Access to the country

Citizens of the Schengen area or the European Economic Area do not need a visa to gain access to Belgian territory, unlike many citizens from other countries. EU countries decide who will be granted a visa and for how long, as part of a common European visa policy.

Short-stay visa: less than 3 months

Short-stay visas are also referred to as Schengen visas. In principal this type of visa allows for free movement within the Schengen area. Those who seek a short-stay visa must apply from the embassy of the country they intend on travelling to first. If the country is not represented, another EU country can deal with the request instead.

Long-stay visa: more than 3 months

Long-stay visas are a national issue. This type of visa can only be applied for from foreign embassies. The application is then sent on to the Immigration Office, which decides whether the applicant meets the requirements and whether a thorough investigation is necessary.