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Belgium residence permit

Not later than 8 days from the date of arrival to Belgium an alien wishing to acquire residence permit must be registered within the municipal administrative office.

After document verification the residence permit for 1-year term with possible extensions is granted.

Grounds for Belgium residence permit:

Family reunification

A foreign national whose relatives live in Belgium has the right for 1-year period residence permit with possible extensions. The host party is required to document family connections, provide evidences of financial security and availability of dwelling appropriate for visitor’s accommodation.

Family member, who is a Belgium citizen/resident, bears full responsibility for an immigrated individual.

It is important to note that unlike other EU countries, where the citizen/resident have the right for the whole family reunification, in Belgium it is only extended to one person per year.

Foreigners that can be granted residence permit:

  1. Husband/wife of Belgium citizen/resident;
  2. Children under 18 years old in need of custody;
  3. Parents who can not take care of themselves.


The spouse of Belgium citizen/resident has the right for residence permit not only in case of lawful marriage, but also in case of common-law relationship. If this occurs, a civil partnership is registered.

The Belgian state recognizes marriage as official regardless of the country where it was entered into. Spouses are required to prove that the marriage is valid.

If the authorities prove that the marriage is fictitious, the foreigner faces immediate deportation, and the Belgian citizen is fined and prosecuted.


It is required to fulfill a number of conditions before employment in Belgium:

  1. Be comfortable with the English language (in some cases German, French and Dutch languages proficiency is required);
  2. Find a vacancy in accordance with specialization;
  3. Sign an employment contract with an employer;
  4. Receive a work permit in Belgium;
  5. Get a work visa.

Employer is required to prove that this vacancy is closed for Belgian or EU nationals. This is a necessary condition for signing a contract with an alien.

Categories of work permits in Belgium:

    • Category “A” – gives the right to work for an unlimited period, allows to choose a position and change the employer.

    Issued on the basis of 10-year period residency, and at least 4-year period of work with category “B” work permit.

    The exception is the husband/wife of Belgium national. They can obtain category “A” work permit in a year.

    • Category “B” – gives the right to work within a 1-year period without possibility to change the employer. This category can be prolonged.
    • Category “C” – gives the right to work within a 1-year period to aliens temporary residing in Belgium (students, diplomats’ family members, refugees). This category allows changing the employer, as well as the type of employment. The category can be prolonged.
    • “Professional card” – gives the right to work to people occupied in creative professions. Issued for a period of 5 years. The foreign national is obliged to be engaged exclusively in the activities specified in the permit, without the possibility of changing the scope of activities.
    • EU Blue Card – gives the right to work to highly qualified staff.


    1. Contract with an employer for a period of at least 1 year;
    2. Higher education diploma in correspondence with the position and expertise.
    3. Annual earnings in amount of not less than € 52 000 per year, that is stated in contract.

    Higher education

    A foreign national who wants to study at one of Belgian universities has the right for residence permit. Usually it is granted for the whole period of study on the basis of full-time enrollment.

    Main requirements for admission:

    1. Pass the English or one of other official languages proficiency test successfully.
    2. Have a confirmation of Belgium university enrollment;
    3. Confirm the sufficient amount of funds for studying and living in the country;
    4. Pay the application fee in amount of € 700.

    Business Immigration

    A foreign national intended to start a business in Belgium has the right to obtain a residence permit under certain conditions:

    1. Provide a promising business plan;
    2. Provide information on financial opportunities for starting a business;
    3. Provide information on entrepreneurial expertise;
    4. Provide information about business contacts.

    For company establishment it is required:

    1. Have a minimum authorized capital of € 18 500;
    2. Appoint a Belgium or EU citizen as a company’s managing director with a minimum annual salary of € 30 000;
    3. Provide at least two positions for Belgian citizens.

    Foreign nationals can also buy a working business in Belgium.

    Once the documentation process is completed, a residence permit for a period of 1 or 2 years (at the discretion of officials) with possible extensions is granted to an alien, provided that the business is profitable and taxes of at least 30% on business profits are paid. 

    Another opportunity for business immigration is considerable investment in the development of the country’s economy (at least 1 million euros).


    A foreign citizen whose life or health is in danger at his home country has the right to seek asylum in Belgium.

    He is required to apply for asylum when crossing the state border or no later than 8 days after arriving in Belgium.

    Upon application the alien is settled in a special camp, before a decision to grant refugee status is made.

    An alien is required to be interviewed for the final decision on granting refugee status.

    Upon approval he has the right for residence permit in Belgium for a period specified by the government on the basis of refugee status.

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