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Do you need a visa when moving to Belgium?

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When planning to move to Belgium, several important considerations come into play. One crucial aspect is determining whether you require a visa for your stay. This article will explore the diverse categories of visas, specifying who is obligated to obtain a Belgian visa and provide information on the process for applying for Belgian citizenship.

Do you need a visa for your move to Belgium?

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When you come from one of the following countries, you are not required to apply for a visa before moving to Belgium:

  • An EU/EEA country or the Schengen area countries;
  • One of the countries that has a visa-free agreement with Schengen.

It is important to note that both the Schengen visa, as well as the visa waiver program allow a maximum stay of ninety days. If you fall within these categories, it is crucial to consider the duration of your intended stay in Belgium. If you plan to be living in Belgium for longer than ninety days, one of the entry requirements for Belgium is the possession of the correct visa.

You should initiate the process for the Schengen visa or the visa waiver well in advance, because it can take up to four weeks to be processed.

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Contact CallMePower for more information about the necessary procedures when moving. (English- and Spanish-speaking advisors available)

What types of visas for Belgium exist?

If you are moving to Belgium from a country that is not EU / EEA, such as the United States or the United Kingdom, it is essential to apply for a long-term visa to ensure a legal transition. Depending on your specific circumstances and purpose of relocation, there are various visa options available to consider:

  • Employee visa: this type of visa requires your prospective employer in Belgium to obtain authorization on your behalf. Coordinate the initiation of the application process with your employer.
  • Self-employed visa: to apply for a self-employed visa, you need a federal authorization. Read more about acquiring the federal authorization for a self-employed visa.
  • Student visa: if you intend to pursue studies in Belgium you need to apply for a student visa. The application process typically involves submitting several documents, including proof of sufficient funds to cover your expenses and an acceptance letter from a recognized university or educational institution.
  • Research visa: usually, scientists and postdocs do not need to acquire a work permit.
  • Specialist visa: specialist visas are available for specific circumstances, such as interns or au pairs. Additionally, if you have a partner who holds Belgian citizenship, you may be eligible to apply for a specialist visa based on this familial connection.

Moving to Belgium without a job can be challenging, because most residence permits are focused on working expats. If you want to move to Belgium, you are in most cases required to hold a study or work authorization.

How to apply for a Belgian visa?

To ensure a smooth visa application process for Belgium, it is advisable to apply well in advance of your intended move. The application fee typically amounts from € 80 to € 180 and must be paid upon submitting the visa application, before the Belgium visa appointment. Here are the recommended steps to follow:

  • Make an appointment at the Belgium Embassy in your country. If there is no Belgian Embassay in your country, you should apply through the consulate which is competent for the application.
  • Fill in the visa application form. This should be done before the Belgium visa appointment
  • Collect your documents. Some of the documents required for a Belgium visa are a passport, photos, travel insurance and the visa application form.
  • Ensure correct photos. The Belgian visa photo requirements are that the photo must have a size dimension of 45 mm x35 and should have a white background with full-color display.
  • Attend the interview. The interview will consist of questions regarding your motivations for the move, as well as whether you have visited the area before.

Whether the Belgium visa is difficult to obtain, is largely affected by whether you submit the necessary documents with precision, as it enhances the likelihood of obtaining a visa. The Belgium visa procession time can take up to fifteen working day.

How to apply for Belgium citizenship?

If you are looking to apply for Belgium citizenship after moving to Belgium, there are several main paths to become a Belgian citizen:

  • Having Belgian parents;
  • Being adopted by a Belgian national;
  • Marrying a person with Belgian citizenship;
  • Declaration of citizenship by residence.

The most common way for people that have immigrated to Belgium is to get Belgian citizenship by residence. Nonetheless, you need to have lived in the country for an uninterrupted period of at least five years before you can apply for citizenship. It is advisable to consult official government sources to ensure accurate and up-to-date information regarding the specific requirements and procedures for acquiring Belgian citizenship.

What if your application is rejected?

If your application is rejected, you have the possibility to appeal the rejection or apply for a new Belgium visa. The appeal can only be brought within thirty days of the rejection being announced.

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Declaration of Citizenship by Residence in Belgium

Aside from having lived in Belgium five years, there are several other requirements that you have to meet when applying for citizenship by residence in Belgium. These include the other things:

  • Being at least 18 years of age;
  • Speaking at least one of the three national languages;
  • Being integrated into society by having;
    • Proof of degree or work;
    • Proving that you are unable to work,
    • Proof that you have reached pensionable age.
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