Belgium Visa Requirements – How to Apply for a Belgium Schengen Visa
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 the most densely populated Belgian cities.
Different parts of today’s Belgium have been ruled by the Dutch, Spanish, French, 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 favourite tourism attractions in Europe are located in Belgium, as the spectacularly beautiful medieval city of Antwerp, the Archaeological Museum of Arlon, the Flemish béguinages, the fairytale-like 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 as well, which includes a great share of Europe.
In 2017 alone, the Belgian embassies around the world received 231,437 short-stay visa applications to Belgium.
Belgium Entry Requirements
If you reach Belgium through 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 Belgian visa regime.
*British passport holders are exempt from the criteria of passport validity and issuance date.
You may also be asked for other supporting documents such as an invitation letter by 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 of 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 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 from Belgium.
Who Needs a Schengen Visa to Enter Belgium?
Because of the common rules of the Schengen zone in the issuance of visas, you will have to apply for a visa when traveling to Belgium if you are:
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 travelling to Belgium on official visits.
- Belgium Visa for Medical reasons – per patients that 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 to 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 to 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”.
- Schengen Travel Insurance. You are required to submit a document, which 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. Learn how to buy travel insurance to meet the Belgium visa requirements.
- A cover letter. In which you explain why you wish to visit Belgium and you 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. Find and Book Cheap Hotels 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 traveller has to attest possessing €95 per day if staying in a hotel, and €45 when planning to get accommodated by cheaper means.
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 of 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 of the latest 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
If a student:
- Pension statement of the latest 6 months
- Proof of regular income generated by 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 following:
- 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 over 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 travelling alone.
*Note: When applying at the Belgian embassy/consulate, the guardian or parent should accompany their under-age children.
Additional Requirements Based on the Purpose of Entry to Belgium
Depending on the purpose of your visit to Belgium, you will need to meet some additional Belgium visa requirements. Following find the extra required documents you need to submit, based on your reason for traveling to Belgium.
Required Documents for an Airport Transit Visa to Belgium
When applying to get a Belgium Airport Visa, you must provide the following additional documents:
- A valid visa (if needed) for the final country one is travelling to.
- The flight ticket for the final country you are travelling to.
Required Documents for a Tourist Schengen Visa to Belgium
According to Belgium visa requirements, the following additional documents are required to be submitted when applying to obtain a Belgium Tourist visa:
- Bank statement. Preferably for the last 6 months.
- Travel Itinerary. A detailed description of your trip in Belgium. Make sure to include the purpose of travelling and the intended period of stay (entry / exit dates), as well as any hotel reservations to prove where you will be accommodated while in Belgium. Do not forget to list the places you plan on visiting or activities you will be attending.
- Proof how you will be financing your trip to Belgium.
Required Documents for a Schengen Visitor Visa to Belgium
When applying to obtain a visa to visit a friend or a family member who lives in Belgium, you must provide the following additional documents in order to meet the Belgium visa requirements:
- Proof of financial means. Evidence that shows you have enough money to support yourself throughout your stay in Belgium. The Belgian authorities want from your to prove that you have at least €95 per day when staying at a hotel (if you have not prepaid it), and €45 when staying at a cheaper place or if you have already paid your hotel. This document could be a:
- Bank account statement, if you will be covering all costs by yourself.
- Proof of sponsorship. In case another person residing in Belgium will cover your expenses throughout your stay in Belgium, the following must also be submitted:
- A formal obligation not older than 6 months
- Copy of the guarantor’s 3 most recent salary sheets/ guarantor’s most recent tax sheet/ other official proof of the guarantor’s solvency;
- A photocopy of the identity card or the unlimited residence permit of the guarantor
- An original certificate of family composition of the guarantor, issued by his/her municipality in Belgium (no residence certificate).
- Travel Itinerary. A description of your trip, including your purpose of travelling to Belgium, the time frame you will remain there, and places you plan to visit/activities to attend. Include information where you will be staying in Belgium, i.e. your host’s home address if you have been invited to stay at their place
- Letter of Invitation. By the relative/friend residing in Belgium attached to their Belgian ID card or Belgian residence permit.
Required Documents for a Business Schengen Visa to Belgium
When applying to obtain a Belgium Business visa, you must provide the following additional documents, which apply to your case:
- Invitation letter from the Belgian company you will be visiting and their details and address, accompanied with the dates of your visit.
