BE Documentation will expire before it's renewed - must I leave the country?


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After applying to renew a Belgian professional card (so I can continue working as a freelance independent) a few months ago, the renewal is still in limbo. It will expire very soon, along with the residency permit.

What is the proper fully legal approach to this problem? Do I have to return to my home country and wait for the renewal?

If I am out of the country with an expired residency permit, do I need to apply for another class-D Visa to enter Belgium?

Is it legal to stay in other shangen nations with expired Belgian residency while waiting for the professional card?
Have you consulted the Immigration Bureau inside Brussels' North Station ?

Otherwise, ask your local municipality (commune). They will know what to do and even have the power to extend your visa and work permit.
I did not see an immigration bureau in gare du nord.. but I didn't have much time to look. I'll go there and look again.

The commune refused to do anything without the professional card. I asked them if I had to leave the country, and they would not give an answer.

SPF Economie (who issues the professional cards) is frequently closed. I managed to get there on a day and time that the office was open, but no one could handle my file except the one person that was assigned to it, and that person was absent.

I also tried "SPF Intérieur - Office des étrangers". The admin at the counter said he could not do anything, but he gave a phone to his office (the office that I was at), and said if I call I can get more information. When calling, I asked how I could get a temporary extension for my already temporary residency permit, and was told the same -- nothing can be done until the professional card is renewed. I asked if I must leave the country, and he said no, because my request for the professional card renewal protects me. Does that protection work well enough that I can leave Shangen and return?

I wonder if there is an organized attempt to introduce residency gaps as a means to prevent naturalization (as every gap resets the 3 year clock).
I found the immigration bureau in gare du nord. They will only get involved if the issue involves a work permit. For professional cards, they said only spf economie in WTC 3 can do something (this is the office that is normally closed; the office sitting on the pro card renewal app to begin with).

So it looks like I've done everything possible, short of changing communes.

I would like to know if there is a Brussels region commune that is more accommodating toward immigrants than the center commune. If so, I'm thinking it might be worthwhile to relocate.

Maciamo, I noticed your post on Uccle commune, and I'm tempted. Of the 19 communes, are there any others that stand out as immigrant-friendly, or stand out as immigrant-hostile? It would be quite useful to have an idea of communes to avoid or embrace when deciding where to live.
Can anyone recommend an immigration lawyer?

(btw, the reason for the lag is because the application was submitted in French)
How did your story end?

Could you please share your experience, what went wrong, how was it rectified, then how long did you have to wait until the new docs were issued?
Thanking your feedback; kinda passing through the same situation.
I look forward to your reply.

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