The Working Holiday Visa for Belgium

Updated 2023-10-06 15:16

Energetic and carefree, Belgium is undeniably a country that welcomes foreigners warmly. But above all, Belgium is a country where you can have fun: it has a lively cultural scene (exhibitions, concerts, festivals, theatre, dance, etc.), and its nightlife will allow you to party. Would you like to enjoy all these great things while taking your time and finding a job to support yourself during your stay? Thanks to the Working Holiday Visa (WHV) in Belgium, you can! In this article, we will explain the conditions for you to access this program and to make your stay in Belgium as smooth as possible. 

Did you know that fries do not come from France but from Belgium? Yes, Belgium has a lot to offer. Located between France and the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Belgium is often called the essence of Europe. Known for its unique culture, Belgium also amazes with its architecture that decorates picturesque, cobbled squares. Incredible cuisine is offered in a wide range of restaurants (let's not forget that the world wouldn't be the same without those beloved fries). Brussels is one of the world's great cosmopolitan capitals, home to the European Union and NATO.

Conditions to be met for obtaining a Working Holiday Visa in Belgium

Here are the requirements you must consider to be eligible for the Belgian WHV:

1. Your nationality

Belgium has successfully concluded bilateral WHV agreements with the following five countries:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

Therefore, you must have one of these five nationalities to apply for a WHV with the Belgian government. However, living in one of these countries is not enough for you to be eligible for the WHV in Belgium. You must have not only nationality but also live there at the time of your application.

2. Your age

You must be of legal age at the time of application, meaning you must be at least 18 years old to be eligible. For the five agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, and Taiwan, the age limit is 30. You have until the day before your 31st birthday to apply. But you are advised not to wait until the last minute!

3. Having a valid passport

As with every international trip you undertake, a valid passport is essential. You will need to have a passport that is valid at the time of your WHV application with the Belgian government but which will also be valid for a minimum of one year (i.e., 12 months) after your arrival on Belgian territory (for the total duration of your stay in Belgium until you return to your country).

Another important condition concerning your passport is having at least two blank pages! Indeed, space is needed for your Belgian WHV to be placed in it. When you enter and leave the country, the customs authorities must stamp your passport — so ensure you have enough space!

Good to know:

Participants who have received their visas are advised to be extremely careful with their passports. In case of loss, reissuing the passport and a new visa could be very time-consuming and challenging, and it could mess up your plans.

4. Having sufficient savings / minimum budget

One of the compulsory conditions to receive the WHV in Belgium is that you arrive in the country with some savings (for food, accommodation, travel, etc.), at least for the beginning of your stay in Belgium. You will need to have at least 2,500 euros in your bank account. You will have to prove that you have this amount with a receipt from your bank.

5. Having a medical insurance policy

A health insurance policy (also known as travel insurance) covering all cases of illness, hospitalization, repatriation, disability, and maternity is mandatory. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a foreign country with a large hospital bill, without any medical cover - a hospital bill for a foreigner in Belgium could be very expensive!

Here's our recommendation: don't wait too long and start looking for a good insurance policy available when you are in Belgium, 24/7.

6. First-time participation

For the Belgian government to give you the green light to enter its territory with the WHV, one of the important conditions is that you have never participated in the Belgian Working Holiday Program before. Indeed, only one participation is allowed per person - you can only go to Belgium on a WHV once in a lifetime.

Good to know:

However, if you have participated in any other WHV program worldwide, this will not be a problem! Perhaps you have been on a WHV to Chile, Peru, Argentina, Hungary, Japan, or Brazil. Don't worry; this will not affect your application for a WHV in Belgium.

7. The quota per country

When a WHV agreement is signed between two countries, a quota is usually set so that the receiving country can control the number of visas granted per year and the number of participants who enter its territory each year. In the case of Belgium and the past WHV agreements, the number of places allocated per country is as follows:

  • Australia - unlimited number of places;
  • New Zealand - unlimited number of places;
  • Canada - 1250 places (since 2022);
  • South Korea - 200 places per year;
  • Taiwan - 200 places per year.

