A lot of international students regard Belgium as an excellent place for study because Belgium offers a wide multicultural environment and several academic opportunities. Getting a student visa in Belgium is one of the things that has been made quite easy of late. In addition to its prestigious universities, you can get your student visa in Belgium in the shortest possible time.
In this article, you would learn all it takes to get a student visa in Belgium, ranging from types, requirements, and even steps you need to take towards getting your student visa in Belgium. Buckle up, and let’s get you started through your student visa process.
Table of contents
- Types of Student Visas in Belgium
- Eligibility Criteria for Student Visa in Belgium
- How Long is the Belgium Student Visa Valid?
- Fees and cost of student visa in Belgium
- How to Apply for a Student Visa in Belgium
- Student visa processing time in Belgium
- Can I get a student visa in Belgium without IELTS?
- Working while studying in Belgium
- Frequently Asked Questions
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Types of Student Visas in Belgium
International students sometimes are required to have a student visa and residence.
An international student who wants to study in Belgium should know that not all Belgium universities require a student visa. Whether you need a visa as an international student or not largely depends on your nationality and the length of your studies.
Students from the EU (European Union) / EEA and Switzerland only need a national identity card which they must present to the customs officer when they arrive in Belgium but do not need a visa or residence permit to study in Belgium. On the other hand, non-EU/EEA students need to apply for a D-visa if they want to study in Belgium. Non-EU/EEA students who have a longer time of study will have to apply for the D visa and also apply for a residence permit.
Students from the United States do not need to obtain a student visa if their stay in Belgium won’t surpass ninety days.
Chinese students are required to have an academic evaluation certificate issued by the Academic Assessment Centre before they can be able to enrol in any university in Belgium. So, to get a student visa in Belgium, you should look through it to ensure you are getting the right student visa.
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Eligibility Criteria for Student Visa in Belgium
To study in Belgium, every student must pass certain criteria of the country which involve:
- Enrollment at an approved university/educational institution in the country
- Sufficient income to live in Belgium without the need for income support
- Comprehensive health cover
Requirements for the Student Visa in Belgium
Non-EU/EEA students who want to apply for a student visa in Belgium will have to provide the following documents to fulfil the requirements of the Belgium student visa application:
- Proof of registration in an accredited Belgium educational institution or university
- Attestation of registration as a regular student
- Attestation of pre-registration
- Attestation for an admission exam
- Passport (this must be valid for at least 12 months upon application)
- 2 photos of you were taken within 6 months upon application
- Proof of solvency
- Scholarship letter
- Proof of sustainable means to financially support yourself (recommended value here is $795/month )
- Sponsorship letter (this letter should include recent proof of income, family composition from the Belgium municipality, government-issued ID card)
- Certificate of good conduct or police certificate for students older than 20 years
- Medical certificate
- Proof of payment for supplementary administrative costs
- A signed declaration that you will leave Belgium after you are done with your studies.
- Student visa application form (this will include personal details like full name, date, and place of birth, current nationality, gender, civil status, current occupation, etc)
- High school diploma (original copy)
- Proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS certificates are accepted. Some universities may require a higher score on these tests)
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Students from China are required to submit an APS certificate issued by DAAD Beijing. To get this certificate, the student must pass the following:
- Authenticity exam:
- The authenticity exam involves the submission of required documents, diplomas and transcripts, etc.
- Sometimes Chinese students need to undergo an interview by the DAAD after their documents have been evaluated.
- It is important to know that not all Chinese students need to undergo the APS certification. Students under the international cooperation agreement, students on official grant programs, and applicants who have completed their higher education in the European Union are exempted from taking the APS certification exam.
Students travelling to Belgium for research are required to provide proof that they have been chosen by an authorized Belgium body to conduct research and proof of host agreement with the organization that authorized them.
How Long is the Belgium Student Visa Valid?
The Belgium student visa is valid for one to two years since it is issued for one to two years. However, depending on your program of study, you can renew your visa if your program lasts longer than the duration of your student visa. The student visa in Belgium, being renewable, makes it easy for you to properly plan yourself.
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Fees and cost of student visa in Belgium
The long-stay or student visa type D costs regular students $210 while researchers pay a higher fee of $410.
However, you can pay a fee of $95 if you will stay in Belgium for a shorter time ( less than 90 days).
Apart from the student visa, students also need to pay contributions for administrative costs. The fees range from $75 to $430.
Although the standard cost of a student visa is $245 for non-EU/EEA students if your country processes applications through a third-party company such as VFS then you will need to pay for service fees. Service fees usually cost around $25.
