You are here

Self-employment

Professional card

Foreign nationals wishing to settle in Belgium and be self-employed must hold a professional card (more info in French or in Dutch) authorising them to exercise their profession.

The professional card is a form of permit for people who:

  • are not Belgian citizens;
  • are not citizens of a Member State of the European Economic Area (EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland;
  • have not been exempted from the requirement to have a permit for other reasons.

Applications for professional cards must be submitted:

  • either to the Belgian diplomatic or consular representation in the country of residence, if the applicant lives abroad;
  • or to the Belgian municipal authorities responsible for the applicant’s place of residence.

You can find more information on the professional card via the website of the FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-employment and Energy (in French or in Dutch).

Download the application form for a professional card for foreigners (pdf in French or Dutch).

Going to a business one-stop shop

Approved business one-stop shops support people who wish to be self-employed as they go through the process for doing so. These organisations issue them with a unique company number that they need to register with the Crossroad Bank for Entreprises. People wishing to become self-employed also have to:

More information about :

  • the business one-stop shops is available from the website of the FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-employment and Energy (in French or in Dutch).
  • the unique company number (in French or in Dutch)
  • the Crossroad Bank for Entreprises from (in French or in Dutch)

Access to your profession

The road to becoming self-employed does not end with a professional card and the procedure mentioned above. You must also prove that you have certain knowledge, such as basic management knowledge and professional knowledge. Business one-stop shops can help with this.

The ‘Economy’ section of the portal features a list of formalities to complete to become self-employed (in French or Dutch).

More information on the 'Starting your own business' pages of the FPS Economy’s website (in French or in Dutch)