Processing time for Residence Permit


Can anyone please let me know how long it takes to get a residence permit after arrival in Belgium? I find myself in a catch 22 since i need an apartment once I move there and I cannot sign a lease without a residence permit.


It depends on the commune you're registering at, and how lucky you are. The process is usually supposed to take 3-4 weeks, but I know people who have had to wait 6 months. Some town halls are much busier than others, such as the Brussels, Ixelles, and Schaerbeek ones. I speak from experience, as I applied to extend my residence permit almost 2 months ago at the Schaerbeek town hall, and I still haven't heard back.

Thanks! Thats helpful. How would the non-EU individuals manage to rent apartments without the residence permit?

Landlords are normally ready to sign the contract with passport as an identification and on the condition that residence permit copy will be provided as soon you get it.

The other option is to take up residence at apart hotels till you get your residence permit and once you have it then you can look for apartments to rent.

Thanks aneeshks and solexhonda!

Solexhonda, its my understanding that a lease agreement has to provided for the residence permit. Would aparthotels be able to fulfill that criteria?

You may have to check with the apartment provider. Some let you use the address for registration, some dont.

Your situation is the same as that of any expat that moves to Belgium for the first time. I passed through the same situation and many of my colleagues/friends. Most landlords understand that you need to establish the residence and make a contract etc in order to register and get a residence permit. So they take passport as initial identification proof (and make sure you have a job, financial means to pay the rent, etc) and of course you will make the bank security deposit (2 months rent or so). Based on these, they make a contract with you. Once you have the Rp, you give the landlord a copy (or provide him the national number once you get). This is how it works normally.

Thanks aneeshks! This helps me better understand the situation.

Hi Aneeshks, you seem to know quite a lot about how things work here in Belgium. Would you be able to have a look at my previously posted question in the forum and help me out with any advice yiu may have?

By paying additional cost (i think 85 euros)  you can go for a fast track RP processing . Usually takes 1week - 10 days to get the RP.

Hi Gajendra,

85 euros post police verification or at the time of appointment with commune(1st visit to commune) ?

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sandym007 wrote:

Hi Gajendra,

85 euros post police verification or at the time of appointment with commune(1st visit to commune) ?

After Police verification and approval from ministry commune will invite you to order the card. During this time you can ask for fast track processing.

when do we get the national number ?
a. When commune invites to apply for card , do they share the national number ?
b. After applying for the card we get it along with printed card.

Once the Ministry accepts your registration, I beleieve. No harm in going to the commune and enquiring.

Is there any way to track the application ?

No. Just visit the commune and ask :)

Hi All ,

I have received the D type visa and will be travelling to Brussels soon. But I need to come back to India within 3 months due to personal reasons. So my queries are :

1. Will residence permit take more than 3 months to process ?
2. If the above is yes, can I stay there for 3 months without applying for residence permit ?
3. Will there be any action or consequences if I dont apply for residence car if I have a 1 year work permit ?
4. Will I be able to leave the country while the residence permit process if going on assuming it will take more than 2-3 months to process? (I read somewhere that you can't)
If I get a clarity on these doubts, I'll be able to decide whether I should travel or not.

Hi @aneeshks, seems you seem to know more about the visa process,  it would be great if you helped me out here with my doubts.

Thanks in advance !

1. It depends on the commune and ministry's workload.
2. Ideally you should report to commune as fast as you can.
3. You need residence permit to stay. Work permit is just an authorization to work. It is not a permit to stay and it is not a travel document.
4. You can, if your D type visa is multiple entry. You need to come back before your visa expires.

When you arrive here and finalize your place of stay, etc and visit your local commune/townhall and present your situation. They will give you exact official advice.

Thanks Aneesh for your reply. So that means I can stay and work there for 3 months without a residence card ?

"When you arrive here and finalize your place of stay, etc and visit your local commune/townhall and present your situation. They will give you exact official advice."

What if the commune guys tell me that I have to apply for resident card. In that case I wont be able to leave the country, right ?

Like I said, if your D type visa is multiple entry, you can leave and get back during the visa validity, while your RP is in processing.

Thanks Aneesh.

My visa is single entry and chances of my returning back to Belgium are pretty low in any case. So I guess that should be fine.

But then this really makes my applying for a residence card pretty much useless and hence my dilemma: Whether I should apply for residency or not in those 3 months :|.

if you wont return to Belgium, you may not apply for RP for just 3 months, but I am not sure if it will have any implications if you may have to return to Belgium later on. I would assume not, but I dont know.

Okay. Thanks a lot for your help Aneesh. Will post an update on how it turns out.

How long does it take for the police to come for control at residence? 1wk, 2wks after registration at the municipality?

Officially 15 calendar days.
Reality, it depends on the city. If you're leaving in bigger city, they often take more time.

Thank you so much Alex.

Let me just quickly ask if you are aware of any situation of a non EU national apply for family reunification visa from Belgium?   

Thank you.

Yes, my significant other's came +/- 1 year 1/2 in Belgium and we did the family reunion from Belgium after a legal cohabitation.

As long as the partner/sponsor is EU, the non-EU has the right to do the process from Belgium. Else, the request must be done from the country of residence.

Thank you Alex.  I understand very well now.

I am a Non-EU citizen and recently moved to Brussels ( Schaerbeek) to reunite with my spouse - EU citizen . I arrived in Belgium on DEC 1st, 2022, with Visa D - Family Reunion. Within 8 days of my arrival, I registered my entry on the commune website. The commune scheduled a in-person meeting on 28th, where I filled in the resident card application. The police visited our house on JAN 14th, 2023, and I have been waiting for an update from the commune.

I have a few questions at this stage:

*From what I know, I cannot start working until I have the Resident card ready --is that correct?

*As I have left my job in my home country and moved to Belgium without a job, at which stage would be the best time to start applying for jobs here --- or do I simply have to wait for the resident card itself?

@ People who've recently received the resident card at Schaerbeek commune: Can you please tell me the expected timeline once the police visit is complete?

Thank you for your time and response in advance.

Yes you have to wait for your ID card for the job.  Without your ID proof you can't apply for any job!!!!!  And for your ID card you have to wait for this monday if you don't get any letter from commune then on tuesday morning you can go to commune and ask them what happened !!!!!!  Sometimes they can forget send the invitation letter and you have to go there and check the status of your file …!!!??

@Rahulgc Yes, wait for your residence permit (it will have your national number - which is required for employers).

@Likemewho @annesh: Thank you. I will check with the commune this week and update in the forum.