As part of the moving process, you will need to apply for your own residency card, if you wish to reside in Belgium. Just like any other country in the European Union, you are legally allowed to stay in Belgium for up to 90 days or 3 months without having to apply for a residency permit. If you intend on staying any longer than 90 days, then it is compulsory to apply for a residency permit, so that you are legally allowed to stay in Belgium. The process of applying for a residency permit is pretty standard and easier if you are from a fellow EU state however, if you are from a non-EU country, the process can take slightly longer and more documentation is required. It is important to remember that once you have acquired your residency permit, you must carry it with you at all times when you are travelling more than 200 metres away from your home. It is obligatory for anyone over the age of 12 years old to have their own residency permit, but is not necessary for them to carry it with them at all times. For anyone over the age of 15, you must keep your own card with you and can only be excused when you are within 200 metres of your home.
What is a residency permit?
Belgians all hold ID cards that are their version of the residency permits that are issued to foreigners. Like an ID card, both residency permits and ID cards are issued to people from the age of 12 years and should be carried with you at all times once you are 15 years or over. Both cards contain an electronic chip containing personal information about the card holder, and the card will also have a picture of the holder. A residency permit is valid for up to five years and must be replaced with a new card just before the expiry date.
Applying for residency in Belgium for EU and EEA members
Once arriving in Belgium, you should register at the local “maison communale/gemeentehuis” which is the local town hall, so that your name can be added to a n official register of residents in the area. It is advised to do this within the first eight working days after you have arrived in Belgium. Upon registering yourself here, you will receive a temporary receipt with proof of your registration. An E card is then issued to the registrant. An E card is an electronic identification card that is often valid up to five years, it is not a residency permit, but is temporary card that is issued until the residency permit is ready for you to collect. When registering and apply for a residency permit you will need:
A birth certificate (it may need to be translated) A marriage certificate, if necessary (again, may need to be translated) Your valid passport or ID card from your home country Proof that you have accomodation in Belgium Proof that you can financially support yourself in Belgium (a bank statement or letter from an employer) 3 passport photo’s and a small fee for the registration process
The process is simple if you live with a resident of Belgium and are connected in any way such as: -You are the spouse of the resident -Parents of the resident -decendants of the resident -children of the resident
Applying for residency as a non EU member
You are required to apply for a long-stay visa before you come to Belgium. A long-stay visa is often only issued for study, work or familt unification. When you arrive in Belgium you must register within the first eight days of your stay at the local municipal building. The correct documentation that is required when registering yourself is: Proof of your accomodation in Belgium
A valid passport or ID card that was issued in your home country 3 passport sized photo’s (maybe more, but usually 3) A certificate of having a good criminal background / A clean criminal record from your home country or last country of residence, dating back five years Birth certificate (may need to be traslated) Marriage certificate, if applicable (may need to be translated) Birth certificates of the applicants children (if applicable and may need to be translated) A medical certificate issued by a doctor that has been approved by the Belgium government
Depending on your reason for residing in Belgium, you will be issued one of the four types of residency permit:
A card or formerly known as a ‘white card’ for a short term stay. As this is intended for temporary stay only, the validity of each A card may vary.
B card, also formerly known as a ‘white card’ can be valid for up to five years, but often is less. A B card is for indefinite stay in the country.
C card, was more commonly known as a ‘yellow card’ and can be valid for up to five years. A C card is not actually a residency card, but an Identification card.
D card is usually valid for up to five years, but sometimes the validity is less than five years. D cards are issued to long stay residents.
Once a non EU member has been issued a residency card, they are free to travel within Europe, without the need of visa’s and any other documentation.