ready. You are currently on: Registration and migration Your future in Flanders

Registration and migration

Are you thinking of living in Flanders? Wondering what visa you need? Or which residence documents you need to fill out? To make the process as smooth and straightforward for you as possible, we tell you everything you need to know before and after you arrive in Flanders.


If you are not a Belgian national and you want to work or live in Belgium, you may need a visa(opens in new window). There are different types of visa. One authorises you to travel. Another allows you to live in Belgium. Which type do you need? Do you even need one at all? This all depends on your nationality and the purpose of your stay in Belgium. People with specific nationalities are permitted to enter the Schengen Area - which includes Belgium - for a period of up to 90 days without a visa. Other people will require a visa.

Procedure for requesting a visa

You’re able to apply for a visa in person at the Belgian embassy or consulate(opens in new window) in your country of residence. What if there is no Belgian embassy or consulate in your country? Apply at the Belgian embassy or consulate responsible for your country. It is most likely located in a neighbouring country.

As part of your application, you will be asked about your reasons for travelling to Belgium and how long you plan to stay.

Whether you require a visa or not, you’ll still need certain documents with you. If you’re a citizen of the European Union, it’s quite possible you’ll only need your identity card or a passport. But in general, the documents you need(opens in new window) depend on:

  • your nationality
  • how long you’ll be staying in Belgium. There are short-term visas (Schengen or Visa type C) and long-term visas (Visa type D)
  • the purpose of your stay in Belgium. Maybe you’re travelling around as a tourist. Perhaps you’re going to study. You could be migrating for work.

If you do not have the necessary documents, you will be refused entry to Belgium. If you have any questions or doubts, your nearest Belgian embassy or consulate(opens in new window) will be happy to help in any way possible.

Under normal circumstances, you’re required to leave Belgium and the Schengen Area when your residence permit expires. Failure to do so may impact your ability to re-enter in the future. You even be breaking the law.

However, you are welcome to apply for re-entry. How?

  • If you are subject to a visa requirement, you first must leave the Schengen Area. Apply for a new short-stay visa. Once your visa is granted, you’re permitted to return.
  • The situation is different if you’re not subject to a visa requirement. You’re welcome to immediately take up residence in another country in the Schengen Area. Please note that you’ll need to take up contact with the authorities in that country. What if you want to continue living in Belgium? You’re required to first leave the Schengen Area. You’re the immediately permitted to return.

Permanent residence

You will need to meet different requirements and provide a few different documents if you wish to apply for permanent residence in Belgium. Part of the Federal Public Service for Home Affairs, the Immigration Office(opens in new window) will help you at every step of your application for permanent residence. You will also find that the application procedure differs for citizens of the European Union(opens in new window) and nationals of other countries (in Dutch)(opens in new window).

Family reunification

Family reunification programmes(opens in new window) may grant you the right to residence if you have relatives in Belgium. What if you don’t yet have family living in Belgium yet, but you want to marry someone or legally cohabit with someone living in Belgium? You’re welcome to apply for residential status. There are certain conditions, documents and processes involved.