Tourists know Belgium for its quaint countryside, well-preserved historic cities, and multi-lingual population of French, German, and Dutch speakers.
You may need a visa to travel to Belgium, depending on where you are from (nationality), the length of your trip (duration of stay), and your reason for travel (type of visa needed).
There are numerous types of visas for Belgium, which are valid for travel for specific purposes and times. Different Belgian visas have different Belgium visa requirements and validity periods.
In general, Belgian visas can be divided into two main categories: short stay visas and long stay visas (a long stay visa for Belgium is required for those looking to spend more than 90 days in the country).
Another main distinction relates to allowed entries: a single entry will allow you just one entry into the country; a multiple entry visa for Belgium will let you enter and exit as many times as needed.
A long stay visa to Belgium is available for the following purposes:
The following documents are typically required for all visas to Belgium:
Official, government-issued document, not older than 10 years, with the correct validity length (a minimum three months past the intended day of exit from Belgium)
Your Belgium visa fee will depend on the type of visa you are applying for, and possibly other factors, such as your age. Adult Schengen visas fees are traditionally €80; the basic long-term Belgian national visa fee for adults is €198.
Two recently taken photos of the applicant. Photos should be passport style (and have passport dimensions). You will likely upload these photos electronically; alternatively, you will be asked to submit physical copies
You will almost certainly have to submit additional documents on your Belgian visa application. Requested documents are typically those which help visa authorities confirm your identity, determine the truthfulness of your stated purpose of travel, and assess your financial state. The type of Belgian visa you apply for will determine your supplemental documents, which may include the following:
Identity documents, such as your birth certificate
Documents showing your finances, such as your bank balance
Information about where you will stay in Belgium
Proof of university education, etc.
Please note that certain supplemental forms may only be available in French, Dutch, or German. Submitted documents will also likely need to be submitted into one of those languages—or English—or else accompanied by official translations.
Applicants for Belgian visas should follow these general steps, which may vary slightly depending on numerous factors, including visa type and application destination.
Choose your visa duration
Determine how long you intend to be in Belgium —i.e. what type of Belgium visa you need: long, short, or airport. This will determine how you proceed with the subsequent application steps.
Select your Belgian visa purpose
Choose your reason for travel (education, business, etc.)
Select your entry category
Your selection of the single-entry visa for Belgium or the multiple entry visa for Belgium will determine whether or not you may travel in and out of the country/Schengen area throughout your visa period. Consider that holders of the single-entry visa for Belgium cannot return to the country after exiting.
Determine where to apply
Find your physical application destination (place where you will submit your visa application). This is typically the Belgian Embassy/Consulate or associated visa-application center where you live. For more information, see “where to apply.”
Access your main application form
Most applicants should apply for their Belgian visa online, through the official visa portal system (which requires creating an online account). Alternatively, you may apply directly through your local Belgian mission, by mailing your application or submitting a printout of the application in person. Regardless of how you apply (online or in person) you will typically need to officially submit your application through your local Belgian embassy/consulate/visa application center, in order to fulfill various in-person requirements.
Gather the rest of your documents
Gather your required documents as well as the supplemental ones required for your specific Belgian visa type.
Almost all Belgian visa applicants, even those who apply online, must attend a visa appointment at their application destination (local Belgian embassy/consulate/visa application center). Scheduling a Belgian visa interview can take days, weeks, or even months—if you apply through the Belgian visa portal, you should be able to schedule your interview online. Alternatively, you may need to reach out to the embassy/consulate/visa application center directly (via email/phone) to make an appointment.
This is where you will submit your biometric information, be interviewed, pay your Belgian visa fee, and meet other requirements pertaining to your visa type. This is typically the final stage of the Belgium visa application process; you will either be granted a visa upon the conclusion of your appointment, receive a rejection, or leave to await a decision.
Please note that certain visas may require subsequent steps (for example, if you are applying for a long term business visa you may need to apply for a Belgium Work Permit—other long term visas may require you to apply for a residence permit for Belgium. For more information about whether your visa application will subsequently require you to seek a Belgium Work Permit or a residence permit for Belgium, make sure to research the specific visa requirements for your specific visa type.
Belgium visa application processing occurs at Belgian embassies and consulates (and their associated visa application centers) around the world. You can apply for your Belgian visa online, through the following link. However, even online applicants must fulfill the in-person Belgium visa requirements, which can only be fulfilled at your local Belgian embassy/consulate/visa application center. If there is no Belgian mission in your country, you will likely apply for your Belgian visa through the embassy/consulate of another country, which is representing Belgium’s interests abroad.
Applicants for short-stay visas to Belgium are advised to submit their application a minimum of fourteen days before their intended trip. And while applying well in advance is recommended, applying too early (i.e. over six months before departure) is discouraged.
The Belgium visa application processing time varies. Factors which determine how long it will take to get your visa include the following:
Depending on all of these factors, you could expect to receive a visa in days, weeks, or even months after you apply.
Depending on where you are from, you may need a visa to enter the country, regardless of how long you intend to stay. Some nationalities do not need a visa to travel to Belgium. Regardless of your nationality, however, you will need a visa if you intend to stay in the country longer than 90 days and you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.
Get a travel document for Belgium (visa) by submitting an application to your local Belgian embassy/consulate/visa application center, meeting the visa requirements, and paying your visa fee.
The amount of money you need depends on the Schengen country you are visiting. You will likely need to show several months proof of salary/bank statements in order to meet the Schengen proof of funds requirement.
Choose from among the various types of Belgium visa you need to apply for by considering your reason for travel and how long you want to stay in the country. These factors will determine the type of visa you need. In addition to visa type, you should also determine how many entries you need—i.e. whether you need a multiple entry visa for Belgium or a single entry visa for Belgium.
Rejected Schengen visa applicants can appeal the decision, reapply, or apply for another travel document for Belgium (different Belgian visa, such as the Golden visa for Belgium).