Foreign nationals who wish to come and live in the country for a long time may be required to obtain a visa for their first entry into the country. There are several types of visas in Belgium and they depend on the reason for the stay. Interested individuals should note that there is a difference between the visa and the Belgium residence permit and not all foreign nationals are required to apply for the first one.
The visa is not required for EU/EEA nationals but for foreign nationals of third-countries that have not signed a visa liberalization agreement with the EU.
Our team of agents who specialize in Belgium immigration can provide complete assistance during the visa application process, including details about the needed documents according to the purpose of stay. Moving to another country is an important choice and one that will involve several steps, including but not limited to obtaining the right type of visa or Belgium residence permit. Our team is here to help foreign nationals, irrespective of their country of origin. In this article, we describe the main types of visas in Belgium and the general application requirements, however, immigrants who have different questions can reach out to our agents for more details.
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What are the main types of visas in Belgium?
Several types of visas allow foreign nationals of third countries to enter Belgium. Understandably, the documents required for the application procedure depend on the chosen purpose of stay. A Belgium immigration lawyer from our team can provide more details about each of these types of visas.
The types of visas in Belgium are the following:
- Tourist purposes: for some foreign nationals, visiting Belgium as tourists requires them to obtain a visa; this is limited to 90 days and those who obtain a Schengen visa can also come to the country;
- Family visits: visiting family or friends in Belgium may also be subject to visa requirements, depending on nationality; please note that this is not the same as obtaining a family reunification permit and it is also subject to the 90-day time limit;
- Business and traineeships: short business visits as well as short-term traineeships with a Belgian company or educational institute as long as they do not exceed the 90-day period it is not the same as the employment visa;
- Visa for family reunification: a foreign national can reunite with an individual who is a Belgian citizen or a foreigner who is a resident; this is subject to an evaluation performed by the Immigration office regarding the relationship between the parties; one of our Belgium immigration lawyers can provide more details;
- Visa for marriage or legal cohabitation: this is also known as the C visa and it is issued to an individual who intends to marry or enter into a legal cohabitation in Belgium;
- Study visa: the Belgium visa type D is issued to foreign nationals who wish to study in the country by diplomatic and consular posts, in most cases without consulting the Immigration Office.
The processing time for a visa application in Belgium will depend on the purpose of the stay and whether or not the required documents are provided in full during the first application.
Interested individuals should note that the application is made in person at the Belgian embassy or consulate in their country of origin. In those cases in which no such authority is present in the country, then the application may be submitted to the embassy or consulate in a neighboring country. By reaching out to our Belgium immigration specialists you can find out where to submit the application based on your residence as well as the complete steps that are to be followed.
The Immigration Office is the competent authority in charge of processing visa applications in Belgium. One of our Belgium immigration lawyers can provide more details about the formalities and the applications required by this institution.
Any of these types of visas, when properly renewed to grant residency for a period of at least five years, can allow the holder to become eligible for Belgian citizenship. A foreign national who lives in the country without interruption for at least 5 years is, in principle, eligible. Other important conditions, such as language knowledge and economic participation also apply.
How can a visa be extended in Belgium?
In some cases, the chosen type of Belgian visa will need to be extended, as the purpose of stay modifies or extends. Many foreign nationals who are interested in moving to Belgium do so in order to remain in the country permanently, in which case they will need to renew their visas as required by law in order to be able to apply for permanent residence in Belgium, as a subsequent step for making their stay permanent.
The Foreigners Department of the Immigration Office receives the visa extension applications and evaluates them. A certain fee applies in this case and the applicant will once again be required to submit the passport and other documents, if necessary. We recommend contacting one of our Belgium immigration agents before the expiration date of your visa in order to establish the exact steps that should be taken in your case.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the net migration rate in Belgium is 4.2. migrants per 1,000 individuals of the overall population (a rate estimated for the 2015-2020 period). individuals who are interested in moving here, irrespective of their country of origin, can find out more about visas in Belgium and their extension from our team. We also provide services related to applying for Belgian citizenship.
Belgium visa requirements
As seen above, there are certain requirements according to the type of visa in Belgium. Apart from observing the type of documents that are to be provided with the application, individuals will also need to pay a certain administrative fee that covers the processing of the application. Our team lists the fees applicable to the long-stay visa:
- 62 Euros: when the individual applies for residence as a family member of another foreigner who is allowed to stay in the country for more than three months as well as when he is applying for this visa after having obtained long-term residence in another EU state;
- 204 Euros: when the applicant is applying as the spouse of a foreigner who already has a temporary residence in Belgium as well as when the spouse is allowed to stay in the country for an indefinite period; this fee also applies in several other cases and our agents can provide more details;
- 358 Euros: when the applicant is applying to reside in the country for more than 90 days for employment, research, education, or other purposes.
Please note that the fees may be subject to change. The administrative fee is not payable when the applicant is a minor as well as in several other cases. One of our Belgium immigration lawyers can provide more details about the fee waivers.
Investors who wish to acquire Belgium citizenship by investment are subject to a number of different conditions and requirements. You can reach out to us if you are interested in this option.
Contact us for more information about your chosen type of visa for moving to Belgium. We can provide additional information as well as ongoing assistance during the immigration process.
We offer services to those interested in knowing more about the types of visas, as well as the types of residence permits for Belgium which allow the holder to remain in the country for medium to long term purposes, generally for more than one year. Additionally, we also answer questions about post-arrival mandatory steps, such as registering with the Flemish authorities or those in the other two regions of the country.