Which admission to work is required?

By answering a few questions, you can find out in which category of employee you are eligible for admission to work.

For whom?

Foreign nationals who are not from an EEA Member State or Switzerland and who want to work in Flanders for a maximum of 90 days, need a work permit to do so. The employer applies for the admission to work and if it is approved, the employee receives a work permit and the employer receives an employment permit.

The European Economic Area consists of all EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Other admissions to work

More than 90 days

Foreign nationals who want to work more than 90 days in Belgium as a salaried employee need a different admission to work: the single fixed-term permit.
Only au pairs, trainees and frontier workers are allowed to work in Flanders for more than 3 months, but they always need a work permit and employment permit to do so.
Frontier workers are workers who work in Flanders but live in a neighbouring country: The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France or United Kingdom.

Self-employed

If you are a foreign national and want to work in Belgium as a self-employed person, you will need a professional card. This gives you permission to carry out a self-employed activity.

No authorisation required

Sommige categorieën van buitenlanders mogen in Vlaanderen bij om het even welke werkgever om het even welk werk doen, omdat ze:

Categories

Procedure

The employer starts the procedure. He applies for

  • the work permit for your future employee
  • the employment authorisation for himself.

He collects the required documents for his application. The documents don’t have to be originals, a copy will do.

  • Stap 1

    Assemble the required documents in the fixed order as mentioned here, to form 1 application. Use the sheets you can find in the back of the application form to separate the different categories of documents.

    1. Application form

      The form ‘Application for fixed term work authorisation with work permit and employment permit (dutch only) (fichier Word)' completely filled out by the employer.

    2. Documents concerning residence (Required by the Foreigners’ Office)
      • Valid passport or equalised traveling document (only concrete personal data, no stamp pages, wheter they’re blank or filled).
      • Proof ((S'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre)) that the required administrative costs (retribution fee) have been paid (cfr Art. 1/1 of the Law of 15 December 1980)
      • If the employee is at least 18 years old: certificate proving that he has not been convicted for any crimes or misconduct under common law. Has the certificate been issued abroad? Then it has to be legalised ((S'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre)) and translated (Dutch, French or English).
      • Medical certificate ((S'ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre)) showing that the employee does not suffer from any disease threatening public health, as mentioned in the appendix of the Law of 15 December 1980.
      • Proof that the employee has health insurance or commitment declaration)

      When applying for a renewal of work authorisation, the three last documents do not have to be added again.

    3. Employment contract

      When there is none: proof of other income.

    4. Identity card of the employer

      Or that of his proxy holder.

    5. Employment-related documents

      A number of specific employment-related documents are required per category of foreign employee. Which ones precisely, you can read on the page of that certain category, such as, under work permit and employment authorisation or under single permit fixed term.
      For example:

      • All pay slips or statements from the period for which an admission to work expires (in case of renewal).
      • An individual account (overview of days worked and wages of the employee) if an employee has worked for a full calendar year.
      • Diploma (for skilled employee).
      • In case of detachment: 1 of the following documents:
        • Declaration that the social security legislation of the employee's home country remains in force while working in Belgium
        • If no international agreement exists in this respect: declaration by the National Social Security Office that the employee is not subject to the Belgian scheme for employees because the relevant conditions are not met.
      • In case of detachment: certificate signed by you (employer) stating:
        • duration of the detachment
        • work and salary conditions during detachment.
      • Proof of registration in Limosa register when an employee is detached within the application area of title IV, chapter 8, of the program law (I) of 27 December 2006
      • ...
  • Stap 2
    • Scan your file completely, including all added documents in the required order.
    • Group everything in one single pdf-file.
    • Name the pdf as follows:
      [surnames in capital letters]underscore[given names in capital letters]underscore[land of nationality]
      and, if known, add:
      underscore[national security number, fully in digits – BIS- or national number]
      Fictional example: MOHAMMED_AHMED YOUSSEF_Morocco_95470115388.pdf
  • Stap 3

    Submit your scanned file as 1 pdf-file by e-mail to: aanvraag.arbeidskaart@vlaanderen.be (S'ouvrira dans votre application de messagerie).

    Formal conditions

    Receiver

    Submit your file by e-mail: aanvraag.arbeidskaart@vlaanderen.be (S'ouvrira dans votre application de messagerie).
    Use this e-mail address only for the actual application.
    The general e-mail address (for questions concerning regulations, way of handling, specific requests, etc.) is arbeidskaart@vlaanderen.be.

    Do not mention other names as (co-)addressee, neither directly, nor in Cc or Bcc).

    Subject

    In the subject line, you mention the complete name of the pdf-file, followed by the specific category you want to apply for (e.g. skilled staff, manager or training in multinational group, as indicated on the application form), followed by the type of application (‘first application’ or ‘renewal’).

    Fictional example: MOHAMMED_AHMED YOUSSEF_Morocco_95470115388.pdf – skilled staff – first application;

    Body text

    In the e-mail message itself, always mention:

    • employee (last names and given names)
    • concerned Belgian company (employer or user in case of detachment, company name and -number)
    • in case of an au-pair: hosting family
    • when applicable the concerned foreign company (only in case of detachment: company name and address)
    • function title.

    If you want to, you can also add some more information about the specific employment.

    Fictional example: MOHAMMED Ahmed Youssef, Janssen Pharmaceutica (0403.834.160), Marrakech Consultants (Avenue Ibn Sina, Marrakech), senior consultant.

    Enclosure

    You only add 1 scanned application in pdf-format as an enclosure. The maximum file size is 20 megabyte (MB). If the application size is larger than 20 MB, you compress it in a 'zip-file’ of maximum 20 MB.

    Reception confirmation

    You receive an automatic reception confirmation containing your original message as soon as you have e-mailed your application (without enclosure). The Economic Migration Service is treating the applications in chronologic order by time of reception.

    Application by regular post

    Exceptionally, you can still send in your application by regular post to the Economic Migration Service until 30 June, if you can give a good reason. In that case, consider that the handling period will be longer.

    Afdeling Tewerkstelling en Competenties
    Dienst Economische Migratie
    Koning Albert II-laan 35 bus 20
    1030 Brussel