Higher education students (long stay visa)
How to apply?
Please be sure to lodge your visa application with the Embassy or Consulate General that holds jurisdiction over the State of your residence. For more information on which representation covers which States, please see: Embassy and consulates | Belgium in the United States.
If mailing in your application, make sure to submit all the documents mentioned below AND comply with the following additional requirements :
1) your signature on the application form must be notarized (certified) by a notary public.
2) do not send your application documents to an Honorary Consul. The application will be processed by the Embassy or by a Consulate General. Always make sure you mail your application to the Embassy or Consulate General competent for your place of residence (see the jurisdictions described here).
3) Make sure you have included 1 copy for every original document in your file. Original documents will be returned to you.
4) The visa fee can be paid by including a money order OR a filled out credit card authorization form (Washington DC and Los Angeles only).
The processing time is approximately three weeks but will be longer if your application needs to be submitted to the Belgian Immigration Office for review. This is always the case for students attending an institution that is not accredited by the Belgian authorities, and spouses of applicants who are applying for a student visa. We advise you to apply well in advance of your intended departure to Belgium.
If your visa has been forwarded to the Belgian Immigration Office, you may check the status of your visa application using this link. Please note that the link is only available in Dutch or French. You will need your visa application number provided to you by the Belgian Consulate General or Embassy where you lodged your application. Your visa application number is not the VOWINT number you receive from the visaonweb visa application.
Documents to submit:
1. Passport, valid for more than 3 months after your planned stay + 2 copies of the picture page
2. Visa application form duly completed, dated and signed + 1 copy. You will need to create an account on the online portal.
3. Two recent passport pictures, with the name of the applicant clearly written on the back
4. A nationwide criminal history record (FBI Identification Record in sealed envelope), dated within six months of your date of application for the visa. No authentication (apostille) is required.
Who has to present this document ?
- Students at an establishment, accredited by the Belgium Government for higher education or the preparatory year ahead of higher education, from the age of 18.
- Students at an establishment, not accredited by the Belgium Government from the age of 18.
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 records delivered directly on tamper proof paper or in their original sealed envelopes are accepted. You may not obtain the document by email and print it yourself.
5. A medical certificate (PDF) according to the model enclosed + 2 copies.
For a list of physicians affiliated with the Embassy or the Consulate General, click PDF here.
If you choose an unaffiliated 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 should be issued not more than 6 months before the date of your application.
6. Proof of sufficient means: an approved financial support declaration (affidavit of support) or a proof of grant, scholarship or student loan, as explained here:
- The financial support declaration: please consult the procedure on our dedicated page on Affidavits of Support.
- Scholars who have a scholarship or grant should submit original proof thereof + 2 copies.
IMPORTANT: Proof of financial means and relevant documents are not required if the funds to cover all expenses, including accommodation, have been transferred in advance to the school in Belgium. In this case, please provide the original proof thereof (official documents from the school or university) + 2 copies.
7. Proof of medical insurance through an attestation/coverage letter of a private health insurance company covering a minimum of 3 months. The attestation must prove the coverage of at least 30,000 EUR for medical treatment. You may find a list of commonly used insurance providers here.
- If you do not have proof of health insurance at the time of your application, but you do fulfil all other conditions, a visa for only four months may be delivered. Once in Belgium, within your first four months, you must affiliate with a Belgian health insurance fund covering your healthcare for the remainder of your stay and provide the proof to the city hall where you registered.
8. An attestation from an academic institution + 1 copy, certifying that the applicant is accepted and/or registered as a regular, full-time student. For Fullbright and BAEF scholars, a letter from the sponsoring organization is required.
9. Students who will attend an institution that is not accredited by the Belgian authorities also need to provide:
- A motivation letter + 1 copy explaining why you chose this particular institution to continue your studies, precisely describing the courses that will be followed and explaning how these are different from programs available in the US.
- 2 certified copies of your latest academic transcripts.
10. A self-addressed prepaid envelope 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. We recommend using a trackable envelope with signature requirement at delivery.
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).
Please find our fee schedule here. The visa application fee is non-refundable, whether your visa is actually issued or not.
The visa fee can be paid by money order or certified check, made out to:
- "Embassy of Belgium" if you apply at the Embassy in Washington
- "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.
In Washington and Los Angeles you may also pay using the credit card authorization form.
12. An additional fee is required for applicants 18 and over (paid directly by international wire transfer to the Home Office in Belgium). For instructions and exact amounts, see: Fee | IBZ (bosa.be)
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For your dependent family members (also 1 original with one copy and an extra set of originals for use in Belgium):
A complete application package as stated above (except for items 7, 8, 9, and 10), and in addition:
- For your spouse: an extract (not older than 6 months) of the marriage certificate with an apostille + 2 copies, a medical certificate + 2 copies, and an FBI background check + 2 copies
- For the children: an extract (not older than 6 months) of birth certificates with an apostille + 2 copies and a medical certificate + 2 copies. The FBI background check is neede for children over 18 years old.
- Proof of lodging for the whole family + 1 copy: please make arrangements to obtain accommodations prior to your intended departure (the International Student Office of the university in question may be able to assist you).
- Proof of health insurance + 1 copy. This can be proven in 2 ways: with an attestation from a Belgian health care fund that the dependents will be covered, or with a travel insurance including a minimum coverage of EUR 30,000 and a validity of minimum 3 months.
- If applicable, proof that the principal visa applicant is already authorized to reside in Belgium (copy of registration at a university)
If the spouse and/or children are not US citizens, please contact the consular office for further instructions.
You will need translations (in French or Dutch) of the US birth certificates and marriage certificates to register in the commune where you will reside.
IF YOU ARE MARRIED TO A EU-CITIZEN, PLEASE CONTACT THE CONSULATE WHERE YOU HAVE TO APPLY FOR YOUR VISA.
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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.