Permanent Residence Permits In Belgium

Permanent Residence Permits In Belgium

Considering making the heart of Europe your permanent home? Belgium’s not just about waffles and world-class chocolate; it’s also a place many expats choose to settle down. Worry not! We’ve got your back!

A permanent residence permit is your key to unlocking a life amidst its medieval towns and modern cities. Our guide will take you through the process of obtaining this permit, ensuring a smooth transition to your new Belgian life.

Let’s dive in!

What Are The Types Of Residence Permits In Belgium?

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You can stay in Belgium for more than ninety days with any of the following two types of residency permits:

Type of residence permitDescription
Belgium temporary residence permitYou must apply for a long-stay visa, often known as a D visa, to get temporary residency if you want to stay in Belgium for longer than three months. You are allowed to live, work, and study in Belgium for a maximum of five years with this residence permit.
Belgium permanent residence permitUpon completing five years of residence in Belgium, you may apply for permanent residency. You can remain in the country permanently and enjoy the same rights as Belgian citizens if you have long-term residence. It is renewable and has a five-year validity period.

What Are The Belgian Permanent Residency Types?

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You are eligible for permanent residency after five years of residence in Belgium. You may be eligible to receive one of the following permanent residency cards, contingent upon your status and nationality:

  • Cards marked E+ and F+. Use only by citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland.
  • Cards B, C, and D. Only non-EU nationals may use this.
TypeDescription
E+EU, EEA, and Switzerland citizens will receive this card automatically after living five years in Belgium. If you hold the E+ card, you get registered in the civil registry.
F+Family members of EU citizens will obtain the card type F+ immediately after living for five years continuously in Belgium.
BIf you have lived and worked legally in Belgium for five years, you are permitted to obtain the electronic card type B. This card allows you to stay outside of the country for one year. If you do not exceed this one-year absence, you can return to Belgium without losing your residency rights. Type B holders are registered in the foreigner’s registry
CAfter obtaining type B, you can apply for type C, which gives you the right to establish. As a holder of residence type C, you no longer have to register in the foreigner’s registry but in the civil registry. The difference between these cards is that they have access to different social welfare assistance.
DTo qualify for this card, you must have a monthly income of at least €793 (plus €264 for dependents) and health insurance. If you hold the D permit, you can leave Belgium for six continuous years max, as long as you stay in the EU during that time. The difference between D permit, B, and C permit is that other EU member states also recognize it.

What Are The Conditions For Permanent Residency In Belgium?

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Five years of continuous residence in Belgium is the primary requirement for permanent residency. You can add the time you spend in other EU member states if you hold an EU Blue Card.

There should be no interruptions during the five years. Throughout the five years, you are only permitted to leave the country for a maximum of six months at a time and 12 months total.

Other prerequisites consist of Evidence demonstrating you continue to fulfill the requirements of any active visa or permission (for example, proving you are employed and in Belgium on a work visa).

You don’t have any significant criminal records that would put the public’s safety in danger. You are currently covered by health insurance.

Evidence of a steady monthly income (relevant when applying for the L residence card) that is sufficient to support you and your dependents.

Since the application is processed by your local municipality (French: commune, Dutch: gemeente), there may be additional requirements unique to that area. 

For instance, you may be required to present documentation of your social integration or demonstrate your proficiency in one of the local tongues, such as Dutch, French, or German.

The Belgian government placed additional limitations on the permanent residency of those who enter the country with a work visa in 2020. Since then, international workers have been limited to applying for the B card to companies that are based in Belgium. 

Only those with temporary permission can continue working for an international company with its headquarters in Belgium.

What Is The Process?

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Depending on your situation, there are different steps involved in applying for a permanent residence visa in Belgium. 

The general procedures are as follows: 

  1. Verify whether, as a national of a third country (one that is not an EU member), you fulfill the requirements to be granted a permanent residence card. These prerequisites include having a legal residency permit that has been in place for at least five years, having adequate money for food, and having a suitable place to live.
  2. Complete the permanent residency permit application form, which can be obtained from the municipal offices or on the Brussels-Capital Region website. Make sure you include all the required information and documentation, such as evidence of your five-year legal residency status in Belgium. 
  3. To turn in your application and provide your fingerprints, go to the municipal counter in your commune. In addition, there will be processing fees associated with your application.
  4. It may take up to six months for the responsible authorities to make a decision. Your permanent residence card will be available for pickup at the municipal desk if your application is accepted.

