Visa Options for a new relationship.

Hi all,

I met my girlfriend at the beginning of November while traveling in SE Asia. We traveled together for a month and a half. After we both went home for a couple weeks, I flew to Belgium (on a tourist visa) and am trying to figure out visa options for being here long-term.

She is Belgian while I have dual American-Israeli citizenship. I work remotely for an American company and do freelance journalism, which can also be done from anywhere.

As far as I can tell, the cohabitation visa is not an option because we haven't yet known each other for a year.

It seems like a professional card and associated visa are for people who want to establish a business here, whereas I just want to live here and continue work for my company. But it doesn't seem like a freelancer visa is as readily available here as it is in other countries (i.e. Germany)

Thinking about going back to school for a masters and being here on a student visa, which would allow me to stay for long enough until we can apply for a cohabitation visa. That seems to be the best option for now, but classes don't start until September and I will have to leave and come back which doesn't sound appealing as we're trying to rent an apartment, etc. etc.

Am I missing anything obvious? Would it make sense to pursue a visa in another EU country? Any other input?

Thanks all!

You've clearly understood correctly your current options.

PS: cohabitation visa is available only after 2 years of acquaintance (+ 3 visits in at least 2 years + 45d spend together OR to live one year together (electricity bill, loan, ...))

Finding a job or being a student in Belgium would probably be the best option if you want to come "as soon as possible" (take into account that unique permit takes +/- 4 months, but student visa can be given nearly immediately (2/3 weeks) in case you can show enough money to handle yourself and not be a burden to our government). But then, you should start prospecting university/haute-école as soon as possible.


Some "masters" at university in Belgium are done in english, but most are in french or dutch...
Remember that school period goes from September to June. (so you just got the time to request a one year student visa (september 2020/september 2021)).


Or... you also have the option of the marriage, but I'm pretty sure that you'll say it's too early and I would perfectly agree with you ;)



As a huge advice: start collecting as much proof of relationship as possible. Phone history, facebook messenger/whatsapp, pictures, gifts, flight tickets, trip together, ... you'll need it sooner or later!!!

Thanks for the tips!

I was considering going for a consultation with an immigration attorney here, but it’s all pretty expensive. Is there anything that they could tell me, any sort of loophole option that wouldn’t be apparent or is it basically throwing money down the drain for them to tell me something I already know?

Well, no, all the realistic options have been mentioned.

And I wouldn't ask them for advice, as they could think you would be a "fake" student that just want to settle in Belgium to bypass all the immigration laws.
In the end, they've to write a report/resume to the immigration about you, so....... make sure you know what to say or to "forget" to tell...

mijnvriend :

Thanks for the tips!

I was considering going for a consultation with an immigration attorney here, but it’s all pretty expensive. Is there anything that they could tell me, any sort of loophole option that wouldn’t be apparent or is it basically throwing money down the drain for them to tell me something I already know?

Hello,

Take contact with ADDE. It's an association who can provide attorney assistance for information.
http://www.adde.be/

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