I. Visa requirements
If you are a national of one of the European Economic Area countries (all countries from the European Union + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) or from Monaco or Switzerland you may travel to Belgium on a national passport or identity card. All other nationalities, who want to stay in Belgium for longer than 3 months, should apply for a student visa (type D) with the Belgian embassy or consulate in their current country of residence before leaving for Belgium. Exceptions to this rule may be possible if you hold a passport or a residence permit for a Schengen country. If this is the case, please contact the embassy or consulate for more information.
When visiting the Belgian Embassy or Consulate you will need the following documents (to be submitted in all cases):
- National passport (valid for at least 3 months after expiry date of the visa)
- Visa application form
- 2 recent passport pictures
- Letter of acceptance (invitation letter) from the University of Antwerp
- Proof of solvency
- Medical certificate
Note that additional documents may be requested by the embassy or consulate.
For some countries, approval by the Belgian authorities can take up to 3 months or longer. It is therefore necessary that you start the visa application procedure well in advance! Students are urged not to come on a tourist visa, unless they wish to return within 3 months.
II. Residence Permit for PhD-researchers and research fellows
A. Staying in Belgium for more than three months
All foreign workers, researchers and volunteers, including those from the EU, must register with the Immigration Office if they wish to stay in Belgium for more than three months. Within eight days of your arrival in Belgium, you must submit an application to the local authority in your place of residence to allow you to register at the Immigration Office and ask for a residence permit.
In the city of Antwerp this can happen in three ways:
- Using the digital registration form on the city’s website (available in Dutch only)
- You can obtain a registration form from the local government offices ("Districtshuis") and then send it by post
- You can also request the registration form over the telephone by calling the following number: +32 3 292 93 94
Subsequently, you will receive an appointment and a checklist of the documents that must be provided.
In any case, you should be prepared to provide the following documents:
- Passport or identity card
- Four passport photographs
- The necessary employment documents, depending on the statute in question
- Proof of sufficient resources or additional evidence, depending on your statute
You may also be asked to provide some additional documents:
- Employment contract and pay slips
- Health insurance documentation
- Medical certificate
- Proof of good conduct
If you are not an EEA national, you should always bring the following supporting documents:
- Proof of employment (work permit, hosting agreement or exemption)
On the agreed date, you can submit all the documents to the Central Registration Office. Before the registration can be validated, a residency check has to be carried out by the police.
The decision is then submitted to the Office for Long-term Residency for non-EEA citizens in Brussels. Upon approval, a residence permit ‘A’ will be issued, valid for the duration of employment plus 30 days.
Civic Integration in Antwerp
Once you have been added to the register of residents, you will receive an invitation to attend a civic integration course. This course is compulsory and non-compliance may result in a fine. As a foreign student or researcher, however, you may be able to get an exemption.
To obtain this exemption, send the invitation along with a certificate of registration or scholarship certificate to:
Onthaalbureau Inburgering Antwerpen, SZ / SLD / OB Atlas
Van Immerseelstraat 11-23
B. Staying in Belgium for less than three months
If you are planning to stay in Belgium for less than three months, you do not need a residence permit. If you are staying in a hotel, hostel or guesthouse, then you do not need to present yourself to the local authority.
If you are not staying in a hotel, hostel or guesthouse you must present yourself at the Population Register (Immigration Office) in your place of residence:
EU citizens must apply for proof of attendance (Annex 3b).
Non-EU citizens must apply for a declaration of arrival (Annex 3). The date on which you must leave Belgium is specified on the declaration of arrival.
III. Housing (accommodation)
For more information on housing, go to https://www.uantwerp.be/en/campus-life/housing/ or contact the responsible for International Accommodation Jasmien Hoefkens (+ 32 3 265 48 63/32 476 96 28 91).
When you are staying for 6 months or more you have to look for accommodation yourself on the private market.
IV. Health insurance
All non-EU nationals living or working in Belgium have to register with a Health Insurance company.
When you work for the University of Antwerp and you pay a social security contribution in Belgium, you are obliged to register with a Belgian Health Insurance company or with the “Hulpkas voor Ziekte-en Invaliditeitsverzekering” (HZIV). In that case you are not required to continue paying the health insurance contribution in your home country.
V. Opening a bank account
In case of a longterm employment as a foreign staff member at the University of Antwerp it may be advisable to open a Belgian bank account. The Financial Department can assist you with this.