Belgium is a small beautiful country known for its wonderful medieval towns, well-preserved Renaissance architecture, and delicious cuisines. It might be small in size, but when it comes to the number of choices, Belgium stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the largest countries in the world.
The application process may seem hard at first for those who have never applied for a visa, but you should have no problems once you get started.
Do You Need a Visa to Go to Belgium?
If you want to visit Belgium, then you might need to apply for a Belgium visa. You don’t need a tourist visa to go to Belgium if:
- Your country is part of the Schengen Area or the EEA/EU.
- You are from the US., New Zealand, Australia, Monaco, Republic of Andorra, Japan, or any other country that has reached a visa-free agreement with Schengen.
To study, work, or live in Belgium long-term, everyone who does not come from an EU/EEA country has to apply for a Belgian national visa.
Belgium Visa Types
Depending on your need, you can apply for two types of visas: a Belgian short-stay visa (up to 90 days) and a Belgian long-stay visa (longer than 90 days).
Belgium Short-Stay Visas
- Belgian Schengen visa for tourists and visitors. The Schengen visa is the same as the Belgium tourist visa. As a visitor, you can stay in the country for up to 90 days.
- Belgium Transit Visa. The transit visa is a permit for travelers who have to enter the Schengen zone only to switch their means of transport.
Belgium Long-Stay Visas (D-Visa)
People who want to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days have to apply for a long-stay visa (visa D), depending on the purpose of travel:
- Belgium Student visa. You can apply for this visa if you want to study in Belgium; usually, it is valid for six months, but it may last until your study program is over.
- Belgium Work visa. You can apply for a work visa if you want to work in Belgium. You usually need an employer in Belgium who will sponsor you for this type of visa, but this requirement may vary.
- Belgium Dependent visa. Also referred to as a family reunion visa, this visa is issued if you have a family member, usually a partner, living in Belgium, and you want to join them. Your dependent visa is usually issued for the same duration as the visa of your partner.
Belgium Residence Permit
After you travel to Belgium with a long-term (D) visa, you have to apply for a residence permit to live there long term. The residence permit then replaces the D visa.
You need both a visa and a permit to study, work, or live in Belgium longer than three months. The Belgian Embassy issues a D visa before you travel, whereas the Immigration Authorities in Belgium issue residence permits after you enter the country.
Documents Required for a Belgium Visa
To apply for a Belgium Visa, you have to collect a set of documents that the Belgium embassy requires. The documents required to apply for a Belgium visa are:
- Belgium visa application form.
- Two identical photos.
- Your passport.
- Copies of your previous visas (if applicable).
- Language Preference Form.
- A cover letter.
- Round-trip Flight Itinerary.
- Schengen Travel Insurance.
- Proof of accommodation.
- Proof of civil status.
- Proof of sufficient financial means for the period of stay in Belgium.
How to Apply For a Belgium Visa?
Here are the steps you need to take to apply for a Belgium visa:
- Fill in your visa application form. Make sure to fill in all your personal information as required.
- Collect all your documents. After filling your application, make sure you collect the correct documents for the type of Belgium visa you are applying.
- Find out where you need to apply for a visa to Belgium. Choose one of the nearest authoritative offices:
- The Belgian Embassy in your country of residence
- One of the Belgian consulates
- A Visa Application Center to which Belgium has outsourced visa submission
- The Embassy/Consulate of another Schengen country to which Belgium has outsourced visa submission.
- Make an appointment. After you are done with the documents, you need to schedule an appointment via email or in-person to deliver them.
- Attend the visa interview. You will answer questions related to the reasons why you are going to Belgium.
Belgium Visa Processing Time
Typically, the processing time for the Belgium Schengen visa is up to 15 days. It can take longer in cases when:
- The number of applicants is too high – up to 30 days.
- Additional documents are required – up to 45 days.
- In extraordinary cases – up to up to 60 days.
It is recommended to apply for the Belgium short-stay visa as soon as possible, at least within three months of your planning trip.
How Much Does a Belgium Visa Cost?
These are the tourist visa fees for Belgium:
- For an adult: €80
- For children (six to twelve years): €40
- For children (under six years): Free
Belgium Visa Duration
The duration of a Belgium visa is up to 90 days within 180 days. The days you spend in other countries that are part of the Schengen Area are included in this period. Your Belgium visa can be issued for:
- A single entry; you can enter Belgium or other countries in the Schengen Zone only once. You can stay up to 90 days (or less if stated on your visa), but you cannot re-enter once you leave.
- Multiple entries; you can enter Belgium or other countries in the Schengen Zone multiple times within 180 days. You must not exceed 90 days overall.
If you received a long-stay visa, then once you are in Belgium, you have to convert it into a residence permit to stay longer than 90 days.
Please do not break the 90/180 Schengen visa rule, not even for one day; otherwise, you may face consequences, such as being refused visas in the future.
Remember: Although a Belgium visa can be issued for up to 90 days, the Embassy/Consulate may issue it for a shorter time.
Can I Extend a Belgium Visa?
Yes, you can extend your Belgian Schengen visa, but only in exceptional and unexpected cases, such as:
- Humanitarian reasons.
- Medical reasons.
- Force majeure – if something serious happens to your home country as a natural disaster, extreme weather conditions, major political riot.
- Important personal reasons.
What If My Belgium Visa Application Is Rejected?
These are your options if your Belgium visa is rejected:
- Apply for a new Schengen visa. You can always apply again after your visa has been rejected.
- Appeal your rejection. Before doing it, you must be very confident that your application was wrongly rejected. After deciding to appeal the refusal, you should do some work on it.
- Apply for a national visa to a Schengen country. If the purpose of your travel was not in line with a Schengen visa (e.g. you wanted to work or study in Belgium), you may need a national (D-type) visa, which is for extended stays. The application process for a national visa is separate from the Schengen visa process.
The common reasons why your visa application gets rejected could be insufficient information about your purpose of travelling, false documents, damaged passport, past or current criminal actions, lack of a travel itinerary, invalid letter of reference, invalid travel insurance, and more.
Do US Citizens Need a Visa for Belgium?
US citizens with valid US passports do not need a transit visa, tourist, or business visa. US citizens can stay for up to 90 days in the Schengen area within a sixth-month period.
You have to obtain a Belgian residence permit for longer stays (such as for studies or work).