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.


Belgian citizenship can either be granted or procured, according to the Belgian national code. Often, minors are granted citizenship automatically; they become Belgian by parentage, adoption, or by being born in Belgium. Procuring citizenship, however, requires the following procedures:

Declaration procedure

After all the documents have been assembled together in the municipality, the prosecution makes a decision on the applicant’s case. If the applicant meets all the legal requirements, they will be granted the right to Belgian citizenship. In a situation where the prosecution rejects their request for citizenship, the applicant can appeal to the court.


The Belgian Chamber Committee on Naturalizations deals with the request. At the moment, this procedure is only applicable to exceptional situations and citizenship is awarded based on merit e.g. the applicant has some exceptional abilities in science, sports, or sociocultural areas. The naturalization procedure often lasts much longer than the declaration process. If the commission rejects the request, an appeal cannot be made.