Migrate to Belgium

Belgium has a strong international history and is centrally placed in Europe, making it one of the safest countries on the world with a great standard of living. For expats migrating to Belgium for employment or study, a country with so many international characteristics has a lot to offer.

Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland do not require a visa to live and work in Belgium. All you have to do is register at the local town hall and obtain a Belgian identification card.

When relocating to Belgium as a citizen of a non-EU nation, you will need to apply for a visa. Belgian visas are of three types:

  • Short-term Belgian visas –This visa allows you to stay up to 90 days for tourism or business
  • Non-Immigrant visas – These are long-term temporary visas for studying or working on fixed-term contracts where the holder does not plan to stay in the nation for more than a certain amount of time
  • Immigrant visas- These are long-term visas for those who want to stay in Belgium for a long period of time or on a permanent basis.
Long term visas and documents required

You will need to apply for a category D long-stay Belgian visa if you are relocating to Belgium or want to visit for an extended period of time (more than a year). The type of visa you apply for is determined by your reason for moving to Belgium.

The category you choose is determined on the reason for your visit. The processing period ranges from weeks to months, however the administration charge is normally around 180 Euros.

Employee visa: This can only be obtained with a work permit, which must be secured by your company in advance (for which they require a medical certificate and three passport photos from you). Other requirements include:

  • Two completed application forms and two passport photographs
  • Declaration of any criminal records covering the year preceding your application
  • Copy of the medical certificate submitted with your work permit.

Student visa: Aside from your passport, you’ll need to send two filled-out application forms, two passport photos, and a criminal records declaration for the year prior to your application (if you’re 21 or older). You should also submit the original and copies of:

  • Your medical certificate
  • Letter of acceptance from your university,
  • Declaration that you will not overstay your visa
  • Proof of funds to support yourself

Entrepreneur visa: Non-EU nationals who want to start a business or work for themselves in Belgium must apply for a professional card, which serves as a license to trade and conduct independent business operations. You must apply for a long-stay Belgian visa category D through the Belgian embassy or consulate in your native country (or from the local municipal administration offices if already in Belgium).

Documents required
  • Three copies of completed application forms,
  • Three passport photographs,
  • Your project plan,
  • Declaration of criminal record if any
  • Your CV and certified copies of your diplomas, letters of recommendation, and professional references

You have three days from the time you arrive in Belgium to register your arrival at the municipal administration offices. They will issue you with a document stating when you must depart Belgium. Anyone staying in Belgium for more than three months will be considered a resident.

Permanent residency

After five years of residence in Belgium, you may be eligible for permanent residency. If you meet certain criteria, you will be eligible for Belgian citizenship. Both permanent residency and citizenship allow you to live and work in Belgium indefinitely under the same rules as Belgian nationals.

Can you bring your dependents once you migrate to Belgium?

If you are in Belgium for more than three months, then you can bring your dependents to the country on a Belgium dependent visa also known as the Family Reunion visa. You can bring the following dependents to the country on the Family Reunion visa.

  • Spouse or registered partner
  • Minor children who are unmarried
  • Adult children, who are unmarried or are disabled
What are the eligibility conditions to bring dependents to Belgium?
  • You must be able to support yourself and your family financially.
  • You are required to have health insurance.
  • You must be capable of providing housing for your dependents.
  • Your dependents will be granted a residence permit or a Type D visa to stay in Belgium if you meet these requirements.

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