Embassy and Consulates of Belgium in the United States
Home Visa for Belgium Exchange students

Exchange students

Application for a temporary residency visa for high school exchange student:

This information is for students who participate in exchange programs with the following recognized organizations:

  • JINT vzw
  • American Field Service (AFS)
  • VIA (Vrijwillige Internationale Actie)
  • International Youth Exchange (IYA)
  • Youth for Understanding
  • Bouworde
  • International Association Agricultural Students (IAAS)
  • Rotary Club International
  • World Exchange Program
  • Erasmus, Tempus, and Socrates Programs

If your program is not mentioned please contact the appropriate consular office.

Please request your student visa at least four weeks prior to your intended departure date. The normal processing time for this type of visa is one week. For non US citizens, the processing time may be considerably longer.

How to apply?

.As of December 1st, 2018, all visa applicants for long term visas from the age of 6 years old will have to apply in person, at which time their fingerprints will be taken. Visa applicants will have to book an appointment at the Consulate General or Embassy where they wish to apply.

The Consulate General in Atlanta also accepts electronic Visa-On-Web applications (printed application form and documentation must be sent by postal mail or courier service), and allows the applicant to come in person to have their fingerprints taken at a later stage.

Please make an appointment:

Los Angeles : visa applicants must create an account and schedule an appointment online: visaonweb.diplomatie.be
New York : visa applicants must create an account and schedule an appointment online : visaonweb.diplomatie.be
Atlanta : visa applicants must create an account and schedule an appointment online: visaonweb.diplomatie.be
Washington : visa applicants must create an account and schedule an appointment online : visaonweb.diplomatie.be

Important: please cancel your appointment online or notify us by e-mail if you cannot come to the consulate as planned.

1. Passport, valid for 15 months.

2. Two original visa application forms duly completed, dated and signed.

Please include a print-out of the application form that you completed on Visa On Web (VOW) after registering on the website visaonweb.diplomatie.be

3. Language form (in FrenchDutch or German); Choose one of the forms and indicate your language preference (or no preference). The option you choose will be used by the Belgian Home Office to communicate its decision regarding your visa application. There is no English version of this document. Please retain a copy for your records.

A. Indicate your name: full name as it appears on your passport (nom du demandeur, naam visumaanvrager, name visumbewerber) 
B. Number of the file will be indicated by this office (numéro du dossier - dossiernummer - aktenzeichen) 
C. Indicate in what language you wish your file to be handled:

i. have no preference (geen voorkeur, pas de preference, keiner sprache den vorzug) 
ii. prefer French (français, frans, französischer sprache) 
iii. prefer Dutch (néerlandais, nederlands, niederländischer sprache) 
iv. prefer German (allemand, duits, deutscher sprache)

D. Date the form (format : DAY MONTH YEAR (NOT: MONTH, DAY, YEAR) 
E. Sign the form (no need to notarize it)

4. Three recent passport pictures, with the name of the applicant clearly written on the back.

Include three sets of the following documents (one original set of documents and two copies) collated and stapled:

The originals will be returned to you together with your passport and visa. You will need them to register at city hall in Belgium.

5. For students 18 and over: a nationwide criminal history record (FBI Identification Record), dated within six months of your date of application for the visa. No authentication (apostille) is required.

The request for your FBI Identification Record or proof that a record does not exist can be submitted to either the FBI directly, or to an FBI-approved Channeler.

ONLY FBI CHECKS PRINTED ON TAMPER PROOF PAPER OR IN THEIR ORIGINAL SEALED ENVELOPES ARE ACCEPTED

Please note that a nationwide criminal history record is required for all students 18 years and over, if the student intends to study at a non-accredited institution.

If you are attending a non-accredited institution please submit legalized copies of your current degrees or letter of employment to prove that the studies you want to follow in Belgium complement your past education/career.

You will also need to include a motivation letter explaining why you chose this particular institution in Belgium to continue your studies.

6. A medical certificate (PDF) according to the model enclosed and two copies. For a list of physicians affiliated with the Embassy or the Consulate General, click here
If you choose your family physician, the doctor's signature needs to be notarized by a notary public, and authenticated by apostille which is to be obtained from the Secretary of State where the notary public has his/her office. 
See: www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=authorities.details&aid=353

The medical document can be issued maximum 6 months before the date of your application.

7. A duly notarized financial support declaration, signed by head of the exchange organization, guaranteeing payment of travel, living, educational, medical and repatriation expenses. This financial support declaration should be legalized by the exchange organization at the local city hall in Belgium.

If you plan on attending a higher education establishment while in Belgium, you also need a legalized affidavit of support. The sponsor needs to sign the affidavit of support document in person (with valid ID) at the Embassy or the Consulate General. 

The signature legalization fee is: 24 USD

For the sample form of a parent/guardian affidavit of support form, please use: Dutch form - French form. Please note that in general the exchange organizations have their own standard form.

This form needs to be completed in the language of the school you will be attending (Dutch or French). For your convenience, you can find a bilingual copy of this document.

For your convenience, you can find a bilingual copy of this document below.

As proof of solvency, the following documents should be provided by the sponsor who is signing the affidavit of support:

  • W2 form of the last fiscal year
  • letter of employment stating type and length of contract
  • pay slips of the last 3 months
  • form 1040 'individual income tax return'
  • a letter from your bank stating since when you have been an account holder and that you have always been in good standing (no amounts needed).
  • US passport or green card.

8. In the case of a minor of age (under 18), a letter of parental authorization. Both parents need to sign this letter. The letter specifies the purpose and the duration of the stay in Belgium.

9. A self-addressed prepaid envelope if you wish to have your passport and visa sent back to your home address. The Embassy or Consulate General is not responsible for lost items during shipping. 
Remarks: Do not use metered postage (for mailing to the Consulate General in New York only). Please note that the Embassy of Belgium in Washington DC and the Consulate General in New York no longer work with FedEx. (You can use UPS or USPS).

10. Fee to be paid at the time of application: 216 USD

The visa application fee is non-refundable, whether your visa is actually issued or not.

Please refer to the following table for payment options:

 

  Cash Certified
Check
Money
Order
Credit Card
Embassy in Washington No Yes Yes Yes
Consulate General in Atlanta No Yes Yes No
Consulate General in Los Angeles No Yes Yes Yes
Consulate General in New York No Yes Yes No

Personal checks are not accepted.

Certified checks and money orders have to be paid to the order of:

  • "the Embassy of Belgium in Washington" if you apply at the Embassy in Washington
  • "the Consulate General of Belgium" if you apply at the Consulate General in Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York.

Incorrect money orders or certified checks will be rejected and returned to the applicant. Processing will only begin once the proper payment is received.

Only at the Embassy in Washington and the Consulate General of Los Angeles may you pay with Visa or MasterCard. In New York you can only pay with a money order or certified check.

11. An additional fee is required for students 18 and over: 358 EURO (payment through the bank). For instructions see: New contribution for visa LONG stay - D

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UPON ARRIVAL IN BELGIUM

It is important that you register yourself and your family with the City Hall of your place of residence in Belgium within 8 days of your arrival. Make sure that all passports are endorsed by the immigration authorities when first entering Belgium (at airport or other border post).

The local authorities will process your registration identity document that will allow you to enter and leave the country as a legal temporary resident of Belgium.