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Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Belgium?
Belgium is a member of the European Union and most of its visa policy is tailored accordingly to its regulations. European Union, European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein), and Switzerland citizens are eligible for a visa-free entry to Belgium. Given that they do not take up employment and their stay is limited to a maximum of 90 days per 180 days.
Other than the EU, EEA, and Switzerland citizens, Belgium signed many bilateral or multilateral agreements with various countries from different parts of the world to abolish visa requirements mutually. Their stay is also limited to a maximum of 90 days per 180 days and cannot take up employment. These countries are listed below.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina*
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Holy See (Vatican City State)
- Hong Kong****
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia*
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom***
- United States of America
*Citizens of these countries required to have biometric passports.
**Only holders of passports that include an identity card number.
*** The rules on travel regarding Brexit will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
**** The visa requirement exemption applies only to holders of the ‘Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’ passport.
Countries that are not listed above have to apply for a Schengen visa beforehand to enter Belgium.
Belgium Visa Types
We covered Belgium visa types that vary depending on the duration and purpose of the stay.
What is Schengen Visa?
Schengen visa is a short-duration free roaming agreement that was first established between Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain in 1995. After 1995, many other European states became an integral part of the agreement in different years, thus creating the Schengen area. Today, the Schengen area consists of 26 countries without border controls between them and having a Schengen visa issued by these countries will grant a visa-free stay up to 90 days in a 180 day period in the Schengen area as well as transits through international airports. 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 are the member countries of the Schengen area. If you would like to visit any of these countries freely, you will have to obtain a Schengen visa.
Although Belgium has been a part of the Schengen area since 1995 and subject to its regulations, there are minor differing requirements regarding the local laws and various other nationalities.
Category C Visa for Short Stay Visits
Depending on your purpose of the visit that is limited to 90 days or less in a 180 days period to Belgium; it is possible for you to obtain one of the following visa types.
Belgium Airport Transit Visa
A Belgium airport transit visa is required for certain countries when their citizens have to change flights at a foreign country and the necessity of the visa is determined by the country which the airport is located in. Belgium follows the regulations of the Schengen area about nationalities that are asked for an airport transit visa. Belgium additionally mandates an airport transit visa to the citizens of Dominican Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nepal, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria.
Belgium Business Visas
A Belgium business visa is a type of short-term visa that is needed for third country (neither the citizens of European Economic Area nor Switzerland) individuals or groups who have designated meetings, unpaid trainings, or business-related events without labor or gainful employment. Obtaining a business visa to Belgium requires more documents than other category C visas, including but not limited to proof of trip financing, employee certificate, and an invitation letter from a Belgian company.
Belgium Tourist Visa
A Belgium tourist visa is issued for international tourists who are planning to visit Belgium for sightseeing. It is possible to obtain a Belgium tourist visa through consulates, authorized visa companies, or authorized travel agencies.
Belgium Visitor Visa
If you are planning to visit Belgium to visit a family member or a friend residing in the country, you need to get a Belgium visitor visa. In order to get one, it is vital to have an invitation letter from the person whom you are visiting.
Belgium Schengen Visa Types
Schengen Transit Visa
A Schengen transit visa is a permit asked from some nationalities that will transit through a Schengen country to a non-Schengen country even if he/she does not leave the international transit zone at the airport. If the second destination is also to a Schengen country, then a regular Schengen visa would be needed. Citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sri Lanka are required to obtain a Schengen transit visa. It is important to note that some Schengen countries have their own listings with additional countries regarding the visa.
Schengen Tourist Visa
If you would like to visit a Schengen country for sightseeing purposes, you can apply for a Schengen tourist visa which is specified for this purpose and can be issued by any of the Schengen states. It is possible for you to visit more than one Schengen country with the Schengen tourist visa.
Schengen Business Visa
A Schengen Business visa is issued for business-related purposes including meetings, events, fairs, business ventures, or commercial activities. The visa permits its holder to enter and remain in any Schengen country for 90 days in a 180 days period.
