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List of the Belgian long stay visas, differences with the Schengen visa, and requirements

A Belgium long-stay visa, also known as visa D, allows you to enter Belgium to apply for a residence permit. The residence permit then allows you to stay in Belgium long-term. However, before you start the visa application, you need to decide which type of visa you are applying for since that also determines the residence permit you receive.

Depending on your purpose of living in Belgium and the visa you are applying for, you may notice slight changes in the application process and form. Below you find types of long-stay visas and what you need to apply for a visa D.

Difference Between a Belgium Schengen Visa and D Visa

Although the Belgium national visa and the Schengen visa have roughly the same duration, the difference between to two is:

Belgium long-stay (D) visaDuration of about three to six months, but once you are in Belgium, you can get a residence permit and permanently live there.
Belgium Schengen visaDuration of about three to six months, but once the visa expires, you have to leave Belgium. You cannot get a residence permit if you have a Schengen visa.

Types of Visa D for Belgium

These are the types of Belgium long-stay visas known as Visa D:

  • Belgium Student visa. This type of visa allows you to study in Belgium for as long as your study program is over. You need to apply for a student visa after being admitted to one of Belgium’s universities.
  • Belgium Work visa. This is a type of visa which allows you to work in Belgium. You need to apply for a work visa after an employer has invited you from Belgium. To be sure of this requirement, you should contact the embassy or consulate.
  • Belgium Dependent visa. This visa is a family reunion visa that allows you to stay with a family member or a partner living in Belgium. Usually, the duration of this visa is the same as your partner or family member.

Who Needs a Long-Stay Visa D for Belgium?

Since a long-stay visa is not the same as a Schengen visa, even citizens from countries that have a visa-free agreement with Schengen must apply for a Belgium visa D. These are the countries that are free from the visa D requirement:

  • European Union.
  • Iceland.
  • Liechtenstein.
  • Monaco.
  • Norway.
  • Switzerland.

Application for a Long-Stay Visa D for Belgium

The process for applying for a Belgium long-stay visa is as follows: 

  1. Find out where to apply.
    • You can apply at one of the following:
    • The Belgium Embassy or the Consulate.
    • The visa application center, such as VFS.
    • Another Schengen country’s embassy or consulate that Belgium has outsourced visa submission.
  2. Schedule an appointment. Contact the Belgian embassy or consulate for an appointment; you can not submit your application without making an appointment.
  3. Fill the Belgium national visa application form. You should fill your application in the proper form. Usually, the embassy or consulate will provide the form for you, but you can find it online too (check the Embassy’s website). You will need to give your data such as your name and surname, gender, date, and place of birth, your civil status. Also, you will have to answer questions about your travel purpose, etc.
  4. Collect the required documents. You should prepare all the documents before you attend the interview. The documents change depending on the visa type, so the embassy or consulate will provide you with a complete list of the required documents.
  5. Submit the documents in your visa interview. On your appointment day, make sure not to forget any document; otherwise, your visa application can be canceled or be postponed.
    Other than submitting your documents, you also have to attend an interview. In the interview, you will mostly face questions about your purpose of staying in Belgium and personal questions.
  6. Pay the Belgium visa fee. The embassy will let you know when and how to pay the visa fee since some embassies require you to pay before the interview, while others can ask you to pay in advance and bring a receipt with you.

Belgium Visa D Requirements

Belgium long-stay visa requirements depend on the type of visa you plan to apply for. You may be required to provide additional documents, but these are the standard documents you should bring for your Schengen visa interview. 

  • Long-stay visa application form. The Belgium Embassy or Consulate or the visa application center will give you the application form. Sometimes, it may be available to download on their website. 
  • Valid passport.
    • Your passport should be valid and should have at least two empty pages so the visa officers can affix your visa.
    • Your passport should be issued within ten years.
    • Your passport should be valid even after you return from the Schengen area. The validation must be for at least three months more.
  • Two passport photos. You should bring two photos of you, in the form the Schengen visa requires pictures to be.
    • Your picture should be taken recently, within the past six months.
    • Your picture size must be 35x40mm in sharp focus and clear.
    • Your picture must be in color, not black and white.
  • Health insurance. You must have health insurance that covers you for the entire stay in Belgium.
  • Civil status. You must bring any civil status documents that are required of you.
    • Birth certificate.
    • Marriage certificate.
    • Death certificate, etc.
  • Visa fee payment. 
    • You can pay your visa fee at the embassy or consulate or at the visa application center.
    • In most cases, you need to pay your Schengen visa fee via cash.
    • Usually, you have to pay the visa fee before your visa interview, and the embassy asks you to bring the receipt with you. However, the embassy will let you know when and how you need to make the payment.

Cost of the Belgium Visa D

The fee for a long-stay Belgium visa is €180, regardless of whether you apply for a student, work, or family visa. 

How to Turn a Belgium Visa D into a Residence Permit?

Within eight days of entering Belgium, you have to turn the long-stay visa into a Belgium residence permit at your local administration office or town hall (maison communale/gemeentehuis). You will need to register on the Foreigner’s Register to get your A residence card. You also need to bring with you your passport and passport photos.

What To Do If My Belgium Long-Stay Visa Gets Rejected?

If your Belgium long-stay visa gets rejected, you have the opportunity to appeal your refusal, but only if you have substantial proof or beliefs that your visa has been unjustly revoked. You can contact the Belgium embassy or consulate where you have applied and ask them to review your visa application.

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