Who Needs a Work Permit in Belgium?

The current article sets forth the basic principles for immigration to Belgium and outlines who needs a work permit.

Whether you would like to work or reside in Belgium, the major difference is whether or not you are a EU national.

– EU nationals

In order to work in Belgium, EU nationals do not need a work permit. Their identity card or passport is sufficient to allow them to enter, reside and work in Belgium.

– Non-EU nationals

Non-EU nationals will need either a work permit (if they are employed) or a professional card (if they are self-employed or independent).

Work Permit (in the case of employees):

Application for a work permit must be filed by the employer (not the employee) with the local regional employment office where the employer is established. This will be either the Flanders, the Walloon or the Brussels Regional Employment Office. Enterprises planning to make a significant level of investment in Belgium may be entitled to enjoy a preferential system.

Professional Card (in the case of independent or self-employed individuals):

Self-employed individuals wishing to establish themselves in Belgium must apply for a professional card at the Belgian embassy or consulate in their country of residence. If the person is already residing in Belgium, then this application can be made at the municipality.

Residence permit:

Non-EU nationals wishing to remain in Belgium for over three months are subject to a visa requirement. Prior to entering the country, they will have to obtain a temporary entry visa to the Belgian diplomatic or consular authorities in the country in which they reside. If you have obtained a work permit or a professional card, a residence permit will be granted.a