Question in Tax Law

Question : What are the basic requirements to apply for a work visa in Belgium?

Answer from Christophe Boeraeve, expert in Tax law

A visa allows a foreigner to stay in Belgium for a given period or time and be allowed to travel during this period. The issue of visas used to be the responsibility of the Federal Public Services Foreign Affairs but has recently been decentralized to the Regions. To be granted a stay longer than a tourist holiday in Belgium, a non-EU resident needs to be granted identity and residence documents. Otherwise, the foreigner will be unable to gain access to the Belgian territory.
A. Visa type D (long-term visa – more than 90 days)
The foreigner should apply for his visa in person at the Belgian embassy or consulate which is competent for his country of residence, where he will be requested to communicate his travel destination as well as the circumstances of this trip. If there is no Belgian embassy or consulate in the country of residence of the foreigner, he should apply to the Belgian embassy or consulate responsible for that country (and usually located in a neighboring country). In some instances, the visa application procedure may take a long time.
The applicant should provide the following documentation with the visa application:
- Application form fulfilled and signed.[1]
- A passport with a validity of 12 months.
- Valid work permits type B or other kinds of authorization that enable the foreign to work in Belgium, such as a professional card.
- Health certificate.
- Police certificate attesting the absence of previous crimes committed by the applicant.
The provided documentation must be legalized or bear an apostille, as well as a certified translation into German, French or Dutch by a sworn translator.
The visa type D has the same effects that the residences permit, which will enable the foreigner to move freely in the Schengen territory. That means that the foreigner could stay in another country of the Schengen territory, respecting the time limitation of 3 months during a period of six months.

Finally, once the applicant has obtained the visa type D and he has travelled to Belgium, the foreigner must go to the Local Public Administration during the first eight days of his arrival, to sign up in the registration of foreigners.

B. Working permit
There are three various types of work permits:
- Work permit type A: This allows to work for any company in Belgium for an extensive period. The said permits are issued only to any foreigner who has lived and worked for four years in Belgium for a B permit and those with ten years’ uninterrupted (legal) residency in Belgium.
Nonetheless, it would be only three years if you’re an Algerian national, as well as a national of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey or the EU member state Croatia.
Moreover, these three and four-year periods can be reduced by one year if your spouse, registered partner, or dependent children are living with you.

- Work permit type B: This permit is valid for one employer and is good for a year that can be renewed by the same employer. Whenever you change companies, your new employer must apply for a new type B permit. Take note that you may find that you have to return to your homeland and apply again for a residency visa before you can start working for a new employer.

- Work permit type C: This permit is valid for all professions and all employers. It is valid for a limited time. It is usually given to migrant agricultural or domestic workers. C permits are not renewable.

It is necessary to highlight that B permits are the standard form of work permits for most foreigners, since applying for a B permit is the responsibility of the employer wishing to hire a non-EU foreigner.
One condition for the work permit to be issued is that anyone cannot find on the Belgian labor market an employee having the professional skills required for the specific vacancy.

Christophe Boeraeve - Expert in Tax law

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