Visas and work permits

We are here to guide you through those first steps of setting up business or starting to work in Belgium.

We are here to guide you through those first steps of setting up business or starting to work in Belgium. Of course, we are not alone! Our small country is big on organisation, and we have many initiatives, so it may not be easy to find the right partners right away.

Here at Expat Centre Limburg, we are impartial. We are not affiliated to anyone, we only care about a positive outcome and want to create a win-win situation for all parties concerned.

We will guide you towards your main partners in doing business in Belgium/Flanders.

Contact us

Check if you need work documents

If you want to work as a foreigner in Flanders, you need to check in advance whether you need an ‘admission to work’.

Basically, you have for work:

  • A combined permit of more than 90 days
  • Employed for less than 90 days, as a frontier worker or as an au pair, a work permit is required.
  • A self-employed person needs a professional card.
  • For temporary assignments as detachment or self-employed, you need to register in the Limosa application

Certain categories of foreign workers do not need them. This is the case, among other things, for nationals of the Member States of the European Economic Area (the EU countries + Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland,

For foreign workers who are applying for a bottleneck appeal, it is easier to get an admission to work.

A Work Permit A Professional Card A Combined Permit Limosa 1

Foreigners who want to work as wage earners in Belgium for a maximum of 90 days need a work permit

The work permit is only awarded to certain categories of workers, specifically those who

  • do not have the nationality of an EEA Member State or Switzerland
  • live and work in Belgium for a maximum of 90 days
  • live and work in Belgium for a maximum of 12 months with a European blue card
  • work as a frontier worker for a maximum of 12 months in Belgium, without living there =(grensarbeider)
  • work as an au pair in Belgium for a maximum of 12 months (au pair)
  • live and work in Belgium for a maximum of 12 months as an intern (stagiair)

How does it work?

the employer applies for admission to work and if it is approved he gets a ‘arbeidsvergunning’

the employee gets a ‘arbeidskaart’​

Each category of employee has different conditions and procedures.​

more information

The professional card is required if you want to start as a self-employed person in Belgium in a sole proprietorship, a company or association. You do not have the nationality of an EEA Member State or Switzerland.
If you are still abroad you may apply for such a card at the Belgian Diplomatic or Consular Post.
If you are in Belgium and you have a valid stay, go to an Approved Enterprise Counter

Some tips on how to motivate your application:

  • Does your project have economic added value for Belgium? In other words, are you giving our country money?
  • Are you okay with all your obligations? Do you pay social security contributions and taxes? Vat and RSZ certificates are here proof.

more information

Foreigners who wish to work as wage earners in Belgium for more than 90 days need a combined permit.

It is only allocated to certain categories of employees.

Different conditions and procedures apply to each category. These are the categories


  1. The future employer (or it’s representative) of the foreign employee applies for the combined license. He collects the required documents for his application. The documents do not have to be originals, all documents have to be scanned and combined in one pdf document, sent via email to
  2. The department ‘gewestelijke dienst ‘ decides if you will get approval to start work here. This approval does not yet mean you may start work, you still need to wait for approval to reside in the country.
  3. The department ‘Dienst Vreemdelingenzaken’ takes the final decision regarding residence. If they approve, you will get notified that a combined permit will be issued. If so, the future employer and employee will receive a notification in the form of ‘bijlage 46’ or ‘bijlage 47’.

You have permission to reside and work in Belgium, what next?

Option 1: you are still abroad

  1. The employee takes the document ‘bijlage 46 or 47’ and goes to the embassy.
  2. The embassy will issue a Visum type D
  3. you may now move to Belgium
  4. After arrival you present yourself at your local commune with your identification, Visum and ‘bijlage 46 or 47’
  5. The commune will issue your Combined Permit

Option 2: you are already in Belgium

  1. The employee takes the document ‘bijlage 46 or 47’ with your identification and goes to the local commune
  2. You will receive a proof of registration called ‘bijlage 49’. Now you can start work. In the mean time the commune will issue the request for an electronic residence card A
  3. Once the electronic residence card is ready you will be notified to go and collect it

more information

This is for foreigners who

  • come to work temporarily or part-time in Belgium
  • do not have the nationality of an EEA Member State or Switzerland
  • are sent by his foreign employer to Belgium to work there for a certain period of time. He therefore remains employed by his foreign employer.
  • are self-employed that temporarily become self-employed in Belgium but do not reside there permanently.

Each detachment or assignment must be declared to the Belgian authorities by a Limosa declaration.

more information

Apply online for Limosa


We have 3 types of visas

All of the above procedures will require one of these visas for you to be able to start work.
Your starting point should always be the procedures above.
Short-term Belgian visas
These are visas that permit stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business
Non-Immigrant visas
These are longer-term temporary visas for studying or working on fixed-term contracts, where the holder doesn’t intend to stay in the country beyond a fixed period
Immigrant visas
Long-term visas for those who want to stay in Belgium either long-term or permanently, for purposes such as work or retirement

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