When the CGRS has received the asylum file from the Immigration Office (IO), it invites the applicant for a personal interview at its office in Brussels by means of an invitation letter. During the personal interview, the applicant can explain why (s)he left his/her country of origin.

The personal interview at the CGRS is an important moment in the asylum procedure. During the personal interview, the applicant can explain why (s)he left his/her country of origin. When the applicant has requested the assistance of an interpreter at the OI, an interpreter will translate the questions of the CGRS employee (the ‘protection officer’) and the applicant’s answers.

An applicant for international protection in Belgium can end his/her asylum procedure before a decision has been taken by the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons. The applicant must personally end the asylum procedure at the CGRS. This has several consequences.

Every applicant is entitled to legal assistance from a lawyer. A trusted person can also assist the applicant. Both the lawyer and the trusted person can be present at the personal interview.

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