Belgium is one of the most attractive countries for immigrants from all over the world. The population, which in 2024 will number more than 11.7 million people, is almost a quarter made up of foreign citizens and persons who have taken Belgian citizenship. The country has three official languages – French, Dutch, German, rich culture and traditions, high standard of living, stable economy, comfortable geographical location, wonderful cuisine and many more advantages in terms of potential immigration.

Residence permit in Belgium

The concentration in Belgium of a mass of the most important international political and economic organizations significantly increases the total number of foreigners temporarily or permanently residing in the country. In order to move to Belgium for a long period of time, more than 3 months, you will need to obtain a residence permit. Of course, there must be legal grounds for this, such as official employment, business registration, training, family reunification and some other reasons. Next, let's find out how to get a residence permit in Belgium and take a closer look at the main ways.

How to obtain a residence permit in Belgium

Citizens from third countries, i.e. non-European Union countries, to obtain a residence permit in Belgium, first of all, they should apply to the Belgian Consulate in their country and open a long-term visa (type D). Employees of the diplomatic department will provide the necessary assistance in the preparation of documents and clarify the individual requirements for foreigners, depending on the purpose of the move.

After your arrival in Belgium, you must go to the municipal administrative office (maison communale/gemeentehuis) of your place of residence within 8 days to register in the register of foreigners. This is a compulsory procedure for all persons planning to stay in Belgium for more than 3 months. It is very important to collect the maximum number of documents confirming the legal stay in the country and the right to obtain a Belgian residence permit.

Depending on the situation, the requirements for the list of documents may vary, we will highlight the main ones:

  1. A valid passport.

  2. A minimum of four color photographs.

  3. Medical insurance.

  4. Certificate of absence of criminal record and dangerous diseases.

  5. Proof of residence in Belgium (rental agreement or real estate in ownership).

  6. Proof of financial security (bank statement, employment contract, scholarship and so on).

  7. Grounds for obtaining a residence permit – work permit, enrollment in a university, marriage certificate and other reasons.

Within a few weeks the documents are under consideration and in case of a positive decision the foreigner receives a special ID-card, in other words, a residence permit. Initially, the residence permit is issued for one year with the right to extend it. Continuous residence in Belgium for more than 5 years allows you to obtain permanent residence, and under certain conditions and citizenship.

More details about the ID-card can be found on the official website of the Belgian Immigration Department, where in addition to French and Dutch, information is available in English.

Grounds for obtaining a residence permit in Belgium

Residence permit in Belgium for the purpose of family reunification

Family members and financially dependent relatives can join a foreigner with a residence permit in Belgium:

  • Legal spouses and partners.

  • Minor children (under 18 years of age), including adopted children. Dependent relatives, including adult children and parents, if guardianship is formalized.

To obtain a residence permit in Belgium on the basis of family reunification, the immigrant will need to document the kinship, as well as to have sufficient living space and income level for the residence in the country of all relatives.

Residence permit in Belgium for the purpose of employment

For professional immigration to Belgium with the subsequent obtaining of a residence permit, first of all, it is necessary to find a Belgian employer who will issue a foreigner a work permit. It is not easy to do this. The level of qualification, language skills and education, and most importantly, competition with local citizens and Europeans, play a key role in this matter.

Depending on the length of stay in the country, the status of the foreigner and some other factors, there are different types of work permits in Belgium (A,B,C). However, the most prestigious way of employment is the Blue Card EU (Blue Card EU). The document is issued only to highly qualified specialists with sufficient experience and a salary of at least 61 thousand euros per year.

Residence permit in Belgium for the purpose of studying

Studying at one of the Belgian universities implies registration of a residence permit. Belgium has a high quality education, diplomas of local universities are quoted almost worldwide, a large number of programs are presented in English. In most cases, a residence permit is issued only when enrolling in an accredited educational institution on a full-time basis. Basic requirements for a foreign student:

  • Confirmation of enrollment in a Belgian university.

  • Proof of financial means to live in Belgium. The amount should not be less than 670 euros per month.

On average, the cost of education in Belgian universities for third-country nationals (outside the EU) is 4,175 euros per year.

Residence permit in Belgium for business purposes

Investment attractiveness of Belgium is known all over the world. This is due to its favorable geographical location, high income level of the population, effective tax policy of the government, transparent legal system and many other factors. One of the main conditions for obtaining a residence permit in Belgium by foreigners due to business activities in the country is the registration of a professional card.

Only the presence of this document will allow you to fully conduct business in Belgium and, accordingly, to obtain a residence permit. Local officials consider each application in detail, namely the prospects of the business project, financial capabilities, experience and skills of the entrepreneur, and most importantly, the future effect of a particular type of activity for the Belgian economy.

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