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Belgium is an ideal destination for students worldwide. The country attracts students with an education of high quality and its ideal geographical location. Expat.com tells you more on how to expatriate to Belgium as a student.

Everyone knows that three different languages are spoken in Belgian's people daily life. It's no different for students.

If you wish to study in Belgium and only speaks one language out of the three, European and international schools can welcome you. The European Union has a website dedicated to studies within the EU, Ploteus. It will help you choose the best place to study according to your needs. Bear in mind that most postgraduate schools and universities in Belgium use English as a first language.

If you wish to improve in French or Dutch, each university has its Centre for Languages where you can practise languages. Some institutions also offer language classes with flexible hours.

Am I eligible to study in Belgium?

If you come from one of the EU member states, no visa is required.

If you come from a third-country (outside the EU or the EEA), a visa might be required to study in Belgium. For more information on this matter, contact the Belgian embassy or consulate of your home country.

If a visa is required, the following documents are necessary upon going to the consulate or embassy:

  • a copy of your passport, valid at least one year
  • a certificate of enrolment, pre-enrolment or admission in one of Belgium educational institutions, recognised by public authorities
  • proof of sufficient funding
  • medical certificate
  • copy of criminal record

Once in Belgium, foreign students, including European ones, must register at the communal administration of their town of residence in order to change their status. The administration delivers a resident permit, valid one year, renewable. To do so, students need to give a certificate of enrolment at the university of their choice. This registration needs to be done within 8 days following students' arrival on Belgian soil.

Students have to show proof of sufficient funding, consisting of a monthly allowance of at least 631â¬, transferred to the student's Belgian bank account. To prove sufficient funding when registering, the following documents are necessary:

  • a certificate proving the student benefits from a scholarship or a student loan
  • a physical person (Belgian or from a foreign country) guaranteeing to take care of the student financial needs for a year or the entire duration of the studies. The guarantor needs sufficient and stable funding themselves. At least 1,784.53⬠monthly, including the student allowance and 150⬠per dependant.
  • Proof of personal income (students can work up to 20 hours a week with a work permit C.)

The amount of necessary funding varies each year. The Office for Foreigners is in charge of reviewing it. The figures above were agreed for the 2016/2017 school year.

Higher education in Belgium

Higher education is divided into 4 categories in Belgium: universities, higher colleges, Higher Architecture Institute, and College of Applied Arts.

Universities deliver a bachelor after three years, same as a degree. A professional bachelor in higher colleges. After four or five years of studies, students can get a Master. For students wishing to pursue their studies, universities offer Doctorates or Specialised Masters. Higher colleges offer specialised bachelors.

Enrolling in a Belgian university

Each institution has its own admission and enrolment department. It is recommended to contact the different schools to get more details.

However, the following documents are required to get a complete file:

  • A copy of an identity paper
  • A copy of your passport with the stamp of your temporary resident permit if you are not coming from one of the EU member states
  • Identity photographs (black and white and in colour)
  • All the documents related to the process
  • All the documents related to the scholarship (if you get one)

As a result, students will receive the amount of tuition fees to pay to validate their enrolment.

FYI, during the school year 2014/2015, the basic tuition fee (called minerval) was of:

  • 834⬠in a university
  • Between 350 and 450⬠in a higher college for extensive courses (higher tuition fees for the last year)
  • Between 175 and 230⬠in a higher college for short courses (higher tuition fees for the last year)

Non-European students have additional fees.

Equivalence for foreign diplomas

No matter the institution, you will need an equivalence for any diploma obtained in a foreign country. Students can ask for it at the services for equivalence in Belgium. The service for equivalence in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation will tell you how to proceed, depending on your studies and diploma.

Where to live as a student in Belgium?

Internet is full of information regarding KOTS, these so-called studios and student rooms near universities. Most of Belgian schools and universities have rooms to rent in their area. Don't hesitate to ask dedicated professionals at the educational institution upon your arrival or once on Belgian soil.

Useful links:

Diplomacy Belgium - Belgian embassies and consulates abroad
Diplomacy Belgium - Visa application
Study Flanders
Study in Belgium
Wallonia-Brussels International
Doctoral studies Belgium
Vlaanderen

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.