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Work permits – Fixed term – More than 90 days

Foreign nationals who do not fall under the exemptions, may only work in Belgium if they have been granted a work permit. If the work performed by the foreign national belongs to one of the series of well-defined categories, the employer can apply for a work permit for their future employee.

For a future employee who will be coming to Belgium to work for more than 90 days, the employer needs to start the permit application procedure.

The Economic Migration Department is presently experiencing a major influx of applications. As a result, processing currently takes nine weeks.
Please take this timing into consideration when submitting your application.

Employer applies for a permit

For future foreign employees who are coming to work in Belgium for more than 90 days, the employer applies for a single permit with a fixed term.

The employer needs to collect the documents required for the application. The documents do not need to be originals; copies will suffice.

There are sometimes different conditions and procedures for each category. If the application is approved, the Immigration Office will issue a permit. This includes both the work permit and the residence permit.

For the professional or managerial staff member, high-skilled and intra corporate transferee categories, the prospective employer can apply for a single permit for three years at once.

If the work that the foreign national will perform falls into the ‘other’ category, that employee may not yet be present in Belgium at the time of the first application.

Compiling the application dossier

Collect all the required documents in the order below for any 1 application.

Supplementary materials to include – per category

Depending on which category the employee belongs to, the employer needs to collect the following documents. This may result in deviations from the summary above.

Submit your application via the new, special service (since 31 May 2021)

The employer starts the procedure, collects the required documents and applies for the single permit via the new special service.


Would you like to renew a single permit? Submit your application to the Economic Migration Department at least 2 months, and at most 6 months prior to the expiry date of the permit.

Submit your application for renewal via the special service.

Include the documents below in your application. The documents do not need to be originals; copies will suffice.

  • The employee’s foreign identity card or the personal-detail page of their international passport
  • The employee’s Belgian residence permit
  • Proof (in Dutch)(opens in new window) that the employee has health insurance that covers all risks for them and their family members
  • The employer’s proof of identity, or that of their proxy or mandate holder
  • An employment contract if it is no longer the same as the one from the earlier period of employment
  • Payslips or wage statements from the period covered by the work permit, or an individual account if the employer worked for a full calendar year
  • Proof of enrolment in the Limosa Registry(opens in new window) if the employee is working on secondment.
  • If the employee is on secondment, include one of the following documents:
    • A declaration that the social security legislation of the employee’s country will remain in effect during the time they are working in Belgium
    • If there is no international agreement about social security: a declaration from the National Office for Social Security showing that the employee is not subject to the Belgian system for employees, because the conditions for this have not been fulfilled.
  • An attest signed by the (Belgian) employer, that includes:
    • the duration of the secondment
    • work and wage conditions during the secondment.
  • If an employee changes employer and there is still a valid single permit, a letter of termination with notice period should be delivered.

Starting work after being granted employment authorisation

When may the employee start work with the granted employment authorisation? There are two possible situations:

  • a first application - the foreign national employee obtained from our Flemish Economic Migration Service (via the employer) for the first time a fixed-term work permit for a single permit: in this case, the employee must wait until he/she receives from the Federal Immigration Office the Annex 46 (in Dutch)(PDF file opens in new window) - this is a paper confirmation that the single permit (both residence and employment) was issued, pending the final single permit, namely the (physical) electronic residence card;
  • a renewal - the foreign national employee obtained from our Flemish Economic Migration Service (via the employer) a new employment authorisation of limited duration for a single permit (usually subsequent to the previous single permit): In that case, the foreign national employee can continue working (if it concerns the same employer) or start working immediately (if it is another employer), if he/she has a still valid residence in the form of a valid electronic residence card or in the form of a Annex 49 (in Dutch)(PDF file opens in new window) .

Thus, for a first application, the foreign worker should effectively wait until he/she has also obtained a ‘green light’ from the Federal Immigration Office (via that Annex 46 (in Dutch)(PDF file opens in new window)). While in the event of a renewal if the foreign national employee is already legally present, he or she can simply continue to work (with the same employer, or start with the new employer).

Frequently asked questions

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