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Resident Permit in Belgium

Resident Permit in Belgium

Updated on Friday 11th September 2015

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Living in Belgium

Citizens belonging to the European Union and European Economic Area member states can travel to and stay in Belgium for a maximum of three months only based on a passport or ID. Nationals of most countries outside the EEA need a visa to stay in Belgium. When the duration of the stay exceeds the three months period, foreigners need to apply for a resident permit in Belgium.
Belgium can be seen as the center of the European Union and many foreign investors are drawn by the business friendly characteristics of the country. Also, the good standards of living attract many individuals who want to work and live in Belgium, not just visit the country.

Working in Belgium

The first step when wanting to obtain a resident permit in Belgium is to have a concluded employment contract. The work permit needs to be obtained by theBelgian employer. This is necessary irrespective of the duration of the employment contract. There are three types of work permits in Belgium, as follows:
  • - work permit A: unlimited duration, has to be preceded by a type B work permit; 
  • - work permit B: valid for maximum 12 months and granted only if the employee is cleared for working in Belgium;
  • - work permit C: granted for special categories of foreign nationals, like students, asylum seekers, etc.

A residence permit in Belgium

Foreign nationals who want to reside in Belgium for more than 90 days in 6 months must apply for a temporary residence visa, also known as a type D Visa. Foreigners who obtain a Visa D must register at the municipality (commune) in which they will reside.
The documents that need to be provided when making a visa application (original plus a copy) are:
  • a visa application form,
  • a valid passport,
  • a valid work permit B,
  • a medical certificate,
  • a certificate that attests that the criminal record is clean.
Foreign official documents must be legalized and have an apostil. Also, they must be submitted in German, French or Dutch, as appropriate for the commune in which the individual will reside.
Foreign individuals must also be officially registered in the foreign population register and apply for a identity card. There are certain fees applicable for these procedures in Belgium and they may vary according to the commune.
Foreign business owners who want to open a company in Belgium can apply for a residence permit under a special category destined for investors or business.
A residence permit in Belgium needs to be renewed annually for three years. After living in Belgium for three consecutive years, the individual can apply for citizenship.
For more information about investing in Belgium and special incentives for businesses, please contact our law firm in Belgium.


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