Residence by engaging in self-employed activities

Belgium offers the perfect location to further your business ambition. It is closely situated to Europe’s key institutions and hence, purchasing power. It also gives access to the 4th most productive workforce in the world and has a world-class port infrastructure rated the 2nd best in the EU. To get started, you need to obtain authorisation to engage in economic activities which we detail below.

Get started by obtaining the authorisation to work and to reside in Belgium

Pursuant to the Belgian legislation, any foreign national who engages in self-employed activities, either through a company or as a natural person, is obliged to apply for a professional card. The professional card renders you the right of residence in Belgium.

To qualify, the applicant must convince the authorities of the importance of, and the benefits to be brought by, his/her business activities in Belgium (more specifically, the region where the company will be established: Flanders, Brussels or Walloon Region). The economic interest of the proposed business activities will be reviewed taking into account the ability of the business to meet an existing economic need, job creation, innovation, the promotion of export activities, etc. The applicant is required to submit supporting documentation to evidence the abovementioned criteria.

After 5 years of legal and continuous residence in Belgium, the foreign national will be entitled to permanent residency and subject to satisfying other legal and procedural requirements, he/she may also apply for the Belgian citizenship.

Does Belgium have any residence by investment scheme?

The Belgian legislative framework does not foresee the possibility for a third-country national to obtain the right of residence by way of investment. The mere investment of monetary funds in the Belgian economy does not imply a right to enter or reside in the Belgian territory. Nevertheless, Belgium does provide for an immigration scheme for foreign entrepreneurs who engage in self-employed activities, either through a company or as a natural person. However, the incorporation of a company without any business activities for the sole purpose of obtaining residency will not be accepted.

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