Asylum seekers under 18 who are not accompanied by their parents or a legal guardian are referred to as unaccompanied minors. However, this term does not apply to minors who come from a European Union member state.
After an unaccompanied minor’s application for asylum is registered, the Immigration Department informs the Guardianship Service and draws up a description. This description contains information on the minor’s identity, relatives, people he/she knows in Belgium or abroad...
The Guardianship Service then verifies whether the asylum seeker is really an unaccompanied minor. If there is doubt as to his/her age, a medical examination is requested.
If the asylum seeker really is an unaccompanied minor, he/she will be assigned a guardian. This guardian will assist the minor during the entire asylum procedure:
- He/she will ask for a lawyer.
- He/she will receive the invitations, the requests for information and the decisions. The minor also receives a copy of these documents.
- He/she will explain the asylum procedure and the decisions made.
- He/she will always be present when the minor is called before an asylum authority.
When the result of the medical examination is available, the minor is called for an interview at the Immigration Department. His/her guardian will be present during this interview.
After that, the interview at the CGRS is organised in consultation with the guardian. The guardian will be present during the interview.
The CGRS pays special attention to unaccompanied minors. The interview is adapted to the minor’s age and maturity. Moreover, the CGRS caseworkers who hear the minors are specialised in the area of asylum and have received specific training. Finally, the problem of minors is coordinated by a specialised person.
Minors who come from a European Union member state are also heard by a specialised person. However, they are not assigned a guardian.