You can apply to stay and work in Belgium as an employed worker if your Belgian employer can prove that no qualified workers could be found on the labour market within a reasonable period of time. In Flanders and Wallonia, this general rule does not apply to certain shortage occupations.
If you fulfil the conditions, you will be issued a single permit for residence and work and a long stay visa type D.
Please note that you can also apply for a single permit as a performing artist, journalist, religious official, professional sportsperson, referee or trainer, person employed pursuant to an international agreement, specialised technician sent by a third-country national employer, person employed by the commission for military graves, manager at an airline company or tourism office or seafarer provided you fulfil the required criteria. Consult the website of the competent regional authority for more information about these special categories.
You may also be eligible for a single permit as highly-qualified worker or executive or for the EU Blue Card.
Where and how to apply
You can introduce a request for a single permit for residence and work through your employer. The application must be submitted to the department of economic migration of the region where your employer is based: Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels Capital Region or the German-speaking Community.
To apply for a single permit your employer needs to submit a number of documents, including proof of payment of the administrative fee (see ‘Documents required’). Your application is assessed by the competent regional authority and the (federal) Immigration Office.
The regional and federal authorities need to take a decision within 4 months after the application has been declared admissible. The processing time may be extended due to the complexity of your case.
If the regional authority grants an authorisation to work and the Immigration Office grants an authorisation to stay, you receive a decision to grant a single permit (annex 46) from the Immigration Office.
If the authorities fail to take a decision within the required period of time, you receive a certificate to grant a single permit (annex 47) from the Immigration Office.
To obtain a visa D to travel to Belgium, you need to present your annex 46 or 47 and international passport and submit a visa application to the Belgian diplomatic or consular post of your place of residence.
The authorities take your fingerprints and a digital photo.
You can check the status of your visa application online by entering your reference number and the location of the diplomatic or consular post.
To apply for an authorisation to work and stay, your employer must submit:
After your arrival in Belgium, you need to register at the municipality of your place of residence within 8 working days.
You receive a temporary residence document (annex 49) pending the residence check to be executed by the authorities.
If the residence check is positive, the municipality issues a single permit for a limited period of time (A-card).
Duration of validity of permit
As a rule, the single permit for employed workers is valid for the duration of the employment contract, for a maximum period of 1 year. For certain categories of third-country national workers, the permit is valid for a period of up to 3 years. The permit is renewable.
Conditions for renewal
You need to apply for renewal at the latest 2 months before your single permit expires.
If your authorisation to work has been granted for a limited period of time, you need to apply for renewal of the single permit to the regional authority.
In this case, your employer needs to prove that no qualified workers could be found on the labour market within a reasonable period of time. In Flanders, this requirement is deemed to be fulfilled if you apply for an authorisation to work for the same function with the same employer.
If your authorisation to work has been granted for an unlimited period of time, you need to apply for renewal of the permit to your municipality.
In the first 5 years, you receive a single permit for a limited period of time if you fulfil the required conditions (A-card). After 5 years, you receive a single permit for an unlimited period of time (B-card).
If your application for authorisation to work has been rejected by the regional authority, your employer can appeal this decision before the competent appeal body within 30 days after you received the decision. You can lodge an appeal against this decision before the Council of State within 60 days after you received the decision.
If your application for authorisation to stay has been rejected by the Immigration Office, you can appeal this decision before the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL) within 30 days after you received the decision.
Authorisation to work in Flanders
Authorisation to work in Wallonia
Authorisation to work in Brussels Capital Region
Authorisation to work in German-speaking Community
Change of employment
The single permit is granted for work with a specific employer. If you want to change jobs, your future employer must apply for a new single permit.
If you or your employer do not respect the conditions related to your authorisation to work, your single permit can be withdrawn.
If your employment contract has come to an end, your employer should inform the competent administration.
Change of status
If your personal situation or purpose of stay changes during your legal stay in Belgium, you can apply for most other statuses.
You cannot apply for a single permit for work and stay in Belgium from within the territory.
Your family members have a right to stay in Belgium if they meet the conditions for family reunification.
You can apply for EU long-term resident status after 5 years of uninterrupted legal stay in Belgium, provided you have sufficient, regular and stable means of subsistence and health insurance.
No information available at the moment.