Depending on the commune, different documents are needed to apply for a permanent residence permit. In general, you should bring: 

  • Proof of legal residency in Belgium for the last five years, such as prior residence permits
  • A copy of your valid passport 
  • Two current identity photos

How To Submit A Request For Permanent Residence?

Applying can be done in your local government office in Flanders (French: Flandre, Dutch: Vlaanderen), Wallonia (French: Wallonie, Dutch: Wallonië), or Brussels (French: Bruxelles, Dutch: Brussel). 

Applying online and submitting electronic copies of your documentation are accepted in certain towns. For others, you must schedule a face-to-face appointment. Your local area will determine the specific procedure.

You must submit the following paperwork to apply:

  • Authentic identification, such as a passport
  • Two current passport images
  • Evidence of a Belgian address
  • Electricity bill
  • Your valid Belgian residency permit 
  • Evidence of health coverage
  • Information about your earnings

EU/EFTA Nationals

After five years of residency in Belgium, residents of the EU/EFTA are typically automatically granted permanent residence status. However, you will still have to apply for the F or EU+ card.

Non-EU/EFTA Citizens

There is no specific procedure for third-country citizens to apply for a B residence card.

Cost Of Permanent Residence Cards

Municipalities differ in their application fees, but usually, they range from €10 to €25. The cards themselves cost between €25 and €30.

Updating Your Permanent Residence

Although your status as a permanent resident never expires, you do need to renew your electronic cards. Cards can be used for:

CardValidity
B card5 years
EU+ card (formerly E+ card)10 years
F card5 years
F+ card5–10 years, depending on when it was issued
K card (formerly C card)10 years
L Card (formerly D Card)10 years
M cardBased on whether it was a temporary or permanent resident card, it can last anywhere from five to ten years.

You will receive a request to renew your card at the municipality when it is due to expire. There is a €500 fine for living in Belgium without a valid residency card.

The procedures and expenses are similar to those on your initial card.

Family Members’ Permanent Residence

Your relatives can apply for a family reunion visa if you wish to settle down as a family in Belgium. Before being allowed entrance, you must fulfill some requirements.

Family members who fall under this category may apply:

  • Dependent children under 21 Spouses or registered partners over 21
  • Youngsters with disabilities who are dependent on their parents (adults; no age restriction)
  • Dependent parents of you or your spouse (however this isn’t feasible if both of you are citizens of a third country)
  • Your family may apply for a residence card after they arrive in Belgium. Which one they are eligible for is determined by both their nationality and circumstances.

Family Members Of EU/EFTA Citizens

If you are a national of the EU or EFTA and have lived and worked in Belgium continuously for the past five years, your relatives are welcome to join you. 

You can still classify this as “working in Belgium” if you were unemployed during this period and the authorities determine that this was an involuntary change of employment.

This five-year rule has a few exceptions. Family members are welcome to accompany you at the following:

  • You have been a permanent resident of Belgium for almost two years, yet you are unable to work because of your disability.
  • An occupational illness or work-related accident that qualifies you for Belgian benefits
  • You are retiring after more than three years of residence in Belgium, employment for at least a year, and employment
  • You had been a permanent resident of Belgium for two years before to your passing, or your passing was brought on by an occupational illness or an accident at work.

Your relative may apply for an EU+ residence card if they are from the EU/EFTA region. Family members from third countries can get an F+ permanent residence permit.

Relatives Of Non-EU/EFTA Nationals

Family members of non-EU/EFTA citizens residing in Belgium are not subject to any additional regulations or privileges.

After consistently residing in the country for five years, citizens of third countries are eligible to apply for the B, K, or L cards.

Conclusion

In wrapping up our journey through the process of acquiring a permanent residence permit in Belgium, it’s clear that this step is not just about paperwork; it’s about laying down roots in a country rich in culture, history, and opportunity.

With this permit, Belgium isn’t just a destination; it becomes your home.

Settle Successfully!

But wait! There’s lot more that you might be interested in following:

  • Temporary Residence In Belgium
  • Work Employment Visa In Belgium
  • Types Of Visas In Belgium

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