Getting a Residence Permit in Belgium
While the process, and price, of getting a Residency Permit in the country of Belgium will depend on your country of origin this article is an attempt to outline those steps for the benefit of everyone.
Before arriving in Belgium
Congratulations on getting your new position as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Liege!
Before you start packing and planning on how to move you and your family to Belgium make sure you contact Brigitte Ernst (brigitte.ernst [at] ulg.ac.be) she is the person at the University in charge of incoming foreign students and will be extremely helpful to you in the days and months ahead. After sending her an email and introducing yourself, your next step, if your from outside the Eurozone, is to get your country of residence to give you a background check. If your from the United States, like I am, this process can take an extremely long time (15 weeks for me) so it is best to start as soon as possible and have it on hand once you arrive*. Also, since you are traveling outside the country, remember to have a valid passport (which is valid for 18 months after your arrival date).
* – As an American you are allowed to visit Europe for 90 days under a tourist visa. During this period you do not technically need the background check, but trust me, you don’t want to wait until the last moment for this.
After you arrive in Belgium
Now that you have packed and arrived in Belgium you will most likely stay in a hotel or B and B until you find your own place. There are lots of internet websites which host current apartment listings and you should not have a problem finding a nice little place within 10 days or so. However, it is recommended that you visit every place that you might want to live in. Not all apartments are created equal and sometimes a fresh coat of paint can hide a lot of things on a picture. Once you get to the point of signing a rental agreement or contract you should either bring a native french speaker with you to that meeting, or have the property manager tell you what is in the contract in English. No one likes contracts with surprises.
After meeting with Brigitte, which you should do soon after arriving, she should give you a medical form that you need to get filled out by a Belgian doctor. Brigitte will have a list of doctors who can provide this service and might even speak English! She will also give you several forms that you will need to get your Visa. One of these forms (which may arrive in the mail before you leave) is a letter from the university giving the reasons why you are in the country, what your job will be, and what your wage is. You will also get a signed letter from your boss which serves as your work contract which you need for your visa as well. In addition to this paper work, Brigitte will give you a work-permit exemption form, make sure you fill this out.
You should probably get a phone number as well.
Before you head to the City Administration Building
Before you head to the administration building you will have to pay a fee (at least 2 days in advance) either with a Belgian bank card or with a check an administrative fee to the central Belgian government. In the case of anyone from the United States, this fee is 215 EUR. After making the payment, make sure you print off confirmation of the transaction because you need this confirmation for your visa application.
Now you are finally, after months of work, ready to go to the City Administration building. You should remember to bring all the following items:
1 ) Your passport which is valid at least 18 months after your arrival date.
2 ) Your original signed contract.
3 ) The letter from the University indicating what your position is, what job you will be doing, and your salary.
4 ) Medical Certification which should be now signed by a Belgian doctor.
5 ) Your FBI clearance paperwork or whatever police clearance you got from your home country.
6 ) The copy of your payment of the administrative fees.
7 ) A form, signed and filled out, indicating that you do not need a work permit.
8 ) A copy of your rental agreement or contract for your apartment.
9 ) A Belgian Phone number.
Once all that paper work is arranged, take it all to the City Administration building and turn it in. Several weeks later you will get a letter in the mail indicating if your approved for your permit or not. Best of luck!
addresses in Brussels and links to forms etc…
Also some comments for IDS funmat students perhaps