Not all foreign nationals need to obtain a Schengen visa for Belgium and, reasonably so, citizens of other Schengen countries or EU countries will not need this document. However, nationals of certain countries still need to comply with the visa requirements. In order to visit Belgium as a tourist, as well as for other short-term purposes such as medical visits or certain business occasions, the Schengen visa is a good alternative because it allows free travel throughout all of the countries included in the zone.
For some foreign nationals, this may suit their purposes very well, however, those who are interested in Belgium immigration will only be able to rely on this visa for a specific purpose and will need to commence different, residency and work permit procedures in order to remain in the country.
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Who needs to apply for a Schengen visa for Belgium?
Residents of third countries and counties that have not reached a visa liberalization agreement with the European Union are required to apply for a Schengen visa. Examples of such countries include Azerbaijan, Belize, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Iraq, Iran, Kosovo, Laos, Liberia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Qatar, South Africa, Syria, and others.
If you are a national of one of the countries mentioned above, as well as others that are subject to visa requirements, please reach out to our Belgium immigration lawyer for personalized assistance.
When should one apply for the Schengen visa?
When Belgium is the only country you will visit, the first country you will arrive at, or the main destination (where you will be staying the longest), you should apply for the Schengen visa for Belgium at a local Embassy or Consulate in your country of origin.
It is important to note that all foreign nationals who plan to stay in the country for more than 90 days will be required to apply for a residency permit and not a Schengen visa or any other type of short-term visa. This also extends to foreign nationals from other countries who are interested in spending more time in the country (for work, study, or family reunification as well as other purposes).
If you are interested in moving to Belgium, you will need to apply for a residence permit and a work permit, as required. This is a separate process and our agents detail this in a dedicated article.
What documents are required for the Schengen visa for Belgium application?
In order to apply for a Schengen visa for Belgium, the applicant will need to present the following documents:
- a valid travel document, such as a passport;
- a valid identity card;
- the filled-in Schengen visa application form (which is a standardized one);
- travel insurance and trip itinerary with flight information;
- proof of accommodation as well as sufficient financial means for the period;
- employment contract;
- other relevant documents such as medical letters for those traveling for medical tourism purposes.
Our Belgium immigration lawyer can provide complete information about the requirements for the Schengen visa. Please reach out to us if you have additional questions and need assistance for the application.
Short and long stays in Belgium
As previously stated, the Schengen visa for Belgium is suitable for some purposes. However, all those who are interested in moving to Belgium should look towards the requirements for long stays in the country, not just short-term periods under 90 days. Residence permits can be awarded in the following situations:
- Employment: finding a job is one of the most common ways to relocate to Belgium; an employment relationship needs to be in place when applying for residency.
- Study: foreign nationals can obtain a residence permit for study purposes once they have been accepted at a Belgian University, such as Ghent University;
- Entrepreneurship: while Belgium does not have a residency by investment programme such as other EU countries, foreign nationals are allowed to open a company and can follow the formalities to remain in the country for running a business; a Belgium immigration lawyer from our team can provide more details;
- Family reunification: if your spouse or another family member is already a Belgian resident, then you are allowed to join him or her, if certain conditions are met.
Foreign nationals who enter Belgium and remain in the country for an uninterrupted period of 5 years based on a valid residence permit (that is issued according to their particular purpose of stay) can also apply for Belgian citizenship. Gaining nationality is subject to a set of more complex requirements, and it is based not only on the aforementioned minimum lawful stay, but also other criteria.
Our team of Belgium immigration agents highlights some facts about Belgium’s population below:
- the current population is 11,581,952;
- 3% of the country’s population is concentrated in urban areas;
- Brussels is the most densely populates city, with 1,019,022 as per recent data.
Are you interested in obtaining a Schengen visa for Belgium or another type of visa or residence permit for Belgium? Please contact our Belgium immigration lawyer for more details.
Foreign nationals who wish to remain in the country for periods longer than those possible through a Schengen visa can reach out to our team for more information about the residence permit in Belgium. Medium to long-term stays are justified by having a purpose to meet the duration of time. Employment and running a Belgian-based company are common reasons. Our team can give you more details.