On the 8th of February 2023, the Council of State delivered its judgment nr. 22/7709. The case concerned a measure of the State Secretary accepting family reunification (nareis) but stating that an appointment to collect the applicant’s visa could only be scheduled six months after this acceptance. However, the visa could only be collected within six months if the sponsor had appropriate accommodation. The first instance Court annulled the measure and ruled that the Secretary must provide the visa within a week, subsequently, the Secretary appealed to the Council of State.

The Council first ruled that the measure has an intended and suspensive condition on the already accepted family reunification. The legality principle requires that such measures may only be ordered when there is a legal basis which was lacking in the present case. The Council then declared that the Aliens Act determines that visas should be collected within three months, but that period may be extended by three months under specific, clearly defined circumstances. The Council ruled that the measure did not qualify as such a circumstance.

The Council further decided that the measure does not align with the Article 12 and 13 of the Family Reunification Directive as Article 12 does not allow an accommodation requirement and Article 13 prohibits creating new requirements after accepting the reunification. The Council then declared that the reception deficiencies did not reach the threshold of Article 3 ECHR and 4 EU Charter, therefore, delaying the issuance of a visa is not justified in the context of the hierarchy of norms to avoid potential violations of the applicants’ fundamental rights.