How long does it take to process a visa:
48 hours to 8 weeks, depending on nationality and resident status, and whether applying by post or in person. Certain nationals must apply in person.
1. WORKING IN BELGIUM
Documents required for the visa
When applying for a visa, you need to present the following documents in person at the embassy or consulate responsible for your place of residence:
1. A travel document (e.g. national passport) valid for at least 12 months, in which a visa can be affixed.
2. Two visa application forms duly completed, signed and accompanied by two recent passport photos bearing a true likeness to the applicant.
3. Your original valid type B work permit (permis de travail B/arbeidskaart B) (that your employer in Belgium must request – see below).
4. An extract from your judicial record dating from no more than six months prior to the date of application and covering the previous five years.
5. A medical certificate filled out by a doctor approved by the Belgian embassy or consulate and dated no more than six months prior to the date of application (only in case you did not apply for a work permit). A medical certificate is not required if you have already submitted this at the time of application for a work permit.
The documents listed above are merely the basic documents required in all cases. Additional documents may be requested by the embassy or consulate.
Official documents issued abroad must be legalised or bear an apostille, depending on the country whence they originated, unless a treaty provides for exemption from this process.
Documents issued abroad in a language other than Dutch, English, French or German must be translated by a sworn translator.
Employer permit (autorisation d¿occupation/arbeidsvergunning) and work permit (permis de travail/arbeidskaart)
– Your employer in Belgium must request an employer permit and a work permit from the relevant sub-regional employment service depending on where the company’s head office is established (VDAB, FOREM or ORBEM/BGDA). Apart from certain exceptions (e.g. highly qualified staff, researchers, trainees or au pairs), employer permits are only issued if there are no workers or not enough workers on the Belgian labour market for the sector in question due to its specific characteristics and if there is an international agreement.
– Nationals from countries in the European Economic Area do not have to have a work permit. A transition regulation applies to citizens of new EU Member States. Further information on this subject and on employer and work permits in general is available in Dutch and French at www.meta.fgov.be (see Emploi de travailleurs étrangers / Tewerkstelling van buitenlandse werknemers) and from:
Long periods of residence in Belgium (at least 3 months)
Aliens coming to Belgium for employment purposes
1. Paid employment
Aliens wishing to come to Belgium for employment purposes must submit an application for a Type D visa to the Belgian diplomatic or consular authorities competent for their place of residence. To this effect, the aliens must provide, inter alia, the following documents:
- a work permit
- a recent certificate of good conduct covering the last five years
- a medical certificate
- Visa applicants must be aware that the documents referred to only constitute the basic documents that have to be submitted in every case. Other additional documents may be required by the Belgian diplomatic or consular representation, taking into account the circumstances relating to the file or to the specific context of the applicant’s country of origin.
The work permit must be sought by the Belgium-based employer, or his representative, from the sub-regional employment service which covers the employer’s place of business (VDAB, FOREM or ORBEM).
Apart from exceptional cases (for example highly qualified personnel, management executives, researchers, trainees, young au pairs, etc), work permits are issued only when there are not enough workers available on the labour market for the sector in question or for the specialisation concerned, and in the case of workers who are nationals of countries linked to Belgium by international agreements or Conventions on the employment of workers.
Further information about work permits may be obtained from the following addresses: