Embassy and Consulates of Belgium in the United States
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Retiring in Belgium

Application for temporary residency without gainful occupation

If you want to settle in Belgium for more than three months and you do not intend to engage in a gainful occupation, you should apply for an authorization for temporary residency. 

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 to an Honorary Consul. The application will be processed by the Embassy or by a Consulate General. Always make sure to mail your application to the Embassy or Consulate General with jurisiction over 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).


Documents to submit:

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

2. Two original visa application forms and three recent passport-size photographs.

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

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.

3. A medical certificate (PDF) according to the model enclosed, on the doctor's letterhead. 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, and authenticated by apostille which is to be obtained from the Secretary of State where the notary public has his/her office. See: http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=authorities.details&aid=353 

The medical document should be less than 6 months old from the date of your application.

4. For adults (over 18 years): 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.


5. Proof of sufficient available funds and/or income, e.g. Social Security, bank letters, bank statements covering at least a period of 6 months, income from real estate properties, etc.

6. A letter stating why you wish to take up residency in Belgium, e.g. because you have family in Belgium or have been living there before. It is very important to show sufficient proof of ties to Belgium.

7. Written letters of reference from Belgium (names, address, telephone numbers, relationship).

8. 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).

9. Fee to be paid at the time of application: 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.

10. An additional fee is required: 220 EURO (payment through the bank). For instructions see: Fee | IBZ (bosa.be)

Applicants are invited to submit their applications at least 4 months prior to their scheduled departure. The Consular Officer will go over all the documents and process your application. It will then be forwarded to the appropriate Belgian authorities for approval, this may take several months.

Please do not make travel arrangements until the consular office has received the authorization to issue your visa.





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.