Good to know:

On 1 January each year, quotas are usually updated. This means that if you are from South Korea or Taiwan and want a better chance of receiving a WHV visa, it is better to wait until the beginning of the year to apply.

8. The airline tickets

You must also provide proof that you have purchased a return air ticket. Of course, if you do not yet have a return date or cannot be booked to return one year later, you must show at least a single ticket and sufficient funds to purchase a return ticket to your country.

9. A clean criminal record

A clean criminal record is a requirement to be given the green light to travel to Belgium on a WHV. This means that you must not have committed a crime for your application to be considered by the Belgian government. To access your criminal record, contact the Ministry of Justice or the federal police in your country.

10. Duration and price of the visa

You will have one year to enjoy your WHV once you have set foot in Belgium. During this time, you will be able to enter and leave the country as often as you like - which is great news as it means you can visit neighboring countries! However, if you do leave the country, we advise you to make sure you have all the necessary authorizations to do so (e.g., residence permits or visas). You should expect to pay about 180 euros for the visa and other fees for certain documents.

Good to know:

It is important to note that if you apply for a WHV to Belgium, you cannot take your dependents. If you want to go on a WHV to Belgium with your partner or with fellow students, you will all have to apply separately, and every application will be processed separately. Each person will, of course, have to be eligible under the conditions mentioned in this article.

How to apply for a Belgium Working Holiday Visa?

The following are the documents you need to present when applying for a WHV in Belgium:

  • A valid passport - You will need to scan the first few pages of your passport (the part that contains your personal information) and two blank pages (to show that you have room to put the visa and new stamps in). If you have already been to Belgium, you must also provide a scan of the entry and exit stamps from Belgium;
  • A color photo without filters or retouching, in passport size 3.5 x 4.5 cm;
  • A recent proof of address - a bill showing your current address should do the trick;
  • A letter of motivation should explain the purpose of your trip to Belgium. Explain what attracts you to this country and why you have chosen it;
  • Proof of sufficient funds - a bank statement for the last three months or a credit card statement showing the credit limit should do the trick. This document has to show that you have sufficient funds to cover return airfares and expenses during your stay in Belgium (see above under 'Having savings');
  • Airline tickets;
  • Health insurance policy quotation, including the global indemnity, valid for at least one year from the date of entry;
  • A clean criminal record;
  • A medical certificate stating that you are in good health.

Things to consider when planning your move to Belgium

The cost of living in Belgium

Before traveling to Belgium, we recommend you know the cost of living to prepare your budget.

Here is a table that will give you an idea of the cost of living in Belgium.

Looking for accommodation in Belgium

When preparing for your WHV in Belgium, one of the most important steps is finding accommodation. After all, you don't want to find yourself without a place to sleep when you leave the airport. As you probably already know, Airbnb is a trendy website that allows you to find the type of accommodation you want in the city you wish to and at the price you want. Indeed, you will find many options for single rooms, studios, flats, or houses in Belgium.

Belgium's most used housing search platforms are Logic Immo, Immo Vlan, Immo Trovit, Viva Street, Zimmo, Antwerp Expats, Locate Belge or Belgimmo.

Good to know:

Those looking for low-cost options should consider couchsurfing and youth hostels!

Looking for work in Belgium

You should start your job search in Belgium on the net with keywords related to your field of expertise and the area where you would like to work. Example: "work", "engineering", "Liege".

Platforms dedicated to online job searches such as Elia Jobs,,,, or can be helpful to find job offers and get in touch with companies active in your field.

Learning the local language

The official languages of Belgium are French, German and Dutch. Although English is spoken in Belgium, not all Belgians are fluent in English. To understand and be understood, we recommend you practice one of the three official languages mentioned above, paying attention to the part of Belgium you intend to visit, as each language belongs to a specific region.

Duolingo, Memrise, Babbel, or Rosetta Stone are excellent applications to help you learn your chosen language.

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.