General information on short stay visas
US citizens in possession of a valid US passport (on the planned date of departure from Belgium, your passport should have at least another three months validity) do not need a visa for airport transit, tourist or business trips for stays up to 90 days within a six-month period.
Other travelers may apply for a Schengen visa, which allows them to enter Belgium or another Schengen country and then to travel freely throughout the Schengen zone for a period not to exceed 90 days.
Visa - Implementation of the Visa Information System (VIS) - 05/15/2014 - Application must be submitted in person.
The Visa Information System (VIS) is an IT system that allows Schengen States to exchange visa data. The main purpose of the VIS is to simplify the visa issuance process, to facilitate checks at external borders and to enhance security for everyone involved, including visa applicants.
The VIS works by linking Schengen States’ embassies/consulates and external border crossing points to the central VIS database.
As of May 15, 2014, each individual applying for a Schengen visa in the USA must appear in person, so that the necessary biometric data – ten fingerprints and a digital photo – can be collected. The biometric data are stored for a period of 59 months and can possibly be reused. This means that future applications during that period of time may be filed through correspondence, provided your data are of good quality and can be retrieved from the VIS.
- New York, Atlanta, and Washington: visaonweb.diplomatie.be (printed application form and documentation must be sent by postal mail or courier service
- Los Angeles: by postal mail or courier service only
Exemptions for the fingerprinting requirements are granted to:
- Children under the age of twelve;
- Persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible;
- Heads of State and members of National Governments and their accompanying spouses, as well as the members of their official delegation when invited by Member States' governments or by international organizations for an official purpose.
The Schengen zone includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
- If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, apply at the Embassy or Consulate of that particular country.
- If you intend to visit several Schengen countries, apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country which is your main destination (i.e. place of your longest stay).
- If you intend to visit several Schengen countries but do not have a main destination, apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country which is your first point of entry.
Visitors (Schengen Visa)
When to apply:
- You MUST apply at least 15 days before your intended departure date.
- The earliest you may apply is 6 months prior to your departure date.
Where to apply:
In the USA, applicants can apply in the Belgian diplomatic or consular representation of their choice.
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.
Residents of Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and all other islands can apply in the Belgian diplomatic or consular representation of their choice in the USA.
Holders of a US Refugee Travel Document do not need a visa to enter Belgium. The document "Permit to Re-enter" is recognized by Belgium, but requires a visa if you choose to travel with it.
What to submit:
1. A passport or official travel document issued within the last 10 years and with validity that exceeds the intended stay of the applicant by at least three months. Please make sure that your passport has at least two blank pages facing each other where visa and stamps may be affixed.
Note: If the passport or travel document is not recognized by one or more Schengen countries, it is still possible to obtain a visa. This visa will then be restricted to those Schengen countries which accept the passport or travel document.
2. One passport-size color picture.
3. One visa application form 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
4. Language form (in French, Dutch 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 have it notarized)
5. Proof of legal residence in the USA and re-entry document
Original or notarized copy of valid US alien registration card (residence permit, aka: green card) or valid US resident visa (1). The US residence permit or visa should be valid at least three months beyond the intended departure from the territory of the Member States.
6. Proof of travel arrangements
Flight (roundtrip)/travel reservations or other proof of intended transport and full itinerary (if several Schengen States will be visited OR if the trip covers several Schengen States and non-Schengen countries).
7. Proof of accommodation - Evidence of hotel bookings or travel plans
Evidence of hotel bookings or travel plans for the entire Schengen area:
- Individuals: confirmed hotel reservations, stating name, address and telephone number of the hotel, including confirmation number.
- Groups: the certificate of the travel agency mentioning same information as for individuals, or other proof of accommodation (e.g. rental agreement).
8. Supporting documents
- Invitation letter from friend/relative (Some Member States' consulates may require that a specific form be used for the invitation letter (2). Please refer to the website of the Member State concerned for further information). If the case: copy of ID (national or residence permit) of inviting friend/relative.
