Belgian Work Requirements
In order to legally live and work in Belgium, there is a work permit and residence permit (depending on the length of your stay) which is required for certain nationalities. In general, there are three different types of work permits and there are also several exemptions depending on the employment conditions of your type of work in Belgium.
Generally, the Belgian work visa is linked to your residence status in Belgium. Therefore, it is highly recommended to decide how you want to register, is it through employment, as a business owner or self-employed. Only once you have decided can you apply for a residence or work permit or see if you qualify for another type of Belgian permit. Usually one would find employment as the first step.
Who is allowed to work in Belgium?
EU/EEA and Swiss nationals
Citizens from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA – EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland can enjoy the freedom to work and start contracting freely in Belgium without a Belgian work permit.
On one hand EEA nationals are free to enter Belgium for up to three months to look for work or set up a business. However, on the other hand, those staying for a period of more than three months are required to register at the local town hall in their city of residence in Belgium within a number of days from arrival.
The only condition applied to EU citizens working and/or contracting in Belgium is that they must have a full EU/EEA passport or identity card.
A Belgian work permit is required for any non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals going to start contracting in Belgium. There are particular exceptions depending on the nature of activities or residence status of the foreigner.
In several cases, the right to a Belgian work permit will also be granted to family members (such as a spouse or child) of successful applicants who are granted Belgian residency.