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Jun 16th
Home arrow Individuals arrow Living in Belgium


To enter Belgium, you need valid travel documents. For most non-Belgians that is a passport and a visa.

With valid travel documents, you can stay in the country as a visitor for a maximum of three months. If you intend to stay longer, you need to register with the local authorities.  Nationals of one of the Member States of the European Union (as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway within the European Economic Area) can simply register at the town hall of the commune and receive a residence permit (comparable to an identity card).

For other nationalities, a residence permit will only be delivered if you have a work permit.

·        If you are coming to work for a Belgian employer, it is your employer who must obtain a work permit (arbeidskaart / permis de travail). He must file an application with the Flemish, Brussels or Walloon regional Authorities depending on where you are going to work.  

In practice, the work permit is only granted for positions that cannot be filled - within a reasonable period of time on the Belgian market who qualify for the job, possibly after a training period. This means work permits are usually for highly qualified employees only (the salary is usually an indication). More information on the following websites for Brussels, Flanders or Wallonia.

The work permit will be delivered to the employer. 

·        If you are coming to work as a self employed, you need a professional card (beroepskaart / carte professionnelle), one must file an applica­tion via the Belgian embassy or consulate, with the relevant Authorities.  This procedure is actually quite long and follows an administrative investigation.  The application cannot be filed from Belgium, unless you have a valid residence permit (e.g. obtained as an employee).  More information is available on the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Once you have the authorisation to work in Belgium, you have to apply for a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning / permis de séjour) via the local Belgian embassy or consulate.  The application must be filed with two passport photos, a health certificate and a certificate of good moral behaviour.  The spouse and dependent children under the age of 18, can come and live in Belgium under the same residence permit.  More  information can be found here.

When arriving in Belgium, you have to register with the local authorities of the town.  Please note that this registration triggers the presumption that you become a resident for income tax purposes.

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