Expats and foreigners visiting Belgium may require a visa before entering the country. As Belgium is part of the Schengen visa area, travellers who don’t have an EU passport or one from of a list of visa-exempt countries will be required to apply for a Schengen visa before arrival.
All travellers entering Belgium should have a passport that is valid for at least three months, regardless of their country of citizenship.
Schengen visas for Belgium
Those who apply for a Schengen visa for Belgium will need to gather the required documents, complete a visa application form, and submit these to the Belgian consulate or embassy in their home country before they travel. Processing time can vary, so applicants should be sure to submit their application well before their intended departure date.
In some cases, applicants may be asked to provide additional documents at the discretion of the Belgian embassy or consulate. It's common for an applicant to be asked for proof of employment and proof of residence in their home country as an indicator that they will return home after their trip.
Expats wanting to travel to Belgium for business purposes will likely have to include a letter of invitation from the Belgian business party who will be hosting them and a letter from their local employer stating their duties in Belgium. Those attending a conference will often need proof of registration and accommodation.
Residence visas for Belgium
Expats wanting to stay in Belgium for longer than 90 days may require a residence permit, depending on their nationality. The procedure for getting a residence permit for Belgium may seem complicated. However, provided an applicant has all the correct paperwork and has followed the right procedures, the process should be a smooth one.
Anyone intending to stay in Belgium for the long term is required to report their presence in the country to their local commune within 10 working days after arrival. These new arrivals will usually need to produce their passport and identity card and will then be issued with a Declaration of Presence.
Citizens of non-EU countries who wish to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days will need to arrange a residence visa before arriving. Non-EU nationals also need to register their presence at their local commune and should obtain a foreigner identity card after moving into a permanent residence. Non-EU expats moving to the country for employment will most likely also need a work permit for Belgium.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.