Thursday, February 18, 2010

Belgium Immigration Information

To apply for a visa for a short stay (up to 90 days) in Belgium, you must submit the following documents to the embassy or consulate responsible for your place of residence:

1. A valid travel document (e.g. national passport) in which a visa can be affixed . This travel document must be valid for three months longer than the visa.

2. A visa application form correctly completed, signed and accompanied by two recent passport photos bearing a true likeness to the applicant.

3. Documents proving the purpose of your trip (e.g. a letter of invitation) and the circumstances of the planned stay (e.g. hotel reservation, staying with a private individual).

4. Documents proving that you have sufficient means of subsistence, covering both the duration of your stay and your return journey:

- Either your own financial means (e.g. hotel reservation, cash, cheques and credit cards accepted in Belgium, an employment contract, bank statements, proof of enrollment on the trade register and/or of professional activity);

The guarantor's financial 

A pledge of financial support is specific proof of means of subsistence. It offers a solution in situations where you cannot prove your own  solvency. Through this pledge of financial support, a Belgian national, or a foreign national resident in Belgium, acts as a guarantor for your period of residence, your return journey and your medical costs. The guarantor should ask for the pledge of financial support (also called Annex 3bis) at the municipality (commune/gemeente) of his/her place of residence. The guarantor does not have to be the issuer of the invitation. When the pledge of financial support has been authenticated by the municipal authorities, the original document must be submitted to the relevant embassy or consulate, within six months of the authentication, together with:


 * a copy of the guarantor's last three pay slips or any other (official) document proving his/her solvency. In the case of a family visit, the guarantor must earn at least 800 euro net per month + 150 euro for each of the guarantor's current dependents and/or + 150 euro for each person invited. In the case of a visit to friends, the guarantor must earn at least 1,000 euro net per month + 150 euro for each of the guarantor's current dependents and/or + 200 euro for each person invited;

* a copy of a document proving that the guarantor is of Belgian nationality (identity card) or has authorization to stay in Belgium indefinitely (residence permit).

Given that the number of current dependents is a factor in determining the solvency of the guarantor, it is also advisable to submit proof of the  make-up of the guarantor's family together with evidence of any family benefits received.

5.  Proof that you are the holder of a valid travel insurance policy, either individual or group, covering the cost of repatriation on medical grounds, urgent medical treatment and/or urgent hospital treatment. As a rule, you must take out insurance in your country of residence. If your host takes out the insurance for you, he/she must do so in his/her own country of residence. To find out which insurance policies are accepted, you should enquire at the relevant Belgian embassy or consulate. The insurance must be valid throughout all of the Schengen countries  and must cover the whole duration of the stay. The minimum cover is 30,000 euro.

6.  Proof of transport arrangements (return ticket): as soon as your visa application has been approved, you must submit a return ticket (in your name and non-transferable) in order for the visa to be issued.

You only need submit the return ticket and travel insurance policy once the Belgian embassy or consulate informs you that your visa has been granted. This is to avoid unnecessary expense on your part. However, the embassy or consulate may ask you to submit proof that a return ticket has been reserved.

The documents listed above are only the basic documents to be submitted in all cases. Additional documents may be requested by the embassy or consulate.

2. PROCESSING THE APPLICATION

In some cases, the visa application procedure may take a long time so you should submit your application as early as possible. For a short stay, you should normally apply for your visa three to four weeks prior to departure. 

When the application is complete, it is sent in some instances to the Immigration Service at Federal Public Service Home Affairs in Belgium, which decides whether or not a visa may be issued (Chaussée d'Anvers 59B Antwerpsesteenweg,   B-1000 Brussels, Tel.: +32 (0)2 206 15 99, Fax: +32 02/274.66.91

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