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Work permit

Students

EEA+ nationals

EEA+ nationals do not need a work permit to be able to work in Belgium.

Non-EEA nationals

Non-EEA students who are staying in Belgium based on student status are allowed to work in Belgium on the condition that they have a valid residence permit or a temporary residence document mentioning the right to work.

Your right to work is limited to a maximum of 20 hours per week outside the official school holiday periods. During official school holiday periods, the limitation of 20 hours does not apply and you can work more than 20 hours per week. In any case, the work needs to be compatible with your studies.

The residence card will automatically mention the limited access to the labour market on the back of the card: ‘arbeidsmarkt beperkt’ (labour market limited).

Staff

EEA+ nationals

EEA+ nationals do not need a work permit to be able to work in Belgium.

Non-EEA nationals

Non-EEA+ nationals will normally need a single permit or work permit to work in Belgium.

There are some general exceptions to this rule:

  • Doctoral scholarship holders who are enrolled at the University of Antwerp as students. They are considered students for the purposes of the residence regulations
  • Research staff who have a contract or post-doctoral grant with the University of Antwerp and who receive a host agreement (this category will fall under the single permit procedure in the near future – the exact date still needs to be determined). The host agreement will be provided by your HR Officer and you will submit this document when applying for a visa type D at the Belgian embassy.
  • Non-EEA+ nationals who have a B, C, D, F or F+ residence permit or a registration certificate for family reunification with an EU citizen
  • Non-EEA+ nationals who are staying in Belgium based on family reunification with a staff member. The right to work will be mentioned automatically on their residence card.

If none of these exemptions are applicable, the staff member will need a work permit, depending on the length of the employment and the country of residence.

Please be aware that the work permit or single permit needs to be approved before the staff member can apply for a visa type D at the Belgian embassy!

Cross-border workers or employment < 90 days

Staff members with an employment contract of less than three months and cross-border workers will have to apply for a work permit.

The International Staff Office will apply for the work permit on your behalf. The application can be started two months before the start date of your employment. The processing time takes around 8 weeks.

More information about the work permit and the documents needed can be found on the website of Vlaanderen.be (only available in Dutch).

Employment > 90 days

Staff members living in Belgium and working longer than three months will have to apply for a single permit. This combined residence and work permit allows non-EU nationals to reside and work in Belgium.

Please note that visiting staff members (who receive a grant or salary from their home university) with non-EEA nationality also need a single permit. In addition to the documents for the single permit application, they will have to submit a Limosa declaration and proof that they remain covered by the social security system of their home country.

The International Staff Office will contact the new staff member to request the necessary documents for the application of the work permit/single permit and will apply for the work permit/single permit on the applicant’s behalf.

The single permit application can take up to four and a half months (as soon as all documents are complete) and will be issued for the maximum period of three years or until the end of the employment period. Once your single permit application is approved by the Economic Migration and Regulation Department and the Immigration Office, a document called Annex 46 will also be sent to the university and your consular post/town and you can apply for your visa.

More information about the single permit and the documents needed can be found on the website of Vlaaderen.be  (only available in Dutch).

Renewal or extension of work permit

The International Staff Office can provide assistance with the renewal of the work permit.

In order to apply for an extension of your residence permit, your work permit or single permit needs to be extended first. The International Staff Office will start the application as soon as the new employment contract or grant has been issued and signed.

Please keep in mind that renewal applications can take several months. We recommend that supervisors start the renewal procedure with the HR Department three to four months before the end date of your current employment contract.

At present, researchers with a host agreement do not yet need a single permit to apply for an extension of their residence permit. A signed contract/grant and host agreement are sufficient to start the renewal of the residence permit through the International Staff Office.