Belgium Visa Application Requirements:
The Western European country of Belgium, officially known as the Kingdom of Belgium, is home to 11,420,163 residents. Its capital, Brussels, is among the largest and most densely populated Belgian cities.
Different parts of today’s Belgium have been ruled by the Dutch, Spanish, French, and Austrian, which have left behind a rich history and architecture. The country is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets, and medieval buildings.
Some of the favorite tourist attractions in Europe are located in Belgium, like the spectacularly beautiful medieval city of Antwerp, the Archaeological Museum of Arlon, the Flemish béguinages, the fairytale-like the ancient city of Bruges crisscrossed by canals, and much more.
In 1995, the government of Belgium signed the Schengen Agreement, thus joining the European border-free area. Today, short-stay entry to Belgium also enables one to travel to the rest of the Schengen member states, which includes a significant share of Europe.
Belgium Entry Requirements
If you reach Belgium by air, upon arrival at the Belgian airport you will have to present some travel and identification documents to the Belgian border officer. These documents are as follows:
- A valid passport or travel document. Valid for at least three more months beyond the date you plan to leave Belgium (and the Schengen Zone), issued within the last 10 years.*
- A visa – if you are subject to the Belgian visa regime.
You may also be asked for other supporting documents such as an invitation letter from a Belgian host, proof of lodging, or a round-trip ticket. For more information in this regard, contact the local consular services of Belgium in your home country.
These documents will be checked by the Belgian border official, who may ask you a few questions about your trip to Belgium like:
- What is your purpose for visiting Belgium?
- How long do you intend to stay in Belgium?
- Where are you going to stay in Belgium? Etc.
Upon checking your documents, the Belgian border officer will give the final decision on whether you should be permitted to enter Belgium or not. If everything looks okay, you will be allowed to enter Belgium, and thus the Schengen Area.
Please, make sure that the Belgian border officer gives you an entry stamp in your passport when you enter the Schengen area. Without a stamp, you could be fined or detained in Belgium.
What Type of Visa Do I Need to Enter Belgium?
If you are planning to visit Belgium for a short-term trip, you will have to apply for a Schengen Visa to Belgium. According to the purpose of your visit to Belgium, you can get one of the following Schengen visa types:
- Belgium Airport Transit– if you need to transit through one of the Belgian airports, to reach your travel destination country, outside the Schengen Area. Find out if will need a Belgian Airport Transit visa.
- Belgium Tourist Visa – for visitors who wish to spend their vacations in Belgium, or that want to come over for sightseeing and exploring.
- Belgium Visitor Visa – for foreigners who have family members or friends residing in Belgium, and wish to pay them a visit.
- Belgium Business Visa – established for business people that want/need to participate in activities that are related to business, in Belgium.
- Belgium Visa for Official Visit – for delegations traveling to Belgium on official visits.
- Belgium Visa for Medical reasons – per patients that need to obtain medical care in one of the hospitals or clinics in Belgium
- Belgium Visa for Study Purposes – for those who wish to study at an educational institution in Belgium, for up to three months.
- Belgium Visa for Cultural, Sports, and Film Crews – for people wishing to attend an activity in the cultural or sports field, which takes place in Belgium.
What Documents are Required when Applying for a Belgium Schengen Visa?
According to Belgium visa requirements, the following documents must be submitted to the Belgium embassy/consulate when applying for any short-term Belgium visa:
- Belgium visa application form. Fully completed, printed, and signed at the end.
- Two identical photos. The photographs should be no older than three months and taken according to the Belgium visa photograph requirements & specifications.
- Your passport. It should contain at least two blank pages in order to be able to affix the Belgium visa sticker. Check the validity of your passport before you apply, since it must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you exit Belgium (Schengen territory). It must be no older than 10 years, as well.
- Copies of your previous visas (if applicable).
- Language Preference Form. Belgian authorities offer you the opportunity to choose in which of the three national languages of Belgium you wish your application to be treated (French, German or Dutch). On the other hand, if you choose to complete the application in English, please choose “no preference”.
- A cover letter. In which you explain why you wish to visit Belgium and give further details on your trip.
