Visa for Belgium

National visa (D-visa)

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A long stay visa is required for all persons, including American citizens, who want to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days. While a long stay visa is not a Schengen visa, it does allow you to travel within the Schengen Area during your stay in Belgium. 

A long stay visa is not required for EU citizens and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland, as well as their spouses, partners or children. Spouses, partners or children who are not exempt from the Schengen visa requirement need to apply for a Schengen visa to travel to Belgium. EU citizens and their family members can apply for a Belgian residence permit at the local city hall upon arrival in Belgium. Click here for more details.

How to apply?  

Applications for a long stay visa can be submitted, either in person by appointment or by mail and must be lodged with the consular post that has jurisdiction over the State of your primary residence.

The processing time varies from 2 weeks to 6-9 months depending on the category (see below). 

What to submit? 

Please click in the corresponding category below to find the lists of supporting documents that you should submit. The approximate processing time of the application is mentioned between parentheses.

  1. Studies 
    1. Higher education students (PDF, 135.15 KB) (3 weeks) 
    2. Exchange students (PDF, 118.35 KB) - Secondary education (3 weeks) 
    3. Private higher education students (PDF, 136.99 KB) (3 months) 
  2. Employment 
    1. Private employees (PDF, 119.82 KB), i.e., holders of a single permit (including researchers, Fulbright recipients, interns, au pairs and missionaries) (3 weeks) 
    2. Self-employed workers (PDF, 133.09 KB), i.e., holders of a professional card (3 months) 
  3. Retirement (PDF, 110.83 KB) (3 months) 
  4. Family reunification 
    1. With a private employee or self-employed worker (PDF, 138.23 KB) (3 weeks) 
    2. With a Belgian citizen (PDF, 133.64 KB) (3 weeks)
    3. With intent to marry or legally cohabitate (PDF, 149.71 KB) in Belgium (3-6 months)

The status of D-visa applications that require Belgian Immigration Home Office approval (i.e. visas for studies at private institutions, humanitarian reasons, retirement and independent professionals) can be verified via the Immigration Office website. Note that the link is only available in Dutch or French. The visa application number can be provided by consular post where the application was submitted.

What to do upon arrival in Belgium? 

Ensure that the passport is endorsed by the immigration authorities at the place of entry into the Schengen Area. 

Register within 8 days of arrival at the communal administration of your local city hall in Belgium. There, you apply for a Residence Permit which will allow entry into Belgium while valid. 

General information about visas for Belgium

Additional general information concerning visa applications for Belgium is available on the website of the Immigration Office of the FPS Home Affairs, which is the competent Belgian authority for access, stay, residence and removal of foreigners within the territory.