Some non-Belgian nationals do not need a professional card to be self-employed in Belgium:

  • nationals of Switzerland
  • nationals of an EU Member State, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein. The following persons do not need a professional card either if they are living with these nationals:
    • their spouse or legally cohabiting partner;
    • children or grandchildren of the national, his spouse or legally cohabiting partner, who are under the age of 21 and are still dependent.
    • parents or grandparents of the national, his spouse or legally cohabiting partner, if they are dependent.
    • Note: The (grand)parents of a student, or of his spouse or legally cohabiting partner, do need a professional card to work in Belgium as a self-employed person.
    • the spouse or legally cohabiting partner of children living at home, grandchildren, parents or grandparents.
  • the spouse of a Belgian. The following persons do not need a professional card either if they are living with the Belgian national:
    • children or grandchildren of the Belgian national or his spouse who are under the age of 21 and are still dependent.
    • parents or grandparents of the Belgian national or his spouse if they are dependent.
    • the spouse of children living at home, grandchildren, parents or grandparents.
  • Foreign nationals with a valid identity card for foreign nationals or with a Certificate of Registration in the Register of Foreign Nationals without restrictive residence conditions (Electronic residence permit - type B).
  • refugees recognised by Belgium.
  • the spouses or legally cohabiting partners of the self-employed worker who assist or deputise for him in the exercise of the self-employed activity;
  • foreign nationals residing legally in another EU Member State and who, as a service provider (= "Any natural person, national of a Member State or legal person established in a Member State may offer or carry out his services in another European Member State"), come to perform a service in Belgium
    Note: They can only work in Belgium without a professional card. They do, however, need a professional card to establish themselves as a self-employed worker.
  • foreign nationals on a business trip in Belgium, if they do not have their main domicile in Belgium and the business trip
  • vreemdelingen op zakenreis in België, als ze geen hoofdverblijfplaats hebben in België en de zakenreis
    • does not exceed 3 consecutive months
    • is carried out for the foreign national's own account or for the account of the foreign national's company
    • has 1 of following objectives:
      • to visit professional partners
      • to research and develop professional contacts
      • to negotiate and conclude contracts
      • to participate in shows, trade fairs and exhibitions in order to present or sell products
      • to participate in the board of directors or general meetings of companies.
  • foreign nationals who hold conferences in Belgium, if they do not have their main domicile in Belgium and their stay does not exceed 3 consecutive months.
  • foreign journalists, if they do not have their main domicile in Belgium and their journalistic activities in Belgium do not exceed 3 consecutive months.
  • foreign athletes and their independent support personnel, if they do not have their main domicile in Belgium and their activities in Belgium do not exceed 3 consecutive months.
  • foreign artists and their self-employed support personnel, if they do not have their main domicile in Belgium and their activities in Belgium do not exceed 3 consecutive months.
  • foreign students undertaking traineeship in Belgium as part of their studies
  • foreign nationals who undertake a traineeship in Belgium that is approved by the competent authority in the framework of development cooperation or exchange programmes based on reciprocity;
  • foreign nationals registered as lawyer or trainee lawyer with the Professional Lawyers Association.

More information: detailed overview of exemptions (PDF file opens in new window).