Essential Employment Paperwork in Belgium



Working in Belgium is a great career step for many foreign nationals because of its continuous economic recovery after the global financial crises. But before sending an impressive resume, expats must prepare first the necessary documents needed in order to work legally in Belgium.

Foreign nationals coming from EU member states and those that are listed as signatories of the Schengen Agreement are not required to secure a visa when entering Belgium. Citizens of the countries mentioned above who are planning on staying in the country for more than 90 days should register with the Belgian authorities and provide proof of identity such as valid passport, proof of health insurance and sufficient source of income or financial support. Expats who are not part of the visa exemption for Belgium are strictly required to secure a work permit and a visa.

Work Permit

For Non-EU nationals, the potential employer must get the permission of the local labour or employment office to hire a non-EU foreigner. A work permit is issued for a particular job for a unique employer. Therefore, a job change in Belgium would mean a new work permit would need to be applied for. Expats who are moving to Belgium for work-related reasons will need to keep in mind that there are three types of work permits available:

Work Permit Type A

This type of permit allows the holder to obtain employment in any sector of the economy and is valid for all professionals for an unlimited period. Take note that this permit will only be issued to an expat who can prove that he/she has worked for four years under a Type B permit within a ten year uninterrupted stay in Belgium. Applicants for the type A work permit should complete the application form and present their payslips, residence permit and type B work permit.

Work Permit Type B

The Type B work permit is issued for a particular job for a specific employer and is only valid for up to 12 months. It is the employer’s responsibility to apply for the expatriate’s work permit. Once the type-B permit has been issued, a foreign assignee can go to the Belgian Embassy/Consulate in his/her home country and apply for a visa.

Work Permit Type C

This permit is valid for all professionals and managers for a limited period. The type C permit allows its holder to engage in paid employment in any field for the whole validity period of their residence permit for up to 12 months. It is not tied to a specific employer or job and can also granted to refugees or students who want to work in Belgium during the holidays.

Long Stay Visa

After securing a work permit, the next step for non-EU national is to obtain a visa. Those who are planning to stay or work in Belgium for more than 90 days should apply for a long term or residence visa. Keep in mind though that the Belgian Embassy advises that long stay visa application usually takes up to one year so expats must ensure that they have all the requirements to avoid any delays. Some of the documents required when applying for the long stay visa are:

  • Passport that is valid for at least 12 months
  • Medical Certificate from an approved doctor by the Belgian Embassy/Consulate
  • One to six passport sized photos
  • Work permit or proof that the applicant’s employer has already filed for a work permit
  • Proof of health insurance

Once in Belgium, expats need to acquire a temporary residence permit by presenting their residence or long stay visa to the local municipality. They also need to register at their local commune within eight days of arrival and secure a foreigner identity card within two weeks of settling into a permanent residence in Belgium.