Work Permits for Belgium

Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) – which includes the European Union (EU), Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – don’t require a work permit for Belgium if they want to find employment in the country.

EU citizens working in Belgium must have a full EU/EEA passport or identity card. EEA nationals are free to enter Belgium for up to three months to look for work or set up a business. Those staying for a period of more than three months are required to register at the local town hall in their city of residence in Belgium within a number of days of arrival.

An EU national is granted a temporary residence permit valid for three to five months, which can be renewed for a further three months once they’ve secured employment and have registered with the Belgian Social Security system. After this, expats in Belgium can apply for an identity card and can be officially registered in the foreign population register.

Non-EU work permits for Belgium

Non-EU nationals will, however, need a work permit for Belgium to be legally employed in the country. It is usually the responsibility of the expat’s Belgian employer to receive authorisation to hire a foreign worker and apply for a work permit on their behalf.

Once their employment has been authorised by the relevant authorities, the expat employee can then apply for a Schengen Type D visa which enables them to enter the country and stay temporarily. While other types of Schengen visas can be used to enter other Schengen countries, the D visa is limited to one country. The visa must be applied for at a Belgian embassy or consulate in the expat’s home country.

Types of work permits for Belgium

There are three kinds of work permits for Belgium:

  • Work permit type A is a long-term permit for expats who have legally worked in the country for four consecutive years on a B permit.

  • Work permit type B, which most expats moving to Belgium will require, is limited to work for one employer for a period of one year. Renewals must be applied for one month before the initial permit expires.

  • Work permit type C is a permit with a maximum validity of one year. It is usually granted to expats staying in Belgium temporarily, such as students wanting to work during the holidays, and refugees.

Application forms for work permits in Belgium are obtained from the relevant employment agency in the region of the country the expat intends to work in. These offices include FOREM in Wallonia, Actiris in the Brussels region and the Dienst Migatie (migration service) in the Flanders area.