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Do I need a visa or work permit to move to Belgium?

01:45 28/09/2019

Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) do not need a visa to enter Belgium. Citizens of a few non-EEA countries such as the US, Canada or Japan can also enter Belgium without a visa as long as their stay doesn’t exceed 90 days within any six-month period.

If you are a citizen of another non-EEA country and plan to stay in Belgium for less than 90 days, you will need a Schengen visa. The Schengen agreement guarantees free movement between signatory countries including Belgium, which means you will be able to travel to other Schengen countries during your stay on the basis of that single visa. Likewise, non-EEA nationals who are legal residents in a Schengen country will be able to enter Belgium without having to apply for a new visa.

For all non-EEA nationals, a visa is needed to move to Belgium in order to work, study, get married or cohabit, or be reunited with family. Apply for one at the Belgian consulate or embassy that is competent for your place of residence. The documents required are a passport valid for at least 15 months, a certificate of good conduct issued no more than six months earlier, a medical certificate and a work permit or other documentation explaining why a visa is necessary.

Citizens of countries outside the EU with a job offer in Belgium no longer have to have a work permit before requesting a residency permit. Under EU legislation, both permits will be issued simultaneously by the region in which the applicant will work. Anyone wanting to come to the country for reasons other than work must provide proof of having the means to support themselves and their families.

Non-EEA nationals who are looking to be employed in Belgium need to apply for a work permit. There are several types to suit different situations and professions. Those looking to set themselves up as a freelancer or self-employed person should apply for a carte professionnelle/beroepskaart instead. Work permits and professional cards are not required for EEA nationals. Visit your region’s website for details of the procedure where you live.

Non-EU citizens may also need a work permit, of which there are three categories: A, B and C. The first is unlimited and valid for all employers; the second is for one employer for one year; and the third is for all employers for one year and may be renewed. Applicants must provide a medical certificate and a professional card and students must show they have sufficient means to live on.

Written by The Bulletin