Schengen Visitor Visa
A Schengen visitor visa is issued for the individuals who are visiting a family member or friend that is legally residing in a Schengen country. There are some certain additional requirements required for a Schengen visitor visa such as an invitation letter and a proof of relationship for families.
Schengen Cultural Visa
A Schengen cultural visa enables individuals or groups to be able to enter a Schengen country for a number of purposes including cultural activities, sports, or filmmaking. It is required to include a letter that clearly states the purpose of visit from both sending and receiving associations to obtain a Schengen cultural visa.
Schengen Medical Treatment Visa
A Schengen medical treatment visa is issued for people who are planning to receive medical treatment in a Schengen country institution. There are many additional documents required for a Schengen medical treatment visa including but not limited to proof of payment to the medical institution, proof of accommodation, and letter of admission from the receiving medical institution.
Category D Visa for Long Stay Visits
Belgium category D visas are issued for stays that exceed a three month period in the country and they are not to be confused with permanent residence permits.
Belgium Student Visa
A Belgium student visa is required for students who are planning to study in the country at a higher education institution for more than three months. Proof of enrollment, proof to sufficient knowledge of the language in which the courses will be given, and a motivation letter are some of the additionally required documents while applying for a category D student visa in Belgium.
Belgium Employment Visa
A third country national who wishes to stay and work in Belgium for more than 90 days has to submit a Belgium employment visa request through his/her employer with additionally required documents including sufficient means of subsistence, duration of occupation, and health insurance.
Belgium Job Seeker Visa
A Belgium job seeker visa allows its holder to stay in the country to look for a job and if he/she finds a job during the length of the visa, it is possible to apply for an employment permit. A job seeker visa is usually granted for Belgian university graduates or very highly qualified workers such as senior managers or scientists.
Belgium Family Reunion Visa
A Belgium family reunion visa is issued for third country citizens that have a spouse, minor or dependent major, or registered parents with permanent residence permits in Belgium and also will stay in the country for a period longer than three months. Proof of family relationship, proof of sufficient subsistence, and proof of accommodation are some of the additionally required documents while applying for the visa.
Belgium Researcher Visa
A Belgium researcher visa is granted for individuals who can provide a hosting agreement with a certified research institution to work in Belgium as a researcher for more than three months. The authorization to stay is limited to the duration of the research project.
Belgium Freelancer Visa
If you are working location-independently and have sufficient means of subsistence, health insurance, and adequate means of accommodation you can apply for a Belgium freelancer visa.
Belgium Language Course Visa
A Belgium language course visa is needed for third country individuals who are planning to stay in Belgium for more than three months. A confirmation letter is asked from the receiving institution as well as proof of accommodation, insurance, and proof of sufficient financial sources.
Belgium Student Internship Visa
A Belgium student internship visa is issued for third country nationals who are going to have unpaid internships in the country. It is important to include supporting documents regarding sufficient means of subsistence, accommodation, and purpose of stay while applying.
Belgium Partnership Visa
A Belgium partnership visa is granted for third country nationals whose spouse is a Belgium citizen or an EU blue cardholder. The applicant has to include documents of sufficient means of subsistence, accommodation, and proof of relationship.
Belgium Work Permit Visa
A Belgium work permit visa is required for every individual or group for all types of employment if they are going to work in Belgium except for citizens of the EU countries and Switzerland.
Belgium Relative Visa
A Belgium relative visa is issued for third country nationals who have spouses, registered parents, or unmarried minors who are Belgium citizens. The applicant needs to include documents of sufficient means of subsistence, accommodation, and proof of relationship.
General Requirements to Apply for Belgium Visa
In order to successfully obtain a Belgium touristic visa it is important to be prepared and gather all the necessary information regarding your nationality and purpose of visit beforehand. There are certain stages to obtain a Belgium touristic visa:
It is important to apply for a Belgium tourist visa in a reasonable time window. As a common rule in the Schengen area, visa applications should not be handed to corresponding consulate 15 days prior to the expected date of the arrival to the member country.
