Belgium is the country of waffles, craft beer and glorious Art Nouveau architecture. However, it’s also so much more. It has jobs, culture and opportunities for something new, which is why more and more people are moving to the country.But what steps do you need to take in order to reside there long-term?
Do I Need A Visa To Enter Belgium?
If your passport states that you’re a British citizen, then getting a visa for Belgium is as easy as turning up to the country. This is because if you’re staying for less than three months, you don’t need a visa. If you’re staying in a hotel, hospital or boarding house, you can enter the country and continue on with your travels. However, if you’re staying in another sort of accommodation, you’ll need to report to the municipality with your passport within 10 days of arriving in the country. You’ll then be given an appendix 3ter, which is the documentation that proves that you have arrived on Belgian territory. This is valid for three months.
If you’re not from an EU country, then the visa you will need depends on the agreement your country has in place with Belgium. For example, if you’re travelling with a Schengen visa (otherwise known as visa C), you will be able to travel freely through Schengen countries, so long as you meet the conditions of the Schengen convention. These include having sufficient funds as well as the purpose of your trip.
There are a few different types of Schengen visa available and the one you will need depends upon your reason for visiting Belgium. These include:
– Belgium Airport Transit: You will need this if your travel destination is outside of the Schengen area and you need to transit through a Belgian airport in order to reach the country.
– Belgium Tourist Visa: This is relevant if you’re visiting Belgium on vacation to sightsee and explore.
– Belgium Visitor Visa: You’ll need one of these if you’re visiting family or friends in Belgium.
– Belgium Business Visa: This is for those who are travelling to Belgium to take part in business activities, such as conferences, meetings or networking events on behalf of a company.
– Belgium Visa for Official Visit: This is needed if you’re travelling on an official visit for delegations.
– Belgium Visa for Medical Reasons: The visa for those planning to obtain medical care in a Belgian hospital or clinic.
– Belgium Visa for Study Purposes: Needed if you’re planning on studying (short term) at a Belgian education institute.
– Belgium Visa for Cultural, Sports and Film Crews: This is relevant if you’re planning to attend a cultural or sports activity in Belgium.
For information on what’s needed to apply for a Schengen visa, you can find a full list here.
If you are not staying in a hotel, hospital or boarding house once you arrive in Belgium, you will need to visit the municipality within three days of your arrival to obtain your declaration of arrival document. When you go to do this, you will need to ensure that you take both your passport and your visa with you.
What Visa Do I Need To Stay In Belgium Long Term?
If you’re looking to stay in Belgium for longer than three months and you’re an EU citizen (or a citizen of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein), you’ll be classified as a resident and will need to submit some paperwork to gain a residence permit and validate your stay.
You’ll need to visit your local municipality within three months of your arrival in the country. When you do this, you’ll need to take the following items with you:
– Your passport.
– Documents relating to your employment status.
– A medical check and copy of your health insurance.
– Spare passport photos.
– A payment method to pay the applicable fee.
– Your lease contract.
Once your three months have passed, you’ll have a visit from the police. Don’t worry – this is regulation, and is known as the control of residence. Once this has taken place, you’ll be put onto the register for foreigners and will eventually receive a national number.
However, before this happens your details will be verified. A local police officer will call at the address listed on your rental agreement to check that you live there. Once this is done, a questionnaire will be completed and sent to the local municipality. Questions include whether you return to this place of residence after work, and if it’s the address where utilities for energy consumption are invoiced. If the results of this questionnaire are positive, you’ll be placed on the register successfully and will receive a national number.
Once your paperwork is completed, you’ll be called by the commune to receive your residence permit, often called an Appendix 8. Your local municipality will give this to you. It’s available in two formats: a paper format with unlimited validity, or an electronic card which has a five-year validity but is renewable. If you choose the latter, you will have to order it and activate it by using a puk and pin code which will be delivered to your home.
If you’re looking to stay in Belgium for longer than three months, you’ll be classified as a resident and the paperwork you will need to apply for will differ.
Typically, you’ll be expected to apply for a long-term visa (D visa) whilst still in your home country. However, if you’re already in Belgium at the time of wanting to apply for a long-term visa, you can apply for one directly at the municipality of the location where you’re staying. When doing so, you’ll need to take the following documents:
– A valid passport.
– Additional passport photos.
– Your lease contract.
– A medical certificate.
– Documents pertaining to your employment status (employee, self-employed, family member, trainee and so on).
– A good conduct certificate issued from your home country which is not older than six months.
– A payment method to cover the associated fee. This varies but can be anywhere between €60 and €350.
Once you have checked into the municipality, you’ll receive the declaration of arrival document as mentioned above, which lasts for three months. Once this document expires, you’ll receive a regulation visit from the police (known as a control of residence), where they’ll complete a questionnaire and validity check. Once this has taken place, you’ll be placed onto the ‘aliens’ register and will get a national number. Around the same time, you will get a call from the commune to receive your residence permit, known as the A card. This permit allows ‘aliens’ to travel in the Schengen countries and reside in Belgium for a limited time, usually around one year.