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Even if you are planning a short trip to Belgium, you may still require a Schengen visa or a Belgium airport transit visa. The airport transit visa is for those that need to transit through Belgium to an area outside the Schengen Zone.
A Schengen Zone visa allows you to visit anywhere else in the Schengen Zone on a temporary basis for up to 90 days.
When applying for a Schengen visa, you will be required to provide supporting documentation. This should either be taken with you to your embassy or consulate appointment or be sent along with your application if you are submitting it via post.
Business visas are available for business people who wish to participate in activities that are related to business in Belgium. For this visa, you will typically need supporting documents, such as:
- Invitation letter from the Belgian company
- A certificate from your employer
- Business bank statement, preferably for the last six months
- Memorandum & Article of Association in original certified copy (registered with joint-stock companies)
- Trade License (first issued and present renewal)
- Proof of trip financing
There are two different kinds of work visas, and which one you need will depend on whether or not you are self-employed.
1) Employee visa
Your employer should obtain this visa on your behalf before you arrive in the country. Necessary documents to obtain an employment visa are:
- medical certificate
- passport photos
- completed and signed application forms.
- criminal records disclosure covering the previous year.
2) Self-employed visa
Before you can even apply for a self-employed visa, you will need authorization from the Federal Public Service for Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy. This comes in the form of a “professional card” which you can request from the Belgian embassy. The embassy will require completed and signed application forms, 4 passport-size photos, a project plan, and a criminal records disclosure, in order to consider your request. You should also submit your CV, copies of your education and qualification certificates, and any professional references or letters of recommendation that you might have.
What documents do you need?
The supporting documentation is as follows:
- A signed and completed Belgium visa application form
- Two identical passport-size photos
- Your passport
- Copies of any previous visas
- A Language Preference Form
- Proof of Schengen Travel Insurance, with a minimum €30,000 coverage for medical emergencies and repatriation
- A cover letter – this should state why you wish to visit Belgium and the details of your trip
- A round-trip flight itinerary – this should contain the dates and flight numbers of your entry and exit from Belgium, or the Schengen Zone if you are visiting multiple destinations
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of civil status
Depending on whether you are a citizen of another European country, you may or may not require a work permit. Citizens of the European Union and European Economic Area do not need a work permit. For others intending to work in Belgium, the categories for work permits are as follows:
The A Permit is only available to foreigners who have already been working in Belgium on a B Permit. It is granted to people who have been working in Belgium for a minimum of four out of 10 years. The A Permit does not tie you into a specific job and allows you to change employers if you wish to.
Your employer should obtain this on your behalf before you start working in Belgium. It is valid for one year and you are contractually committed to your employer and the job for this period of time.
The C Permit is suitable for those with limited residency status, such as students or refugees, who want to take up temporary work. C Permits are not tied to a specific job or employer.
Long-term visa application
If as a non-EU citizen you want to stay more than three months in Belgium, you are classified as a resident and will have to go through a range of formalities to obtain a residence permit. In any case, your nationality will evidently not be enough to obtain the right of residence. The general rule is to obtain a D visa (long-term visa) from the Embassy in your home country before you arrive in Brussels. However, in some cases, it is also possible to lodge your application directly in Brussels with the municipal administration in your place of residence.