Make an Appointment
It is almost always required to make an appointment through the internet or phone to visit any Belgian embassy around the world. There will be a service fee asked from you in the embassy in addition to the visa fee.
Finalize Your Application
Find out which Belgian consulate is the most convenient for you to travel since you need to hand in the required documents in-person. There will be an interview held at the consulate to confirm your purpose of visit as well as other supporting documents.
Receive Your Visa
After processing time, you will be informed by the corresponding consulate or authorized visa service center and a Belgium tourist visa should be affixed to your passport.
Belgium Visa Applications
You are required to present following documents if your nationality is not eligible for a visa-free entry to Belgium:
- Fully completed, printed and signed Belgium visa application form
- A language preference form that will determine which language your application is going to be processed (French, German, Dutch, or English)
- Two identical passport-sized photos which are no older than three months
- A passport that is valid for at least three months before the planned date of departure, issued in the last 10 years, and contains two blank pages
- Copies of previous visas if applicable
- A cover letter that states your purpose of visit
- Round-trip flight ticket information
- A travel insurance that is valid in Belgium and Schengen area as well.
- Hotel booking or accommodation documents covering the duration of stay
- Proof of civil status
- Proof of sufficient income that will cover your expenses during your visit
- Supporting visa sponsorship documents of the sponsor if applicable
There are additionally required or supporting documents from certain applicants:
- Employment contract
- A letter from the company that states your absence, duration of the stay, and confirms returning to current job
- Bank statement of the last six months
- Income tax return if applicable
- Original bank slips
- Copy of business license
- Company bank statement of last six months
- Income tax return if applicable
- Proof of enrollment and no objection certificate from the registered school
- Sponsorship documents if the applicant cannot support himself/herself financially during the period of the stay
- Proof of pension of the last six months
What is Visa Sponsorship for Belgium?
A visa sponsorship is required in Belgium or any Schengen member state if the applicant cannot cover his/her expenses for educational or touristic purposes by own in the duration of the stay. A sponsor could be a parent, sibling, other relatives, or a friend. However, it would increase chances to obtain a visa if the sponsor is a first-degree relative and has a permanent residence permit or citizenship in a Schengen country. The required documents from the sponsor are:
- A signed sponsorship letter that clearly states the relationship with the applicant, information on how and what expenses going to be covered, personal and contact info of both the applicant and the sponsor, and accommodation details of the applicant
- A scanned copy of the ID
- Proof of sufficient funds such as bank statements or payroll
- Proof of estate or business ownership if applicable
- Signatory circulars
You can check our website for more details about visa sponsorships.
Belgium Visa Rules
There are many countries across the globe can enter Belgium without a visa. If your country is not eligible for visa-free entry to Belgium, you need to obtain a Belgium visa and take consideration of the following visa rules:
- The passport should not be older than ten years and contain at least two blank pages.
- The passport should be valid for more than three months from the expected day of arrival to
- The visa application form of the children under 18 years of age must also be signed by both parents or a legal guardian.
Belgium Visa Requirements
Belgium Visa Requirements for Third Country Nationals
Third country nationals without a right of free movement in the EU should apply for a visa to Belgium from its missions across the globe. A Belgium visa will enable its holder to travel any country within the Schengen area in duration of the stay.
Belgium Visa Requirements for US, UK, and Canada
Citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada can enter Belgium without a visa if:
- Their passport is valid for more than three months from the expected time of arrival to Belgium,
- They can present proof of sufficient financial means,
- The purpose of the visit is clear and documented.
Belgium Visa Fees
Belgium short-stay visa types listed below exclusively include the visa fee. Keep in mind that there might be additional payments expected from the applicant such as consular fees, service fees of the outsourced companies, or application form fees.
The current Belgium visa fees valid as of March 2020 are as follows:
|Short-Stay Visa Application Types
||Visa Fee in EUR
|Child between 6-12 years of age
|Child between 0-6 years of age
|Researchers and Scientists
|Family Members of an EEA national
|Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia Citizens
NOTE: This article was prepared in March 2020. Please check up-to-date information published by official sources.
Frequently Asked Questions