Do you need a student visa?

Students from a European Union Member State or from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) are not required to obtain a student visa in order to study in Belgium. They are, however, required to carry a national identity card or passport, which they must present to the customs officer on arrival to Belgium.

If you are a student from the EU, you must still fulfill certain criteria to study in Belgium, which include:

  • Enrolment at an approved university/educational institution
  • Sufficient income to live in Belgium without needing income support
  • Comprehensive health cover

Students with a non-EU/EEA nationality, will need a visa to study in Belgium.

International students

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.

All the information concerning Belgian visa applications can be found on the website of the Foreigners Department of the Federal Public Service (FPS) for Home Affairs, available to read in French, Dutch and English.

As an international student, you’ll need to apply for a national long-stay visa (D visa), which allows you to stay longer than 90 days in Belgium. Applications must be made in your country of residence, and made before you move to Belgium. It is not possible to apply for a student visa after arrival.

We recommend you to apply for a visa between 2–5 months before coming to Brussels. Make sure you start the visa application procedure well in advance! We urge you not to come on a tourist visa alone.

As of June 2021, Belgian embassies have re-opened and are processing visas. However, the situation is changing quickly so please check with the embassy directly. 

Documents you will need

There are a few documents necessary to apply for a visa. These supporting documents are to be provided with the visa application:

  • a completed and signed visa application form (in duplicate)
  • a travel document into which a visa can be affixed and which is valid for more than 12 months (e.g. a passport)
  • an attestation of registration as a regular student in higher education delivered by an educational establishment organised, recognised or subsidised by the public authorities
  • if you are following part-time education, proof that the said education is to be your principal activity and a preparation for or complement to full-time education (detailed study plan and supporting letter) if you are following a preparatory year ahead of higher education, proof of the preparatory character of the education with regard to the higher education studies envisaged (detailed study plan, supporting letter and, where possible, an attestation by the relevant higher education establishment authorising the taking of registrations at the end of the preparatory year)
  • Proof that you satisfy the conditions for access to higher education (diploma, academic record, attestation that account is being taken of the application for equivalence or decision or dispatch of equivalence)
  • Proof that you have sufficient means of subsistence
  • a medical certificate attesting that the applicant is not carrying any of the diseases which might endanger public health
  • If you are aged over 21, a certificate attesting to the lack of any convictions for crimes or offences under common law.

You must lodge the original documents, plus a photocopy of these documents. The originals will be returned to you. The foreign official documents must be legalised or carry an apostil, unless an exemption is provided in a treaty. All the relevant information on this formality is available on the website of the SPF Foreign Affairs.

The documents drawn up abroad in a language other than German, French or Dutch are to be translated in accordance with the original by a sworn translator. The translation must be legalised as a separate document in line with the procedure laid down in the country of origin, and then by the competent Belgian consulate or Embassy. 

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