- Download our Moving to Belgium Guide (PDF)
Although EU citizens don't need a work permit in Belgium, non-European expats do. The Belgian work permit is also known as a 'single permit'.
Application forms for work permits in Belgium are obtained from the relevant employment agency in the region of the country the expat intends to work.
Work permits for non-European citizens
Non-European nationals will need a work permit to be legally employed in the country. It's usually the responsibility of the Belgian employer to receive authorisation to hire a foreign worker and apply for a work permit on their behalf.
There are three main types of work permits for non-European citizens in Belgium:
Work Permit B: This short-term permit is valid for a single employer and issued for up to 12 months. Most expats moving to Belgium will require this type of work permit.
Work Permit C: This permit allows foreign nationals to work for multiple employers and is valid for up to 12 months. It is generally granted to specific categories of workers, such as seasonal workers or international students working part-time.
Work Permit D: This is a long-term permit for highly skilled workers and executives employed in Belgium for at least four consecutive years. It is also known as the European Blue Card.
Once the relevant authorities have authorised their employment, the expat employee can apply for a Schengen visa, enabling them to enter the country and stay temporarily.
- Read more about work permits on the Belgian Immigration Office website
Work permits for European citizens
Citizens of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) don't usually require a work permit for Belgium. European citizens working in Belgium must have a full EU or EEA passport or identity card. These nationals are free to enter Belgium for up to three months to look for work or set up a business. Those staying for more than three months are required to register at their local Belgian town hall.
- Read more on the official YourEurope website.
*Work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►For more on jobs and the business environment, see Working in Belgium
►Doing Business in Belgium gives an overview of the business culture in the country
"From the Belgian side, the work permit and visa were straightforward. However, to get the required documents from the South African government took almost six months. After providing the documents to the Belgian government, I was awarded my visa and work permit within four days. I did it all by myself, but with some help from the people in the South African expat group here in Belgium." Learn more about moving to Belgium in our interview with South African expat Marco.
Are you an expat living in Belgium?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Belgium. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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