If you have a relative or partner living in Belgium, see if can apply to live and work in Belgium for the purpose of family reunification.If you want to move to Belgium to join a family member or partner, different conditions and requirements apply depending on your nationality, the nationality of your family member and the family connection. This guide explains how to apply for a Belgian visa and permit, if required, to join your family and live and work in Belgium:
- EU/EEA/Swiss citizens moving to Belgium
- Family members of an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen
- Family members of a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen
- How to apply for family reunification Belgian permit
- After your family members arrive: Registration
- Can your family members work in Belgium?
- What happens if your family member leaves Belgium?
- Immigration websites and help in Belgium
EU/EEA/Swiss nationalsIf you’re from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA – EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland, you can freely join your relative in Belgium without the need to apply for a Belgian visa. However, you must follow certain rules regarding registration as a foreigner. You will need to register at your local Belgian commune in order to be issued with a foreigner’s residence card. For more information, see Expatica’s guide for EU/EEA and Swiss nationals moving to Belgium.
Family members of EU/EEA/Swiss nationalsIf you are not from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, but your relative or partner is, you can be eligible to join or accompany them in Belgium. In general, spouses, registered partners and children under 21 of EU/EEA/Switzerland nationals are entitled to a Belgian residence permit for the purpose of family reunification. However, your relative in Belgium must be registered at the local commune; this can be done on the basis of employment, looking for a job, study purposes or sufficient resources. Your relative must also have adequate health insurance and sufficient financial resources to support both themselves and you. Dependent parents (from both sides) can also join EU/EEA relatives working or looking for work but not those who are studying in Belgium. When applying from outside of Belgium, you will typically need to apply for a long-stay D visa at the Belgian embassy or consulate in your home country. Then, within eight days of arrival in Belgium, you will need to register at your local Belgian town hall in order to be issued with a residence permit (F card). Under some circumstances, if you’re already legally residing in Belgium under another Belgian visa, it will be allowed to apply at your local Belgian town hall. Your residence card is valid for five years and renewable. You can find out where your local office is by clicking on this list of communes throughout Belgium.
Which family members can join you in Belgium?Relatives that are eligible for family reunification are:
- your spouse or civil partner (with whom you are still in a relationship);
- unmarried dependent children, including adopted children, aged 18 years or under, of either you or your spouse/registered partner;
- dependent children or a person over 18 years old who has disabilities for whom you, or your spouse/registered partner, is a legal guardian.
- a valid passport;
- evidence of your relationship, such as a marriage or civil partnership certificate, or a birth certificate;
- a medical certificate;
- proof of adequate health insurance;
- proof that you have somewhere suitable to live;
- proof of a regular and sufficient means of support.
- See the family reunification pages of the official Belgium Immigration Office.
- New in Town: government initiative website for newcomers (in French and Dutch).
- Crossroad Migration Integration: website for legal aspects related to immigration (in Dutch).
- The Association for the Rights of Foreigners: factsheets on immigration (in French).
- eID: information on Belgium’s electronic identity card.