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Assessing Travel and Visa Obligations
Whether you can travel lawfully as a business visitor or require work authorization depends on the types of activities you will be conducting during your time in Belgium. In case you are unsure if your activities constitute business or work, please seek advice from your immigration counsel.
Traveling for Business
What sorts of activities can I pursue as a business visitor?
Business visitors traveling to Belgium may engage in the activities below. This list is not comprehensive and other activities may qualify as business.
- Attend business meetings
- Attend conferences
- Receive goods supplied by Belgian company
If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Belgium?
European Union, US and many other select nationals do not require a visa to enter Belgium to conduct business activities and are eligible for a visa waiver. Belgium is a member of the Schengen Area, a free-travel zone comprised of 26 European countries. If your nationality is not found on the list of visa-waivered nationals for the Schengen Area, you must obtain a Schengen C Visa prior to travel. Both visa-waivered nationals and those who require a visa are authorized to travel to Belgium and throughout the Schengen area. However, travelers cannot spend more than 90 days within any 180-day period in the entire Schengen Area.
Working in Belgium
What sorts of activities require a work permit?
The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Belgian law. This list is not comprehensive and many other professional activities are considered work in Belgium, even if conducted for a short duration.
- Hands-on technical work
- Repairs and maintenance
- Project planning and implementation
In some cases, you may be eligible for a work permit exemption to conduct certain technical and service related activities in a limited time spent. However, a legal assessment is recommended prior to travel.
If I am traveling to Belgium for work, what type of work permit do I need?
The type of work permit required depends on your qualifications, whether your employer has an entity in Belgium, and the nature and duration of your work. The most common Belgian work permits are:
- Type B Work/Residence Permit (highly-qualified specialist work permit)
- EU Blue Card (highly-skilled work permit)
Are there any nationals who are exempt from work permit requirements?
Nationals from the EU, EEA and Switzerland do not require a work permit to work in Belgium. For a intended stay of more than 90 days, a residence permit and local registration is required.
What else should I know?
Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection or work authorization entail careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.
Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.
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