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Complete guide to obtaining a residence permit in Belgium, the procedures, requirements, and FAQs

The Belgium residence permit is a card issued to foreign nationals who want to live in Belgium for a specific or indefinite period of time. While EU citizens need to present only their passports when moving to Belgium, immigrants from non-EU countries need to apply for a residence permit card.

Types of Belgium Residence Permits

There are two types of residence permits that both allow you to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days:

Type of residence permitDescription
Belgium temporary residence permitIf you want to stay in Belgium for more than three months, you need to apply for a long-stay visa (known as a D visa) for a temporary residency. This residence permit allows you to study, work and live in Belgium for up to five years.
Belgium permanent residence permitAfter you have lived in Belgium for five years, you can apply for permanent residency. Long term residence allows you to stay indefinitely in the country with the same rights as Belgian nationals. It is valid for five years, and it is renewable.

Belgium Temporary Residence Permit

If you want to stay longer than 90 days in Belgium, you should apply for a temporary residence permit in your home country. This is also referred to as a D visa. The types of Belgium temporary residence permits are:

  1. Residence permit for work.
  2. Residence permit for studying.
  3. Residence permit for a family reunion.

Required Documents for Belgium Residence Permit

These are the common documents you have to provide to the Belgian authorities when applying for a temporary residence permit:

  • The application form for a long-stay visa. You should download the application form, print it and fill it.
  • Valid passport. You should have a valid passport for as long as you intend to stay in Belgium.
  • Two identical passport pictures of you. You should have two photos taken recently, and they must fit the Schengen visa photo requirements.
  • Health insurance. You should have health insurance coverage for the period that you will reside in Belgium.
  • Civil status. You should bring any civil status documents such as marriage or birth certificates.
  • Proof of your accommodation in Belgium. You should bring a document proving that you have a place to stay in Belgium. It can be:
    • Apartment rental.
    • Invitation to stay with a family member or friend.
    • Student accommodation.
    • Etc. 
  • Proof of your financial means. You should prove that you have enough money for your trip to Belgium. It can be:
    • A personal bank statement.
    • A document that you are employed.
    • A document that your employer has paid you.
  • Proof by your local police for your good conduct. You should prove with a document that you do not hold any criminal conviction.

Belgium Temporary Residence Permit Fees

The fees for a Belgian temporary residence permit are:

Type of residence permitFee
Temporary residence (D visa)€180
Residence certificate €20

How to Register For a Belgium Residence Permit?

After you arrive in Belgium, you have eight days to go to register your residence permit at the Stadskantoor (City Office).  You will need to bring these documents with you:

  • Your national passport.
  • A recent photo of yours in passport-size, or you can take pictures in the photo booth in the city office.
  • Your required documents such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc., depending on your immigration status.
  • A rental contract or other proof of accommodation.

Make sure to contact the Stadskantoor (City Office) in case you need to bring additional documents.

Can I Renew a Belgium Residence Permit?

Yes, you can renew your Belgium residence permit providing the required documents according to your residential status:

  • If you are working in Belgium based on a host agreement: You have to submit a new host agreement.
  • If you are working in Belgium based on a single permit: You need approval from the immigration office to renew your residence permit.
  • If you are studying in Belgium: You need to submit the documents below:
    • Your national passport or ID card. They must be valid.
    • New registration of your university.
    • The standard form for study progress that the university provides.
    • A transcript of your grades.
    • Proof of financial means.
    • Proof that you have health insurance for the next academic year.
  • If you are living in Belgium because of family reunification: You should bring documents such as:
    • Proof of sufficient financial means.
    • Health insurance coverage for the whole family. 
    • Proof that you do not hold any criminal conviction.

For more information or for additional documents, make sure to contact the city office (Stadskantoor). 

Can I Apply for a Temporary Residence Permit From Inside Belgium?

Yes, if you are already in Belgium, then you can apply for a temporary residence permit from the local municipality office. You have to contact the municipality, set up an appointment (if required), collect the required documents, and submit them on the date of your appointment. 

Belgium Permanent Residence Permit 

Citizens of EU/EEA or Swiss have the right to receive permanent residence immediately after residing in Belgium continuously for five years. If you want to obtain your residence card, you should go to your local municipal office and apply for a document that gives you the right to reside permanently in Belgium. This card is valid for five years, and it is renewable.

Non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizens are also permitted to apply for a permanent residence permit after they have lived in Belgium for five straight years. However, you need to apply for it at your local office. They will send your application for review to the Immigration Office. You will get the residence card if your application is successful. After five years, you can renew your permanent residence card, but you do not need to lodge a new application.

Types of Belgian Permanent Residency

If you have lived in Belgium for five years, you are qualified for permanent residency. Depending on your nationality and your status, you can get one of the following permanent residency cards: 

  • E+ and F+ cards. Only apply to EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals.
  • B, C, and D cards. Only apply to Non-EU nationals.

You should find out which one applies to you:

Electronic residence card type E+.EU, EEA, and Switzerland citizens will receive this card automatically after living five years in Belgium. If you hold the E+ card, you get registered in the civil registry.
Electronic residence card type F+.Family members of EU citizens will obtain the card type F+ immediately after living five years continuously in Belgium.
Electronic residence card type B.If you have lived and worked legally in Belgium for five years, you are permitted to obtain the electronic card type B. This card allows you to stay outside of the country for a period of one year. If you do not exceed this one-year absence, you can return to Belgium without losing your residency rights. Type B holders are registered in the foreigner’s registry.
Electronic residence card type C.After obtaining type B, you can apply for type C, which gives you the right to establish. As a holder of residence type C, you no longer have to register in the foreigner’s registry but in the civil registry. The difference between these cards is that they have access to different social welfare assistance.
Electronic residence card type D.To qualify for this card, you must have a monthly income of at least €793 (plus €264 for dependent) and health insurance. If you hold the D permit, you can leave Belgium for six continuous years max, as long as you stay in the EU during that period of time. The difference between D permit, B and C permit is that other EU member states also recognize it.

Can I Travel During My Belgium Residence Permit Application?

The national visa for Belgium is a multiple-entry visa. This means that you can leave and re-enter Belgium while it is valid. However, the Immigration Authorities may require you to stay in the country while processing your residence permit. When you submit your application, you should inquire about your travel rights.

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