Belgium is regarded by international students as an excellent place for studies, as it offers a wide multicultural environment and great academic opportunities. Belgium has several top universities attested by prestigious international rankings. As a multilingual country with different regions speaking French, Dutch and German, English is also widely spoken in the great cities of Belgium and many university courses are taught in English language.
Note:Students from a European Union Member State or from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) are not required to obtain a student visa to study in Belgium. They are, however, required to carry a national identity card, which they must present to the customs officer on arrival to Belgium.
Student visa requirements for Belgium
To fulfill student visa requirements for Belgium, you’ll need to provide the following documents:
- A completed and signed visa application form (you may need to bring more than one)
- A passport or similar travel document valid for more than 12 months. In some countries, though it is required for the passport to be no more than 10 years old, and have two empty consecutive pages facing each other.
- Proff that you have sufficient financial income or support for the duration of your stay. Which should cover your healthcare, living, study and accommodation costs as well as the cost of your return ticket. The proff could be in the form of a certificate stating you have received a grant or scholarship, an agreement of financial responsibility from your sponsor, or your personal bank statement showing sufficient funds.
- A medical certificate stating you don’t carry any diseases that may endanger public health (such as TB, or other infectious diseases)
- A police certificate of good conduct confirming that you don’t have any prior convictions (if you are aged over 21). But if you’re from the US, you’ll probably need an FBI background check, which could take up to five months to obtain.
Student visa requirements for Belgium also include proof of your student status and study plans. This requires:
- Proof of registration at a recognized higher education institution in Belgium (must cover a full-time course of study, suggesting that the candidate’s main activity in Belgium is studying)
- Application for an equivalence certificate for a diploma or certificate conferred abroad (only required for French Community education)
- Original and certified copy of your diploma, certificate from your secondary education, and the academic record from your last year of secondary education
- Copy of all diplomas and certificates obtained since the end of your secondary education.
- An employer’s statement underlining the necessary for you to pursue higher education as part of your work (more likely to apply to postgraduate students)
- Documentation giving a brief description of the courses organized by your institution of choice, with a short explanation comparing those courses to courses organized in your country of origin.
NOTE: All documents in a language other than German, French, English or Dutch must be translated by a sworn translator, legalized as a separate document in your country of origin, and legalized again by the Belgian consulate or embassy you go to. HOWEVER, depending on your country of origin, your embassy may ask for other documents not mentioned here.
You will also need to provide a supporting letter explaining why you have chosen the particular course, why you have chosen to study in Belgium, and how your choices will benefit you. You must demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge of the language in which you intend to study, by providing either proof of passing an internationally recognized language proficiency exam or a certificate issued at the end of education in your chosen language.
The Belgian embassy considers visa applications on a case-by-case basis and has the exclusive decision to accept or refuse your visa. You may choose to appeal against this decision if you wish. If the embassy you have applied to is unable to process your student visa application for some reason, they may suggest you apply for a tourist visa, which is easier for them to issue. If that is the case, make sure they give you a written statement showing that they advised you to apply for a tourist visa, as this statement will allow you to exchange your tourist visa for a student visa once you’re in Belgium, and allow you to register at your chosen higher education institution.
How To Apply for student visa To Study in Belgium
First, you need to be accepted onto a course at an accredited educational institution, and pay the registration fees (which would be refunded if your visa application is rejected). If you are an international student, you will need to contact your nearest Belgian embassy. The embassy will help you determine whether you need a student visa, and will guide you through the visa application.
The procedure to obtain a visa for Belgium varies depending on the Belgian embassy you use. You will need to fill in a visa application form and submit an application fee along with all the required documents. International applicants may need to make an appointment with their embassy in order to make their application.