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Higher education - Visa


Where to lodge your visa application
The supporting documents to be provided with the visa application
Processing of the visa application
Issue of the visa
Refusal to issue the visa
Registering at the municipal administration


Where to lodge your visa application?

Lodge your application for leave to remain (D visa) in person at the Belgian consulate competent for your place of residence or stay abroad.

It is possible that you might need to make an appointment to lodge your visa application. It is also possible that the consulate might cooperate with an external service provider entrusted with sundry tasks (information, making an appointment, receiving files, etc.). In that case, additional service fees will be charged.

If there is no Belgian consulate in the country where you reside, contact the Belgian consulate competent for that country. This is usually in a neighboring country.


Supporting documents to be provided with the visa application:

a) a completed and signed visa application form (in duplicate),

b) a travel document into which a visa can be affixed and which is valid for more than 12 months (e.g. a passport),

c) an attestation of registration as a regular student in higher education delivered by an educational establishment organized, recognized or subsidized by the public authorities,

d) 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),

e) 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 authorizing the taking of registrations at the end of the preparatory year,

f) 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),

g) proof that you have sufficient means of subsistence,

h) a medical certificate attesting that the applicant is not carrying any of the diseases which might endanger public health,

i) 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 legalized 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 legalized 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.


Processing of the visa application:

As a general rule, your visa application will be sent by the consulate to the Immigration Office, which will take the final decision.

If your application has been referred to the Immigration Office for a decision, start by consulting the site (What is happening to my visa application?). Enter the reference of your visa application and the location of the competent consulate to find out information about its status.

If necessary, ring or email the call centre at the Aliens Office (+ 32 2 793 80 00 or


Issue of the visa:

The visa affixed in your travel document is a national long-stay visa (D visa). The D visa has the same effects as a residence card with regard to free movement on the SCHENGEN territory. Accordingly, you are authorized to travel to another SCHENGEN State for a total period not exceeding 3 months in a 6-month period, starting from the date of your first entry on to the SCHENGEN territory, always provided that you meet the entry conditions and have not been reported by the SCHENGEN State into whose territory you are travelling. If you fail to meet the entry conditions, you may nevertheless be authorized to transit to the SCHENGEN State which issued the D visa.


Refusal to issue the visa:

This decision is within the exclusive competence of the Immigration Office. It is notified to you by the consulate.

You may appeal against this decision. The information on avenues of recourse can be found on the refusal form.

For the sake of respecting your privacy, neither the consulate nor the SPF Foreign Affairs, nor the call centre at the Immigration Office will communicate the grounds for the refusal of a visa to third parties, whether host or sponsor. These grounds may, however, be notified to your lawyer, if a written request is submitted to the Aliens Office.


Registering at the municipal administration:

Go to the municipal administration in the place where you are staying within 8 days of your arrival in Belgium to ask to be registered on the aliens register and issued with a residence permit (A card). This residence permit is registered on the list of residence permits issued by the SCHENGEN States allowing entry without a visa.

As a general rule, you apply for the renewal of your residence permit between the 45th and the 30th day prior to its expiry date. This renewal is issued by the Aliens Office, on production of a valid work permit.