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Visa for Independent Professionals


Visa for Independent Professionals



A citizen of the United States of America or of any country other than a Member State of the European Union who intends to reside in Belgium for a period longer than 90 days, or for a succession of periods totaling more than 90 days per 6 months, must first obtain a temporary residency visa.

When the applicant seeks to engage in a professional activity on an independent basis, the required residency visa can only be issued upon the presentation of a professional card and supporting documents.

The professional card is applied for through the Embassy or Consulate General and must be obtained before the person enters Belgium.


If you wish to set up your own business in Belgium as an independent professional, you should apply for a professional card with the Belgian consular office in whose jurisdiction you reside in the United States.

When applying for a professional card, please submit the following documents in person:

1. A valid national passport (validity 15 months).

2. 3 professional card application forms, duly completed, dated and signed.

aanvraag beroepskaart + handleiding
demande carte prof. + instructions

3. 3 recent passport-size photographs.

4. a nationwide criminal history record (FBI Identification Record) covering the last five years, obtained from the FBI CJIS Division (Record Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306), dated within six months of your date of application for the professional card. Please obtain 2 copies. For more information, please go to the FBI website.

5. The required supporting documents (one original; one copy) as requested in the professional card application form:

– your résumé;

– certified copies of diplomas or degrees issued by your university;

– professional activity:

Either a legal certificate proving the founding of the firm in Belgium or a proof of publication in “Het Belgisch Staatsblad” or “Le Moniteur belge”.

Or a letter from the person transferring the ownership of his/her business to you.

Or a copy of a commercial lease or of a deed of sale of the real estate.

– professional references;

– letters of recommendation.

6. A letter describing in detail the activity in which you intend to engage, and why.

Professional card fee: 175.00 USD The certification fee of 112.00 USD/year (subject to change) will be charged upon issuance of the professional card.

The processing of the professional card by the Belgian Ministry of the Self-Employed in Brussels requires some time. Therefore, it is recommended to introduce your request at least 4 months prior to your intended departure date.


At the same time you should submit your application for the Temporary Residency Visa.

The following documents should be presented:

1. A valid national passport (validity 15 months on the date of application, but please note that when the professional card is approved and received by the Embassy or the Consulate General, your passport should still be valid for at least 12 months!);

2. Two visa application forms duly completed, dated and signed.

3. Two recent passport-size pictures.

Include three sets of the following documents (one original set of documents and two copies) collated and stapled:

The originals will be returned to you together with your passport and visa. You will need them to register at city hall in Belgium.

4. Original nationwide criminal history record (see above).

5. A medical certificate according to the model enclosed, on the doctor’s letterhead. For a list of doctors affiliated with the Embassy or the Consulate General, click here.

If you choose your family physician, the doctor’s signature needs to be notarized. The medical document should be less than 3 months old from the date of your application.

Visa application fee (this price includes USD 63.00 consular taxes and USD 63.00 handling fee): 126.00 USD (+certification fees) in cash, certified check or money order. In the Embassy in Washington, you can now also pay with a credit card.

The approval of the Temporary Residence Visa depends on the approval of your professional card.

A personal appearance is required and you must apply in person at the Embassy or Consulate General in whose jurisdiction you reside.

If you wish to make the application by mail (this is possible at the consulates in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, but not at the Embassy in Washington, DC), the following requirements apply:
(1) your signature on the application form must be notarized (certified) by a notary public of your place of residence in the U.S.

(2) do not send your application documents to an Honorary Consul. The application will be processed by the Embassy or by a Consulate General. Always make sure you mail your application to the competent Embassy or Consulate General. Only the Honorary Consuls in Nassau (Bahamas) and San Juan (Porto Rico) may accept visa-applications and they will send them to the Embassy..

After verification of your application, a personal appearance will still be necessary to collect your passport with the visa.

For your dependent family members:

The American (US) spouse and dependent children (under 18 years) of an American citizen who has obtained a work permit and a temporary residency visa, do not need a type D visa prior to entering Belgium. The family members must have valid US passports and must submit the following documents at the municipality where they have to register within 8 days after arrival in Belgium.

1. A valid national passport (validity 15 months).

2. A certified true copy of the birth certificate for the spousa and the children with an apostille.

3. the marriage certificate for the spouse with an apostille.

4. Proof that the principal visa applicant is authorized to reside in Belgium (copy of work permit).

5. A nationwide criminal history record (FBI Identification Record) covering the last five years, obtained from the FBI CJIS Division (Record Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306), dated within six months of your date of application for the visa. For more information, please go to the FBI website.

You will need translations (in French or Dutch) of the US birth certificates and marriage certificates to register in the commune where you will reside.



It is important that you register yourself and your family with the City Hall of your place of residence in Belgium within 8 days of your arrival. Make sure that all passports are endorsed by the immigration authorities when first entering Belgium (at airport or other border post).

The local authorities will process your registration identity document that will allow you to enter and leave the country as a legal temporary resident of Belgium.

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