Visas for Belgium
Understanding the fundamentals
Expat Protect Plans for France, Benelux or Monaco
Schengen visas for Belgium
Those travelling to Belgium for holiday or business and who need to apply for a Schengen visa will need to do so at the Belgian consulate or embassy in their home country before they travel.
Applicants will usually need to provide documents such as proof of employment and proof of residence in their home country as indicators that they will return home after their trip.
Expats wanting to travel to Belgium for business purposes will likely have to include a letter of invitation from the Belgian business party who will be hosting them and a letter from their local employer stating their duties in Belgium. Those attending a conference may require proof of registration and accommodation.
Residence visas for Belgium
Anyone intending to stay in Belgium for the long term is required to report their presence in the country to their local commune (local authority) within 90 days of their arrival. These new arrivals will usually need to produce their passport or identity card and will then be issued with a Declaration of Presence.
Citizens of non-EU countries who wish to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days will need to arrange a long-stay residence visa before arriving. The D visa allows non-EU nationals to study, work and live in Belgium for up to five years. After five years, they will be able to apply for permanent residency.
Once non-EU nationals have a long-term local address, they should return to their local commune to register the address and obtain a foreigner identity card.
Non-EU expats moving to the country for employment will most likely also need a work permit for Belgium.
Work permits for EU and EEA citizens
Citizens of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) don’t usually require a work permit for Belgium. European citizens working in Belgium must have a full EU or EEA passport or identity card.
These nationals are free to enter Belgium for up to three months to look for work or set up a business. Those staying for a period of more than three months are required to register at the local town hall in their city of residence in Belgium.
Work permits for non-EU and non-EEA citizens
Work permit type A
Work permit type B
Work permit type C
Type D visa
Once their employment has been authorised by the relevant authorities, the expat employee can then apply for a long-stay Type D Visa which enables them to enter the country and stay temporarily.
While some other types of Schengen visas can be used to enter other Schengen countries as well as the country of application, the D Visa is generally limited to one country. Expats will need to apply for this visa at a Belgian embassy or consulate in their home country.