How to Apply for a Student Visa in Belgium
Below is a step-by-step process to successfully apply for a student visa in Belgium:
- Apply to a university or educational institution in Belgium
- Accept a university offer
- Purchase the application form and pay the application fee
- Contact your nearest Belgian embassy or consulate
- Wait for a response
- Fly to Belgium and register on arrival
Accept a university
First of all, you have to apply to a university you want to study in Belgium. You will have to decide which university you want to study at before you start your application process. If you are still confused about which university to choose then consider the likes of KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, EIT Digital, Hasselt University, and Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB).
Accept a university offer:
After you have applied to the universities of your choice then you will have to wait for their response. A positive response here is an offer from the university. After you have been accepted by the university, you will get an acceptance letter that will be required in your student visa application.
Purchase the application form and pay the application fee:
After you have accepted the offer from the university of your choice then you have to purchase the student visa application and pay the application fee
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Contact your nearest Belgian embassy or consulate:
Once you have paid the application fee then, you have to set an appointment date with the nearest embassy or consulate to you. On the day of your appointment, you have to go with the required documents for your application. In case your country doesn’t have a Belgian embassy or consulate then you will have to submit through the embassy of another country in the European Union (EU) in your country or through visa application centers which the Belgian government has outsourced visa applications like VFS.
Wait for a response:
After your appointment with your local embassy or consulate, your student visa application has been sent to the Aliens Office which will make a final decision. Once submitted, you will receive a response in one to four weeks. Depending on your country, you may have to track your application through the VFS website.
Fly to Belgium and register on arrival:
After you get your visa you have to travel to Belgium. Once you arrive in Belgium, you will have to go to the municipal administration offices in the town you’re studying in within eight days. It is at this office that you will be registered on the aliens’ register and receive your residence permit.
Student visa processing time in Belgium
Normally, after you submit your student visa Belgium application, it gets processed in approximately 15 days but depending on the situation, it can take a longer time.
It can take up to 30 days due to individual cases or when the number of people applying for a Belgium student visa is too high. In some cases like when the when embassy needs to forward your application for further approval in Belgium, it can take an even longer time up to 60 days.
It is recommended that you consider the processing time of your student visa to calculate the dates of your planned trip and apply in advance. You should also take into consideration, the time it takes to get a visa appointment to know when to start the application process.
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Can I get a student visa in Belgium without IELTS?
To get a Belgium student visa, you will have to provide evidence that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language which is the main language used to teach in Belgium universities.
Native speakers of English or students who just finished their previous studies in the English Language are exempted from this requirement.
You will need either IELTS or TOEFL to get a student visa to study in Belgium.
Working while studying in Belgium
As an international student, you can apply for a work permit (type C) at the regional employment agencies in Belgium.
Every international student in Belgium with a valid residence permit is eligible to work for up to 20 hours a week outside of school holidays as long as working hours don’t interfere with their classes.
You will need a student employment contract (written fixed term contract) from your employer. On official university holidays, you can work without the need for your work permit.
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The student visa application process is a lengthy process that requires patience. You must always stay informed at which stage you are in the process so you can know your next moves. The decision to grant your student visa or not is made by the Aliens office and if your application ends up being rejected then, the embassy or consulate that submitted your application will notify you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. You have to apply for a type D visa if you are a non-EU citizen
To apply you need a valid German residence permit
Yes, even if you have an EU blue card you still need to apply for a visa and a Belgian European card.
Yes, you can work up to 20 hours/week while studying in Belgium so long as it doesn’t interfere with your studies.
The processing time for the Belgium student takes some weeks to over several months depending on your nationality, length of studies, and how many people apply for the Belgium student visa.
The type D visa is a multiple-entry national visa. It requires that you register at the municipality of the place where you will be residing in Belgium
It depends on your country. Most embassies demand that you pay the fee before you attend your appointment for your visa interview. Some embassies require you to pay the fee in advance and come with the receipt. To make sure you get things right, try to check with your local embassy before you apply.
- mastersportal.com – How to get a student visa for Belgium 2022
- studee.com – how to apply for a Belgium student visa
- studyinthestates.dhs.gov – four steps help you apply for a visa
- topuniversities.com – how to get a student visa in Belgium
- studyinternational.com – student visa for Belgium
- visaguide.world – Belgium student visa
- uscollegeinternational.com – Belgium student visa
- aljawaz.com – How to get a student visa in Belgium
- germany.diplomatie.belgium.be – frequently asked questions on the Belgian visa application
- visaguide.world – how to apply for a Belgium visa
- expatica.com – A guide to Belgium’s student visas and permits