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For non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who want to study in Belgium for a period exceeding 90 days.
Visa D (national long-stay visa)
You can expect to pay $200 or more for processing your visa application. The fees are subject to change.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you don’t need a visa to study in Belgium. However, you should be enrolled at a recognized university or institution of higher education as their main occupation in Belgium, have sufficient funds to cover expenses while studying in Belgium, and have adequate health insurance coverage.
If you are a national from a country outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland, you will most likely need to apply for one in order to enroll as a student of higher education there for a period of longer than three months. Students from some countries (such as the US) are not required to obtain a visa for Belgium if their stay is no longer than 90 days.
Before you can apply to get a Belgian student visa, you will generally need to be accepted into a course or study program by a recognized Belgian university or education institution.
Students from the People’s Republic of China must obtain an academic evaluation certificate issued by the Academic Assessment Centre (APS) before being authorized to enroll in a higher education institution in Belgium. This APS certificate is required to obtain a student visa for Belgium. The examination consists of a technical assessment of your diploma and an interview.
Belgium embassy or consulate
You should apply for your student visa at the Belgium embassy or consulate in your home country.
Before applying for a student visa for Belgium, you first need to be accepted onto a course at an accredited educational institution and pay the registration fees (this will be refunded if your visa application is rejected). If you are an international student, you will then need to contact your nearest Belgian embassy or consulate in your country. The embassy will help you determine whether you need a student visa and will guide you through the visa application.
For your student visa application, you may be asked to provide the following:
- a valid passport/travel ID;
- proof that you have a place at a recognized institution;
- copies of educational certificates;
- details about the course;
- evidence of sufficient funds to cover your living costs, study, healthcare and repatriation costs (EUR 617 per month for the 2015-2016 study year);
- a medical certificate;
- proof that you don’t have a criminal record if you’re older than 21 years.
To prove your acceptance at a recognized institution, you can provide one of the following:
- the official confirmation of registration for the program;
- an attestation which indicates you have access to the anticipated studies;
- proof of your registration for the entrance examinations.
You may also be asked to provide a letter outlining why you have chosen your particular course, why you want to study in Belgium and how this will benefit you. Additionally, you may also be asked to show some language proficiency in the language the course will be taught in.
Within eight days of your arrival to Belgium, you must visit your local municipal administration offices/town hall (maison communale/gemeentehuis) to request your residence permit and be registered on the foreigner's population register.
For a long stay study visa, it is recommended that you make an appointment at the embassy at least two months before your departure. For a short stay visa, make an appointment at least 3 weeks before your departure.
The length of the student visa depends on the course length. You can apply to renew your residence permit yearly, approximately 30 to 45 days before its expiry date.
If you’re a foreign student enrolled at a Belgian educational institution and have a valid residence permit you can work up to 20 hours a week during term time, as long as it does not interfere with your studies. You will need to get a written fixed-term contract from your employer, which is known as a ‘student employment contract’, and a type C work permit. Otherwise, you can work during official university holidays without the need for a Belgian work permit.
Your visa application can be rejected if you have previous criminal history or if you have been deported from the EU. Another reason for rejection is if your documents proving that you will be student are missing or not complete.
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