Work and residence permits: EU nationals

8 juli 2009
EU nationals, EEA nationals plus those of Switzerland and nationals of countries with equivalent status (such as Monaco) coming to live and/or work in Belgium for longer than three months are considered “residents”.

As such, they must comply with a few formalities even though they have the right to move through and reside freely in Europe. However, they do not need a work permit or professional card to work or to practice a self-employed occupation here.

How can I register as a resident in Belgium?

To register and receive a certificate of registration, you must apply to your municipal administration within eight days of arrival in your place of residence. Valid national identity cards or passports for you and all of your family members (such as your partner, children or parents) and three to five passport photos each are required. Some communes may request a legally certified birth certificate, legally certified proof of your marital status, a copy of a rental lease and even fingerprints. A nominal tax, which varies according to the commune, will be levied.

Once the initial application is made, the municipality notifies the local police, which sends an officer to confirm that you live at the address given – so make sure that your name is on the doorbell. A registration certificate valid for five months is then issued.

How do I obtain a permanent Belgian identity card?

This certificate will be renewed for one-month periods untilproof of employment or self-employment and registration with the relevant social security scheme, if requested, are produced. If the requirements are met, a permanent identity card, renewable every five years, is then issued and your name is entered into the local population register. This card should be carried at all times.

EU nationals and assimilated citizens intending to stay longer than three months in Belgium to first look for a job, set up a business or settle without engaging in gainful employment may only be asked to prove that they have the real possibility of finding a job and/or sufficient means of support for the duration of their stay and possible return, including proof of health insurance.

Transition period for new EU member states

For nationals of 10 new EU member states (Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) coming to Belgium to take-up paid employment (including work as anau pair), a transition period is currently in force, at least until 2009, before the above applies.

During this time, they can enter Belgium freely without a visa, but still need to obtain a “temporary residence permit” (Autorisation de Séjour Provisoire/ Voorlopige Verblijfsvergunning) from a Belgian consulate or consular post in their country of origin, or within three months of arrival from their municipality in Belgium, in addition to a work permit (except in very specific cases of people “seconded” to Belgium by a service provider located in an old or new EU member state).

However, requirements are less strict in certain fields where there is a shortage in the Belgian workforce. These nationals are also free to work in a self-employed activity without obtaining a professional card.

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