Orientation year after the completion of the studies

[Articles 61/1/9 and subsequent of the Act of 15 December 1980 - Articles 104/5 and 104/6 of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981]

After completing his studies in Belgium, the third-country national may ask to be authorised to extend his stay for a maximum of 12 months, in order to look for work or set up a company, with the aim of obtaining a residence permit for employment purposes.

This provision also applies to the third-country national who exercises or has exercised his right to mobility and who obtained his degree in a higher education institution in another Member State of the European Union, but who followed part of his course in Belgium.

Third-country nationals must submit their application to the local authority of their place of residence at least 15 days before their A card expires. 

He must attach the following documents to his application:

  • A valid passport or travel document valid as such;
  • proof that he has obtained a degree from a Belgian institution of higher education;
  • proof that he has health insurance covering risks in Belgium;
  • proof that he has adequate means of subsistence ;

If the application is submitted within the deadline and all documents are attached, the municipal authority will hand over to the applicant a receipt  [ of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981]

If the application is not submitted within the deadline, the Immigration Department may declare the application inadmissible.  [ of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981]

If the application is submitted within the deadline, but not all documents are attached, the municipal authority shall inform the applicant in writing of the missing documents to be submitted. The applicant has 15 days from the date in the letter from the municipal authority to submit the missing documents

If the student submits the missing documents within the 15-day period, he will receive a receipt.  However, if he fails to submit the missing documents within the deadline, the Immigration Department may, on the other hand, declare the application inadmissible.  [Annex 29 of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981]

If the application is admissible, the Immigration Department must make a decision within a period of 90 days from the date of the receipt of the application.  This decision shall be issued to the applicant by the municipal administration.

If the Immigration Department cannot make a decision before the A card expires, the municipal administration will hand the student a certificate provisionally covering his stay in Belgium.  This certificate is valid for 45 days and can be renewed twice for the same period.  [Annex 15 of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981]

Authorization to extend his stay for up to 12 months in order to seek employment or establish a business shall be granted to the applicant unless he does not meet the conditions for the granting of such authorization or is deemed to pose a threat to public order, national security or public health.

If the authorisation is granted, the applicant will receive an A card marked " job seeker " valid for 12 months from the date of issue. If the student has already received an Annex 15, the 12-month period is calculated from the date of issue of the Annex 15.

If the authorisation is rejected, the student will receive an .  [Annex 33bis of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981]

Third-country nationals must submit their application to the Belgian diplomatic or consular post competent for their place of residence within three months of obtaining their diploma in another European Union member state. 

He must attach the following documents to his application:

  • A valid passport or travel document valid as such;
  • proof of graduation from an institution of higher education in the first or second Member State of the European Union, other than Belgium;
  • proof that, in the context of mobility, he resides or has resided in Belgium, as a second member state of the European Union;
  • proof that he has health insurance covering risks in Belgium;
  • proof that he has adequate means of subsistence   .

If the application is submitted by the deadline and all documents are attached, the diplomatic or consular post will issue a receipt to the student. [Annex 33ter of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981]

If the application is not submitted within the deadline, the Immigration Department may declare the application inadmissible.  [Annex 29 of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981]

If the application is submitted within the deadline but not all documents are attached, the post will inform the applicant in writing of  the missing documents to be submitted.  The applicant has a period of 15 days from the date in the letter of the post to submit the missing documents.

If the applicant submits the missing documents within the 15 -day  period, he will receive a receipt.  However, if he fails to submit the missing documents within the deadline, the Immigration Department may, on the other hand, declare the application inadmissible.  [Annex 29 of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981]

If the application is admissible, the Immigration Department must make a decision within a period of 90 days from the date of the receipt of the application.  This decision shall be issued to the applicant by post.

Authorisation to stay in Belgium for a maximum of 12 months, in order to seek employment or set up a business, is granted to the applicant unless he does not meet the conditions for granting this authorisation or is deemed to pose a threat to public order, national security or public health.

If the authorisation is granted, the student will receive a visa D (national long-stay visa).  

During the year granted to find work or set up a business, the third-country national may not become a burden on the Belgian public authorities.

During this year, he must:

  • actively seek employment that will enable him to apply for a  combined permit as an employee; or
  • take the necessary measures to comply with all legal obligations to exercise self-employment as a natural person or with a legal person or any other unincorporated organisation.

The Immigration Department may terminate the stay if, during the follow-up of the file, it appears that the third-country national no longer fulfils the conditions for the granting of the residence permit, or that he has no reasonable chance of being recruited by an employer or establishing a business.

During the year granted to find work or set up a business, the third-country national has unrestricted access to the labour market. As such, he can work legally during this period.

Note:
Temporary access to the labour market is granted only to enable the third-country national to earn a living while waiting for a residence permit as an employee or self-employed person. Consequently, employers wishing to employ this person are recommended to apply promptly for a combined permit from the competent region.

Foreign nationals wishing to establish themselves as self-employed persons in Belgium are also recommended to apply for a foreign nationals' professional card as soon as possible, so that the competent region has sufficient time to check whether the intended activity adds value to the Belgian economy. The information on the professional card and the steps to be taken to start self-employment in Belgium are published on the regions' website.

https://economy-employment.brussels/professional-card
https://emploi.wallonie.be/en/home/travailleurs-etrangers/carte-professionnelle.html
https://www.adg.be/fr/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-5304/

 

[Article 61/1/14 of the Act of 15 December 1980]

In the following cases, the Immigration Department may terminate the residence permit granted to a third-country national after his studies to seek employment or establish a business:

  • if, not earlier than three months after the issue of the residence permit, the minister or his authorised representative requests the third-country national to demonstrate that he has a reasonable chance of being recruited by an employer or of starting up a business and he is unable to demonstrate this within a period of 15 days after this request;
  • if he no longer meets the conditions for granting the right of residence;
  • if he is deemed to pose a threat to public order, national security or public health.