- Round-trip Flight Itinerary. Containing the dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from Belgium (Schengen area).
- Proof of accommodation. A document that shows where you will stay in Belgium. I.e. Hotel reservation for the whole duration of the intended stay in Belgium.
- Proof of civil status. This could be a marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, etc.
- Proof of sufficient financial means for the period of stay in Belgium. According to the Belgian Immigration Office, a traveler has to attest to possessing €95 per day if staying in a hotel and €45 when planning to get accommodated by cheaper means.
- Schengen Travel Insurance. You are required to submit a document that confirms that you have purchased travel insurance for Belgium and the whole territory of Schengen, with a minimum €30,000 coverage for medical emergencies, and repatriation in case of death.
Belgium Visa Requirements Based on Your Employment Status
Additionally, you will need to provide the embassy/consulate with documents that prove you meet Belgium visa requirements based on your employment status:
- Employment contract
- Current bank statement for the latest 6 months
- Leave permission from the employer
- Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary
- A copy of your business license
- Company bank statement for the latest 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
If a student:
- Proof of enrolment
- No-objection certificate from school or university
- Pension statement of the latest 6 months
- Proof of regular income generated by a property, for the last 6 months
Belgium Visa Requirements for Minors
Additional Belgium visa requirements for minors wishing to visit Belgium for short stays are as follows:
- Birth certificate of the minor traveling to Belgium
- Belgium application form signed by both parents.
- Family court order – in cases where only one parent has full custody of the child.
- Certified copies of ID/passport of both parents.
- A notarized parental authorization to travel to Belgium, signed by both parents/guardians if the minor will be traveling alone.
How to Apply for a Belgium Visa?
In order to complete the application process to obtain a short-stay visa to Belgium, you must follow these steps:
- Find out where you need to apply for a visa to Belgium.
- Choose the right Belgium Schengen visa type. Based on the purpose of your travel to Belgium, choose the right visa type to apply for.
- Collect the required documents for a visa to Belgium. Make sure you collect the right documents for the type of Belgium visa you are applying for and that they all comply with the criteria as defined by the Belgian Embassy/Consulate in your country of residence.
- Make a visa appointment with the Belgium Embassy/Consulate or a Belgium-accredited visa application center in your country of residence.
- Attend the visa interview at the appropriate Belgium Embassy/Consulate/VAC.
Where to Apply for a Belgium Visa?
Depending on how the Belgian authorities have regulated visa submission and processing in your country of residence, you will have to apply for a short-stay visa to Belgium at one of the following:
- The Belgian Embassy in your country of residence
- One of the Belgian consulates
- A Visa Application Center to which Belgium has outsourced visa submission
- The Embassy / Consulate of another Schengen country to which Belgium has outsourced visa submission
Who Can Apply for a Schengen Visa at the Belgian Embassy/Consulate/VAC?
If Belgium is the only country in the Schengen Area, that you plan to visit, then simply apply at the Belgian embassy/consulate / VAC in your country of residence.
On the other hand, if you will be visiting Belgium and at least one more Schengen state, then you should apply at the Belgian embassy/consulate / VAC in your country of residence if:
- You will be spending more days in Belgium, than in the other countries
- You will be spending an equal amount of days in each country, but you will enter the Schengen Zone through Belgium
Please keep in mind that to be eligible to apply for a Belgian short-stay visa you must be:
- A citizen of the country from where you are applying
- A foreign citizen currently on a temporary residence permit in the country from where you are applying
You cannot apply for a short-stay Belgian visa from a country in which you are currently on a visa.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Belgian Visa?
The processing time for a Belgian Schengen visa may take up to 15 days, in a normal situation. In some cases, this period may be extended as follows:
- up to 30 days due to the high number of applications the embassy of Belgium is receiving or the sensitivity of your case
- up to 60 days in extraordinary cases, especially when the Belgian embassy has to consult the embassy of one or more Schengen members
That is why you are highly recommended to apply for your Belgian short-stay visa as soon as you can, but no earlier than three months prior to your trip to Belgium.