- A letter of invitation from the business partner specifying the nature of the business (Some Member States' consulates may require that a specific form be used for the invitation letter (3). Please refer to the website of the Member State concerned for further information);
- reference letter from employer; and
- confirmed accommodation if different from hotel, stating name, address and telephone number of the lodging place.
- Certificate from the receiving institution on the length and purpose of stay;
- Certificate from Home institution on enrolment (student cards only are not sufficient); and
- confirmed accommodation.
9. Proof of sufficient means of subsistence for the intended journey
You can find the minimum necessary funds needed here.
- Bank account statement(s) during the last three months (Bank statements must show the name and address of owner(s). Electronic printouts are accepted.); proof of regular income e.g. pay slips of the last three months;
- OR if self-employed (tax return from previous fiscal year or proof of previous economic activity and of an income during previous fiscal year);
- OR if retired (e.g. copy of pension certificate or a letter of previous employer or a pension check stub or confirmation from the responsible authority about the amount of pension);
- In case of business, if applicable, letter stating that all expenses are fully covered by. (e.g. a written proof that the inviting employer/company pays the expenses or alternative the sending employer/company pays for all expenses)
- In case of students/researchers, if applicable, letter stating that all expenses are fully covered by.
- If the applicant is minor and travels without parents or with one parent: officially recognized statement from both parents (this condition shall not apply if there is only a single parent or he/she holds the parental authority alone) or legal guardian authorizing the child to travel and covering the costs with evidence on the existence of the financial coverage. (see previous paragraphs).
- If you do not have a regular income and intend to visit a family member or a friend in Belgium, you may submit:
(a) Original form “Annexe 3bis” or “Bijlage 3bis” (=financial support form) to be obtained by your sponsor (friend or family) from the municipal authorities;
(b) Original statement of family composition of the sponsor (this is a standard document issued by the municipal authorities);
(c) Copy of the identity card of your sponsor;
(d) Copy of the recent tax declaration of your sponsor and copy of three recent statements of earnings of your sponsor;
The sponsor must be a resident in Belgium.
10. Proof of travel/medical insurance (please note that your medical insurance card alone is not sufficient proof!) to cover possible medical expenses, hospitalization costs, repatriation of mortal remains and repatriation for medical reasons while traveling in Belgium or in other Schengen countries. Minimum coverage must be at least 30,000 EURO and must be paid directly to the provider in Belgium by the insurance company. Please provide a photocopy and the original contract which will be returned to you. You will have to show proof of travel/accident insurance when entering the Schengen area.
11. If you are a minor (under 18), please present a birth certificate and written consent of your parent. In the case of guardianship, please present the court document naming the guardian as well as written consent. The signatures on this document have to be notarized.
12. 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 no longer works with FedEx (You can use UPS or USPS).
At the time of application please bring originals and one copy of each document requested.
The applicant is informed that submitting the aforementioned documents does not guarantee automatic issuance of the visa. Additional documentation may always be requested. The holder of a Schengen visa is still subject to immigration control upon first entry into a Schengen country and is therefore not guaranteed automatic entry.
The visa application fee is non-refundable, whether your visa is actually issued or not.
Please refer to the following table for payment options:
|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||Yes*|
*ONLY when the application is submitted in person
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 of Belgium in Washington and the Consulate General of Los Angeles may you pay with Visa or MasterCard.
For visa applications sent via mail to Washington DC, the Credit Card Payment Authorization Form can be used.
Please note that Schengen visa applications for children younger than six years old are free.
A Schengen visa is issued free of charge to the foreign spouse and/or children of European Union nationals. The spouse should present a marriage certificate (duly translated into English when necessary) and the E.U. citizen's passport. A birth certificate must be presented for any child under the age of six.
(1) E.g. type A, E, F plus endorsed I-20 by competent authority, G, H, I, J plus J1 documents, L, O, R.
(2) Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Denmark: may be requested if Denmark is represented by another Member State.
(3) Austria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Denmark: may be requested if Denmark is represented by another Member State.