Embassy and Consulates of Belgium in the United States
Home Visa for Belgium Independent professionals

Independent professionals

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Registration of employees and independent workers

Since April 1st, 2007, non-Belgian employers, self-employed persons or their employees who carry out short term or partial assignments in Belgium must declare these activities in advance.

This mandatory "Limosa" declaration applies to:

  • Employees and apprentices, who come to Belgium to execute certain temporary or partial work and who, because of the nature of their short term assignment, are not subject to the Belgian social security system.
  • Self-employed people and self-employed apprentices who come to work in Belgium temporarily or partially, irrespective of whether they are subject to the Belgian social security system.

Some exceptions to this general obligation exist. Certain persons may be exempted, especially for short-term assignments.

Application for a professional card and a temporary residency visa

Do you need to apply for a Temporary Residency Visa?

A citizen of the United States of America or of any country other than a Member State of the European Union who intends to reside in Belgium for a period longer than 90 days, or for a succession of periods totaling more than 90 days per 6 months, must first obtain a temporary residency visa.

When the applicant seeks to engage in a professional activity on an independent basis, the required residency visa can only be issued upon the presentation of a professional card and supporting documents.

The professional card is applied for through the Embassy or Consulate General and must be approved by the competent authorities in Belgium  before the Embassy can issue a visa D.

Application for the professional card:

If you wish to set up your own business in Belgium as an independent professional, you should apply for a professional card with the Belgian consular office in whose jurisdiction you reside in the United States.

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.

As of January 1st, 2015, professional card applications are handled by the regional governments. Please determine which region your professional activities will be based in, and refer to the appropriate website for the most up to date application information. You can find the appropriate forms by visiting their websites directly:

No matter which region you are applying to, the following documents are required:

1. A valid national passport (validity 15 months).

2. 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)

3. Three recent passport-size photographs, with the name of the applicant clearly written on the back

4. A nationwide criminal history record (FBI Identification Record), dated within six months of your date of application for the professional card. 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

5. The fee for a professional card is US$168,00 (subject to change). The certification fee of the card is 90 EURO (subject to change) and will be charged upon collection of the professional card in Belgium. The card is valid for one year.

All additional supporting documents are at the discretion of the regional authority. Please refer to their website for the complete application requirements. Please submit 3 original copies of your application. It is recommended to introduce your request at least 4 months prior to your intended departure date.

Application for the Temporary Residency Visa

At the same time you should submit your application for the Temporary Residency Visa.

The following documents should be presented:

1. A valid national passport (validity 15 months on the date of application, but please note that when the professional card is approved and received by the Embassy or the Consulate General, your passport should still be valid for at least 12 months!).

2. Two 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. Two recent passport-size pictures.

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.]

4. Original nationwide criminal history record (see above)

5. A medical certificate 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 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 3 months before the date of your application.

6. 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).

7. 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. 

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

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For your dependent family members:

The US spouse and dependent children (under 18 years) of an American citizen who has obtained a professional card and a temporary residency visa are not obliged to apply for a type D visa. The family members should then submit the following documents at the municipality where they have to register within 8 days after arrival in Belgium.

For dependents that are required to obtain a visa or for American citizens that choose to apply for a visa, please bring the following documents to the Embassy or consulate of your jurisdiction.

1. A valid national passport (validity 15 months).

2. A certified true copy of the birth certificate for the children with an apostille (not older than 6 months).

3. The marriage certificate for the spouse with an apostille (not older than 6 months).

4. Proof that the principal visa applicant is authorized to reside in Belgium (copy of professional card).

5. For adults (over 18 years): A nationwide criminal history record (FBI Identification Record) covering the last five years, obtained from the FBI CJIS Division (Record Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306), dated within six months of your date of application for the visa. For more information, please go to the FBI website.

6. A medical certificate 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 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. Proof of sufficient lodging (e.g. lease agreement).

8. Proof of stable, regular and sufficient means of subsistence (e.g. copy of the principal visa applicant’s work contract mentioning the salary).

9. Proof all the family members are covered by a health insurance.

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

11. An additional fee is required for applicants 18 and over: 204 EURO (payment through the bank). For instructions: New contribution for visa LONG stay - D

12. For applications sent to the Consulate General in New York, include a print-out of the application form that you completed on Visa On Web (VOW) after registering on the website visaonweb.diplomatie.be (1 per person)

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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.

DIFFERENT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR DEPENDANTS OF NATIONALS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. PLEASE CONTACT THE CONSULATE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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.