To come to Belgium as a foreigner you must be able to present certain identity and residence documents. Otherwise, you will be unable to gain access to Belgian territory.
For EU citizens, the identity card or a passport is generally sufficient. Foreigners with another nationality may need a visa. To come to Belgium for a long period or permanently, there are other types of residence status.
The documents needed will depend on:
- the nationality of the person who wants to come to Belgium
- the length of the stay in Belgium
- the purpose of the stay in Belgium
What is a visa?
A visa is a sticker which is put in your passport at the consulate. It allows you to stay in Belgium for a given period, or to travel through it. The issue of visas is the responsibility of the FPS Foreign Affairs.
There are different sorts of visa. When you apply at the embassy or consulate you will be told directly which kind of visa you need.
You must apply for a visa at the Belgian Embassy or the consulate in the country where you live.
If there is no Belgian embassy or consulate in the country where you live, you must apply to the Belgian Embassy which had been appointed for your country. This is usually in a neighbouring country.
In some cases, the visa application procedure may take a long time. You are advised to make your application at least four weeks before you plan to travel.
All the information about visas for Belgium can be found on the web site of the FPS Foreign Affairs. You can also always ask for information at the local Belgian embassy or consulate.
Other types of residence status
If you want to stay for a very long period or permanently in Belgium, you will need another residence document after your visa has expired.
For more information about these residence documents, it is best to contact the Department of Federal Immigration.