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Studying in a private higher education establishment - 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 neighbouring 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) proof that you have sufficient means of subsistence

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

e) if you are aged over 21, a certificate attesting to the lack of any convictions for crimes or offences under common law.


You must also supply documents showing that you are a regular student and that you are able to pursue higher education:

a) an attestation of registration as a regular student issued by a private higher education establishment,

b) the original and a certified true copy of your diploma or baccalaureate from higher secondary education and your academic record from the last year of secondary education,

c) a copy of all the diplomas and certificates obtained since the end of your secondary studies,

d) as appropriate, an employer’s statement underlining the necessity for you to pursue the education envisaged in the framework of your work.


You must then substantiate the choice of studies envisaged and append:

a) a supporting letter,

b) documentation giving a brief description of the courses organised by the private establishment which issued the registration attestation and explaining the specific nature of those courses compared to similar courses organised in the country of origin.


Finally, you must demonstrate that you have a sufficient knowledge of the language in which the courses that you intend to pursue are given, and provide, for example, an attestation from the secondary education establishment that issued the diploma or the leaving certificate, stipulating the number of hours of classes/week pursued in that language and the results achieved, or proof of passing internationally recognized computerized language proficiency examinations (e.g. TOEFL for English skills) or a certificate issued at the end of complementary education in that language.


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.


Processing of the visa application

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

If your application has been referred to the Aliens 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 authorised 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 authorised 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 Aliens 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 Aliens 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.