Apply for a professional card

Check before you apply for a professional card whether:

  • you are eligible for an exemption
  • you fulfil all the conditions

Follow these steps for your application:

  • Stap 1

    Choose where you want to set yourself up as a self-employed person in Belgium. Your choice determines whether your application will be processed by the Flemish, Walloon or Brussels-Capital Region. If you do not open a place of business, you determine where the self-employed activities will be performed.

  • Stap 2

    Prepare an application file consisting of the following components:

    1. A completed, dated and signed application form.
    Which application form to use depends on your situation:

    2. General supporting documents

    • a cover page listing all the supporting documents in your file. Tip: Start with this cover page and consider it as a check-list.
    • a certificate of good conduct and character issued by the authorities of the country where you currently reside. Or an extract from the criminal records in your name and no more than 6 months old.
    • proof that you have paid the application fee of 140 euros
      Note: You will only receive this proof when you submit your application file. Add the document to your file at the last moment.
    • a copy of your residence permit for the country where you are submitting your application.
    • a valid ID

    3. Specific supporting documents
    Include the following specific supporting documents in your application file, depending on your situation.

    • Does the professional card have to give you the right to reside in Belgium?
    • Do you, as a foreign student, want to perform a self-employed activity? Attach the proof of enrolment at your educational institute to your file.
  • Stap 3

    The supporting documents in your application file must be translated into Dutch, French or English. For each supporting document, include (a copy of) the translation and (a copy of) the original supporting document with your file.

    Official documents must be translated by a sworn translator. What if you have the supporting documents translated abroad? And not by a translator who is sworn in a Belgian court? In this case, the translation must:

    • be legalised
    • or bear an apostille stamp of the competent authority in the issuing country.
  • Stap 4

    Submit your application and pay the file fee of 140 euros. Where you submit the application depends on your situation:

    • Are you domiciled abroad? Or do you not have a valid residence permit for Belgium? Submit your application file at the Belgian diplomatic mission or consular post(opens in new window) in your country of residence.
    • Do you have a valid residence permit for Belgium? That means: a 'certificate of registration - model A’ or a 'certificate of registration in the register of foreign nationals' (= electronic residence card - type A)? Submit your application in Belgium at a one-stop shop for business.
    • Are you unable to submit your application in your country of residence for security reasons? In this case:
    1. apply for authorisation to the competent Minister in the region where you want to settle and to the Federal Minister for Home Affairs.
      Do this by giving reasons for your dangerous situation and sending supporting documents that show that you cannot apply for the professional card in your country of residence.
    2. make your own application for the professional card:
    • at a Belgian diplomatic mission or consular post in another country
    • or at a recognised one-stop shop for business in Belgium.

Your application

The embassy, consulate or one-stop shop for business will send your file within 5 days to the Economic Migration Department in the region where you want to establish your self-employed activity.

Handling of your application

De gewestelijke dienst Economische Migratie behandelt uw aanvraag in 2 stappen:

  1. The service will check whether you have submitted the application correctly.
    • Your application is deemed inadmissible. The diplomatic post or the one-stop shop for business will inform you of this.
    • Your application is deemed admissible. The authorised service will then examine your application further.
  2. The service examines whether your file complies with the eligibility conditions.


The regional Economic Migration Service decides on your application file. There are 2 options:

  1. Your file is approved.
    • the diplomatic post or the one-stop shop for business will inform you
    • you can pick up the professional card at the one-stop shop for business of your choice, where you will have to pay an additional fee of 90 euros for each year that the card is valid.
  2. Your file is rejected. The diplomatic post or the one-stop shop for business also informs you if this is the case.
    • you can submit an appeal against the refusal within 30 days
    • you can submit a new application for the same activity no sooner than 2 years following receipt of the rejection. You do not have to wait two years in the following cases::
      • your application was inadmissible
      • you can provide new elements
      • you apply for a new activity as a self-employed person.
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