Obtain Work Permits
- All workpermit.com Immigration and Naturalization Services forms
- Use the Application Form and Document List for Beligium
- Employers with inquiries for our services may contact us at our Riga, Latvia office for assistance.
European Union nationals don't require work permits to find employment in Belgium. Non-EU nationals must have a work permit, usually applied for by their potential employer, in order to be legally entitled to work in the country. Belgium generally requires you to have a work permit or evidence that your employer has applied for one on your behalf before you can apply for a residence permit or long-stay visa.
The employer, not the individual, files the work permit application, and before a permit is granted, the employer must prove that no Belgian or European Union citizen is able to do the job.
Applications relating to artists, au pairs, specialized technicians and trainees require slightly different processing.
There are two possible ways for the candidate to be employed with a work permit:
- As the direct employee of a Belgian company.
- As the employee of a foreign company that is providing services to a Belgian company. This foreign company may not be a recruitment agency and must produce a service contract as part of the application. Where this occurs, the application needs to be made in conjunction with a Belgian accountant who must administer the payrolling of the candidate to ensure that all tax and social security is duly paid.
Those who wish to be self-employed in Belgium must apply for a Professional Card. The application process can take up to a year, and the permit must be renewed annually.
There are three types of work permit in Belgium:
- A C permit is valid for only one year, allowing the holder to work for multiple employers. This is usually issued to migrant agricultural or domestic workers. C permits generally aren't renewable.
- A B permit is valid for one employer and runs for one year, after which it can be renewed (by the same employer, usually for the same job or job classification). If you change employers, your new employer must apply for a new B permit. You may find that you have to return to your home country and re-apply for a residence visa before you can start your new job! Once you've renewed a B permit four or more times, i.e. have lived and worked in Belgium for five years on the same permit, you can receive an unlimited A permit.
- An A permit allows you to work for any employer in Belgium for an unlimited period of time. These permits are issued only to the following categories of applicant: the spouse of an A permit holder, the non-EU spouse of a Belgian national, the non-EU spouse of an EU national legally resident in Belgium, and any foreigner with five years' uninterrupted (legal) residency in Belgium.
Professional Cards are suitable for the self-employed who want to work in Belgium. Cards are valid for 5 years and are limited to a precise field of practise.
Self-employed professionals from outside the EU must apply for a professional card (carte professionale/beroepskaart) in order to work in Belgium. A professional card can be issued for a period of five years. You'll need a passport, medical certificate and a police certificate in addition to proof of your qualifications in your profession. Be sure to check with a Belgian embassy or consulate in your home country, as some professions require specific proof that you're already established in your field.
The renewal of Professional Cards does not usually pose any problems.
Exemption from the work permit
The main categories of foreign nationals exempt from the work permit requirement are as follows:
- Nationals of a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) and their spouses, their descendants aged under 21 years or who are still dependent on them, relatives in the ascending line who are dependent on them and their spouses.
- The spouse of a Belgian and their descendants aged under 21 or who are dependent on them, their dependent relatives in the ascending line and their spouses.
- Foreign nationals in possession of a residence permit.
- Foreign nationals authorised or admitted for an unlimited period of time.
- Acknowledge refugees in Belgium.
- Students staying legally in Belgium to work only during school holidays (the Christmas holidays, the Easter holidays and the summer holidays).
- Students on training courses that are mandatory for their studies in Belgium.
- Apprentices hired under the terms of an apprenticeship or sandwich course contract.