Explained: visas and permits in Belgium

When moving to a new country, your length of stay can be dictated by your country of origin. Stay ahead of the game and clarify how this will affect you and your future in Belgium.

Who doesn’t need a visa

Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) do not need a visa to enter Belgium. A valid identity card or passport is enough. Citizens of a few non-EEA countries such as the US, Canada or Japan can also enter Belgium without a visa as long as their stay doesn’t exceed 90 days within any six-month period. Note, this is only with the intention of visiting, not working, in Belgium. Non-EEA nationals who are legal residents in a Schengen country will be able to enter Belgium without having to apply for a new visa.

Who does need a visa

For all non-EEA nationals, a visa is needed to move to Belgium in order to work, study, get married or cohabit, or be reunited with your family. Apply for one at the Belgian consulate or embassy that is competent for your place of residence.

You will need:

  • A passport valid for at least 15 months
  • A certificate of good conduct issued no more than six months earlier
  • A medical certificate
  • A work permit or other documentation explaining why a visa is necessary.

Those wanting to come to the country for reasons other than work must provide proof of having the means to support themselves and their families.

Do you need a work permit?

Non-EEA nationals looking to be employed in Belgium need to apply for a work permit. Work permits and professional cards are not required for EEA nationals.

There are several types to suit different situations and professions. Non-EU citizens may also need a work permit, of which there are three categories:

  • Category A:  unlimited and valid for all employers
  • Category B:  one employer for one year
  • Category C: all employers for one year and may be renewed.

 You will need:

  • a medical certificate
  • a professional card
  • students must show they have sufficient means to live on.

(image © Openclips)


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