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Complete guide to obtaining a visa to study in Belgium, requirements, and FAQs

If you are an international student looking to study abroad, Belgium has an excellent educational system and affordable tuition. And, you have the opportunity to study programs in English, Dutch, German, or French.

Do I Need a Visa to Study in Belgium?

Yes, you need a student visa if you are an international student from a country with no visa agreement with Belgium. You do not need to apply for a Belgian student visa if:

  • You are from the EU or EEA.
  • You live in one of the Schengen countries.
  • You are from the US., Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Monaco, Republic of Andorra. If you are from one of these countries, you can directly apply for a residence permit after entering Belgium.

Belgium Student Visa Application Steps

The application process for a Belgium student visa is as follows:

  1. Be accepted at a university in Belgium. Before applying for a student visa, you should first find the most suitable university for yourself. After you are accepted at the university, you can apply for a student visa.
  2. Fill in your visa application form. You should download the application form, print it, and fill it.
  3. Collect all the required documents. You should prepare the needed documents before applying for the visa. All the documents should be legalized or apostilled, so you should check them beforehand.
  4. Schedule a visa appointment. You should make an appointment at the embassy or consulate to submit your visa application. Without an appointment, you won’t be able to apply.
  5. Get ready for the interview. You will be asked to enter an interview, where you will be asked questions regarding your study plans in Belgium and your future goals.

Belgium Student Visa Requirements

These are the documents you should provide when you apply for a Belgium student visa:

  • Student visa application form. You need to print out the application form, fill it with your correct information and sign it at the end. The application form contains questions such as: 
    • Your name and surname.
    • Your date and place of birth.
    • Your current nationality.
    • Your gender.
    • Your civil status.
    • Your current occupation.
    • Your intended stay in the Schengen area, etc.
  • Passport. You need to have a valid passport during the whole time you plan to stay in the Schengen area. Your passport must have at least two blank pages for your visa to be attached.
  • Two pictures of you. As per Schengen visa photo requirements, you need to include two identical photos of you taken within six months. The photos should be colored and clear. You should stay neutral (do not smile, raise your eyebrows, or grimace).
  • Health insurance. It must cover the entire period of your studies in Belgium
  • Proof of your financial means. You need to prove that you have sufficient income when you live in Belgium for your studies. The required amount is €666 per month.
  • Proof of admission. You have to prove that you have been accepted into a Belgium university.
  • A supporting letter. In this letter, you should explain why you chose to study in Belgium and what program you have been accepted.
  • Proof of English language proficiency. 
    • You have to prove that you know English enough to understand your academic course. 
    • The TOEFL or IELTS certificate is accepted, and the required score depends on the university you have applied to. 
    • Some universities may ask for a higher score than others. 
    • The only university in Belgium that does not require language proficiency is Ghent University, a public university.
  • Proof of non-criminal conviction. You need to prove that you do not have any criminal record (only over 21).
  • High school diploma. You need the original copy of your high school diploma.

Make sure to contact the embassy in case you are asked to bring additional documents. Moreover, all the documents in a language other than English, French, Dutch, or German must be translated by a certificated translator.

Belgium Student Visa Financial Requirements

When applying for a student visa, you must prove that you have enough income to support yourself while studying and living in Belgium. Your income should be around €666 per month, including medical care, accommodation, living, and study costs. 

Depending on your situation, you should explain how you are going to provide your financial requirements:

By yourself.If you finance yourself, you need to show your bank statements.
By your family or sponsor.If your family or a sponsor will finance you, you need a statement of sponsorship and support to prove it.
A scholarship.If you have won a scholarship to study in Belgium, you need to prove that you are a scholarship recipient, and it will finance your stay in Belgium.

Belgium Student Visa Fees

The student visa costs about €200, including the application process and administrative fees.

After Arriving in Belgium: Student Residence Permit

After you arrive in Belgium, you have eight days to register at your local administration office and get your residence card. This card will allow you to stay in Belgium for the duration of your study course.  You can renew your residence permit every year until your course ends.

EU students do not need a residence permit, but they have to register their stay if they intend to stay longer than three months.

Duration of a Belgian Student Visa

Usually, a Belgian student visa is issued for one to two years. However, it depends on your program of study. You can renew your visa if your study program lasts more than your visa duration.

Belgium Visa Extension for Students

If you need to extend your visa, you should apply for an extension of your residence permit. You should make an appointment at least 14 days before your expiration date. You have to apply at your local administration office or town hall. 

Can You Work on a Student Visa in Belgium?

As an international student, you can work 20 hours a week during the semester, but only if the working hours do not affect your studies. During semester breaks and on holidays, you can work full time.  

You will receive a single permit, which allows you to live, study, and work in Belgium. As of January 2020, international students no longer need a type C work permit.

Can I Take My Family Members to Belgium on a Student Visa?

As a student living in Belgium, you have the right to bring your spouse and dependent children with you through a Belgium dependent visa. You must:

  • Find a suitable place for you and your family to live. 
  • Obtain Belgian health insurance for all your family members.
  • Be able to support your family financially during your time in Belgium.

Your family can stay in Belgium as long as your visa is valid.

Can I Switch From Student to Work Visa in Belgium?

Yes, you can switch your student visa to a work visa. If you do not have a job in Belgium yet, you can stay at least nine months after you have completed your studies, and within this period, you can search for a job in Belgium. 

However, you will need to apply for a change of your residence status from a student visa to a Belgium work visa at your local town hall. You should have to do this as long as you are still staying legally in Belgium.

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