- A certificate from your employer. In this letter should be stated why you will be traveling to Belgium, and that your employer permits you to leave throughout that period.
- Business bank statement. Preferably for the last 6 months.
- Memorandum and Article of Association. It should be submitted in original certified copy (registered with joint stock companies).
- Trade License (first issued and present renewal).
- Proof of trip financing. Regarding your expenses during your whole stay in Belgium, either the employer or the partner company must state coverage of expenses on the letter or invitation.
Required Documents for a Student Schengen Visa to Belgium
When applying to get a Belgium Student visa, you must provide the following additional documents:
- An enrollment certificate allowing attendance of courses (school / university / language course / etc.), in Belgium
- No objection letter from the educational institution where your currently enrolled (if applicable)
Required Documents for a Medical Schengen Visa to Belgium
When applying to get a visa to receive medical treatment in Belgium, you must provide the following additional documents:
- A local medical report. Issued from a doctor / clinic / hospital in the home country of the visa candidate, that your need medical treatment in Belgium.
- A medical attestation from the hospital or doctor in Belgium, confirming the date of your appointment as well as your medical situation
- Payment receipt of medical fees
- Official confirmation of the treatment/appointment by the receiving medical institution (hospital/clinic) in
- Proof that you have the sufficient financial means to pay the medical expenses and other related expenses throughout their treatment.
Required Documents for a Schengen Visa to Belgium for Cultural, Sports, Film Crew or Religious Purposes
When applying to get a Belgium visa under the purpose of attending a Cultural / Sports / Religious Event in Belgium you must provide the following additional documents:
- Event Information. As:
- Invitation letter from the relevant body in Belgium with details upon the nature of events or activities that are to be held in Belgium.
- Entry tickets to the event
- Enrollment conditions
- Detailed programme of the event in Belgium
- Other documents that present Names of the applicants (crew members) and other relevant information about the event.
- Proof of previous performances. Participation in previous festivals and ceremonies (cultural, religious), sports competitions, winners certificates, proof of world/international ranking (sports).
Required Documents for a Belgian Schengen Visa for the Wife/Husband of a Belgian Citizen
- Proof of Belgian citizenship (ID card or consular card or certification of Belgian nationality or naturalization order).
- Belgian marriage certificate.
- Belgian family record book.
Belgian Schengen Visa for Members of Official Delegations:
- The official invitation copy.
- Evidence on the purpose of journey (negotiations, meetings, event by intergovernmental organizations, consultations).
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 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, which 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 in 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 following:
- 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.
How Much Does It Cost to Apply for a Belgian Visa?
Belgium Short Term Visa Fees at a Glance
Still, be informed that depending on applicant’s age, nationality and some other factors you could be exempt from paying the Belgium visa fee, or at least you may have to pay a reduced fee.
Check the list of the Belgian Schengen Visa fees for more information in this regard!
How Long Can We Stay in Belgium Without a Visa?
Nationals of countries that are not under the list of Schengen Visa exempt countries cannot enter or stay in Belgium or any other Schengen country without a visa.
On the other hand, nationals of a visa-exempt countries, can remain in Belgium for up to 90 days, within a 180 days period. The time spent in other countries within the Schengen Area, is also counted in this period.
Please make sure you understand the 90/180 Schengen Visa Rule. Do not violate this rule, not even for one day, since you may face consequences for overstaying in the Schengen territory.
Do US Citizens Need a Visa to Visit Belgium?
U.S. citizens don’t need to obtain a Belgium visa when traveling to Belgium for up to 90 days for tourism and business purposes. However, US nationals are required to hold a US passport, which should be valid for at least 3 months beyond the period of their stay in Belgium.
For more information, please check US Citizens Traveling to Europe and Schengen Visa Requirements for Green Card Holders and US Residents
Can I Extend My Schengen Visa in Belgium?
Yes, you can extend your Belgian Schengen visa, but only in exceptional cases where new facts and special reasons arise after entry in Belgium.
Please read How to Extend a Visa to Belgium to understand in what circumstances and what are the conditions you must fulfill in order to be eligible to extend your Belgian Schengen Visa.
Can My Belgian Schengen Visa Be Revoked?
Yes, the relevant Belgian authorities may revoke your visa. The revocation of a visa may happen if the conditions for issuing the visa are no longer met.
Failure of the visa holder to provide the border officer with the entry requirements does not cause automatic annulment of a Schengen visa to Belgium. However, it may lead to that.
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