For those wishing to reside literally in the heart of Europe, there can be no other choice than Belgium, a captivating country combining French and Flemish influences. Such popular day-trip destinations as Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent are at your permanent beck and call when you make Belgium your home, with a particular emphasis on historical and architectural treasures, although the country is also – of course – one with a taste for good beer. The capital, Brussels, is a natural focal point for those seeking residency by investment in Belgium, thanks to its cosmopolitan atmosphere and excellent wider European travel links.
Non-European citizens are required to apply for a long stay visa in Belgium, based on a wish to establish a business in the country. This visa will need to be renewed on a regular basis for the first few years of residency, before an indefinite visa can be obtained.
Entrepreneurs, investors and self-employed individuals from outside the EU are able to apply for a ‘professional card’ (PC) that entitles them to reside in Belgium, with citizenship able to be acquired after five years. Such cards are licenses held by individuals and limited to a precise field of practice.
A PC is held by an individual who:
Applicants for a PC must have a right to reside in Belgium, with those that don’t needing to apply for this as well as for a PC with a Belgian diplomatic mission or consular post.
Applicants must also comply with regulatory obligations and show that their project is economically useful, defined as responding to an economic or employment need or developing exportation, innovation or specialisation.
How do I apply for a professional card?
Applicants living abroad are required to file their application with the Belgian diplomatic mission or consular post in their country of residence.
To apply for a PC, the applicant must provide the following documents:
Non-EU nationals also require a work permit – usually applied for by their potential employer – in order to be legally entitled to work in Belgium.