted us like old friends, and after signing a few forms I was being handed my Attestation d’Immatriculation, otherwise known as the Carte Orange (Orange Card). This card would now serve as my temporary identification in Belgium for the next 6 months, by which time the foreign office would be required to take a decision on my residency application.
With the Orange Card I’ve now also received my Belgian national ID number, which seems like quite an achievement. While my application is being considered, with the ID number I may now be recognised as a household member at our home address which means I have a basis to apply for things like health insurance and a work permit. But perhaps the biggest relief is the knowledge that I can stay with Bec in Brussels for up to another 6 months. The first 90 days were filled with checklists, deadlines and uncertainty. And while my future in Belgium is still uncertain, for the first time I feel like there has been progress. Now we just play the waiting game…