Departure to Brussels

Passport, Visa & Permits to Brussels

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To enter Belgium, foreign nationals must show a valid ID. In certain cases a visa is also mandatory. Eventually they must have enough income to sustain their needs during their stay in Belgium or be able to earn their wage legally.

A visa is often required to stay/live in the country of your destination. You must request the form and get the information to the Belgian Consulate when you are still in your country of origin.

Do not mix consulate and embassy. The embassy is the representation of the State in a foreign country and is in charge of all the relations with the government of the country where located. The consul protects and administrates the community coming from his country. However, you must usually live for 6 months in the country before you have to register. You will find all the information by asking the Consulate.

Within 8 days after his/her arrival in Belgium, the immigrant must go to the public administration of his/her residence.

Citizens of a country outside the European Union

Except with a specific agreement, those immigrants will have to obtain a visa. There a several types:

C type visa (for business travel for example)
The individual must have an ID (passport or ID card) and a visa if he/she is not a citizen of the European Union, or from the Schengen agreement.
This visa will allow him/her to move during 3 months in the Schengen area, except if the visa is limited to Belgium. The C visa can be for a single short stay (the duration of the stay cannot be more than 90 days), multiple short stay or short stay with multiple entries with a total duration that exceeds 6 months (1,2,3 or 5 years).

D type visa (for example the student visa with the mention stay limited to the duration of the studies - registration in a public institution of education)
It must be a higher education degree (university degree, higher education degree in short or long cycle) or a preparatory year to higher education. This must be the main occupation of the student in Belgium.
The D visa allows to transfer within another Schengen state (Germany, Austria, Danemark, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Island, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Neederland, Portugal and Sweden) for 5 days maximum to go to Belgium.

N.B. D type visa this the motion: "family reunion" regard family, as indicated by the name.

The different Schengen visas are explained here.

Communal administration registration

The immigrant must attend, within 8 days after his/her arrival in Belgium, at the Communal administration. According to the visa on the passport, it will deliver a certificate of registration on the immigration list (C.I.R.E.).

You will find more information on the Immigration Service [FPS Home affairs] website.

The work permit for foreign nationals

If you are a citizen of the European Union or the European Economic Area, you have the right to start working as soon as you arrive in Belgium (there is no need to have a work permit). However you must register at the communal administration from you residence within 8 days.
For the 10 new members of the EU, a transitional period of 2 years is applied in Belgium. You must get a B permit to be able to work.

If you are not a citizen of the EEA, you must have a work permit. Depending on the conditions you may have:

A permit, no-limit : The company that employs the person with this permit has nor condition. There is no authorisation to request for the employer.

B permit (for 12 months, renewable). This permit is delivered on the request of an employer, at the condition that there is no available work force on the market. The request must be submitted before the foreign work force department of the FOREM from the area where you live. Remember: for an au pair, or an internship for example, the request must be done directly before the Immigration department of the Ministry of the French-speaking region, without going to the FOREM.

C permit (for a maximum of 12 months, renewable - granted to some categories of foreign nationals that have only a limited right to stay in Belgium). This permit is delivered on the request of the employee. The employee submits the request to the regional department of the FOREM of his/her residence.

You will find more information on the Employment and Professional Training Department website, the official body for work permits. There are explanation notes and forms to download on each kind of permit.

ADDE (Association pour le Droit des Etrangers - Association for rights of foreigners) may also help you on immigrantion rights in Belgium.

Update 18/11/2005


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