Updated 3 years ago

If you are moving to Belgium, you will probably need a visa according to the objectives of your stay. Here is useful information regarding the different types of visas available.

Traveling to Belgium requires proper planning. First of all, you have to check if you need a visa to move there, whether for a temporary visit or permanent relocation. Different types of visas apply to various types of stays in the country: tourism or short stay, long stay, study, permanent residency, airport transit, or even special cases such as to meet your family, etc.

Other types of visas apply to business trips, internships, participation in cultural, scientific, academic, sporting or religious events, etc.

 Good to know:

Belgium has signed Schengen agreements with some European Union countries, allowing foreigners to make short stays in the country without visa. However, different conditions apply to non-European Union citizens.

Short stay

European Union citizens do not require a visa or any other specific authorization to stay in Belgium for a maximum of three months, whatever the objectives of their stay. Documents to be produced to be allowed to travel to Belgium are:

  • a national identity card
  • a valid passport
  • an expired document in the absence of those mentioned above
  • a residence permit having been issued in another European Union member State.

However, European Union citizens residing in a private school must report to the nearest local authority to their place of residence within 10 days following their arrival in the country. A declaration of presence will be supplied.

Minors traveling to Belgium have to produce a parental consent which has to be countersigned by their country of origin.

However, citizens coming from non-European countries are not allowed to make a more than 90 days short stay in Belgium over a total 180 days period.

Long term temporary stay

European Union citizens do not need a visa or any specific authorization to make a three months stay in Belgium. They can simply produce their national identity card, a valid passport or an outdated identity document in the absence of these, or a residence permit issued in another European Union member state. They also have to produce their passport size photos, a lease document, fees that apply and any other document which may be requested.

Moreover, EU citizens have to register with the nearest local authorities to their place of residence. They can hence apply for a registration certificate which will be valid for a maximum of three months. You will then be on the waiting list to obtain a national identification number. You will undergo a residence examination before being registered in the Foreigners Registry. You might need to gather some other documents. You will be eligible to a registration certificate, that is an Annex 8, if all these conditions are met.

As regards non-European citizens, they will have to apply for a visa at the nearest Belgian Embassy or Consulate by producing their passport (which must be valid for at least 12 months), two duly filled and signed visa application forms, two color passport size photos, a criminal record which has been issued at least 6 months before along with a sworn translation, a medical certificate issued by a recognized doctor and which has been approved by the Belgian Embassy or Consulate. Other documents may also be requested according to your situation (worker, investor, student...).

Once the visa has been issued, you will have to register with the Foreigners Register within 8 days following your arrival in the country. You will hence be eligible to a temporary residence permit. You will have to constitute a new document containing your passport along with the temporary residence permit, your work or investor permit (or exemption document if any), your passport size photos, fees that apply (varying from one city to another). You will then obtain a Foreigners Registration certificate which will be valid for one year and which may be extended provided there is no restriction whatsoever to it. This certificate will also allow you to travel freely to other Schengen countries during your stay in Belgium.

Permanent residency

European Union citizens are eligible to permanent residency in Belgium if they have spent five consecutive years in the country.

As for non-European Union citizens, they will have to prove that they have subscribed to a health insurance, have sufficient means to cover their expanses and the ones of their family during their whole duration of their stay in the country.

 Useful links:

Visas for Belgium - Immigration Office dofi.ibz.be
Application for certificate of registration diplomatie.belgium.be

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