Brussels at a Glance
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Planning to move to Brussels? InterNations is here to assist you!
There are several different categories of long-term visas for Belgium. The type of visa depends on the purpose of your stay in Brussels. Processing times may vary, but an administration fee of €180 is due for all types of long-term visa.
Together with two completed applications forms, you will need to submit the following standard documents:
- your passport (valid for at least one year)
- two recent passport photographs
- an official criminal record disclosure covering the year preceding your application
- an official medical certificate (if you haven’t already provided one for your work permit). Every Belgian Embassy or Consulate should provide you with a list of approved doctors for this purpose.
The following overview deals with the main kinds of visas available to people coming to Brussels for work or business.
- Employee visa: This is only granted together with a work permit (B), which must be obtained separately by your employer. The permit is initially valid for up to 12 months and can be renewed after a year. Highly qualified candidates who earn more than 36.604€ per year (2012) can get the work permit B without a labor market study.
- Self-employed visa: Before applying for this visa, you need the authorization of the Federal Public Service for Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy. This authorization comes in form of a “professional card” (carte professionnelle / beroepskaart), which can be requested via the Belgian mission. Among other things, your application for that card needs to include a project plan and proof of your professional skills and experience.
- For well-qualified and well-paid applicants, the European Blue Card is also a valid option. You must have a bachelor’s a degree, a confirmed job offer in Belgium, and an annual salary of 49.995€ or more (2012). The card is valid for an initial period of 13 months and can be renewed for about five years in total.
- Senior managers are not eligible for the European Blue Card if they earn more than 62.934€ a year (2012). However, they are usually exempt from work permit requirements in general. If you are a high-level executive wanting to work in Belgium, please ask your company or the Belgian mission how to proceed.
- Research visa: A research visa application for scientists and post-docs must include a hosting agreement signed by you and your host institution.
- Investor visa: This visa can be issued for up to eight months. In addition to the standard application documents, investors need to submit the Template I/II “Major Investor”, obtainable from the Foreign Investment Department of FPS Economy.
- Journalist visa: All journalists, whether from within or outside the EU, require a press card in order to carry out their profession. An application for a Belgian press card can be submitted to the Belgian mission together with the visa application (if applicable).
Foreign Resident Registration
There is a legal obligation for foreign residents to register with their local commune within eight days of arrival. However, this only applies if your stay exceeds a period of 3 months. You can find the contact details of all municipal authorities on the website of the Association de la Ville et des Communes de la Région de Bruxelles-Captitale.
When showing up to register, you should bring proof of residence in form of a rental agreement and your bank details. Following your registration, a police officer will visit your home to confirm your address. Only then will you receive your residence permit and identity card (as a third-state national).
A new Europe-wide system of electronic identity cards for foreign residents has recently been implemented in Belgium. It replaces the old carte blanche (certificate of inscription), carte jaune (identity card for third-state nationals), and carte bleue (identity card for EU nationals).
The new electronic card contains biometrical data in an invisible chip, serving as certificate of inscription, residence permit and alien ID card for third-country nationals. The new identity card for EU citizens in Belgium is similar to that for Belgian citizens.