For entrepreneurs, self-employed individuals and investors who are not EU citizens, Belgium offers a relatively easy path to resident status and eventually to acquiring Belgian citizenship after five years of residence.
Leaving aside reasons for obtaining residency and/or citizenship based on family ties with Belgium (e.g. marriage to a Belgian national, being born in Belgium or to Belgian parents), most residence applications concern persons who wish to establish business ties with the country. In these cases, applications for work permits and/or professional cards must be considered before it is possible to apply for a residence permit. In most cases, residence and citizenship can easily be extended to a spouse and children.
Non-EU citizens normally submit a long-stay visa application. All applications for residence permits are subject to case-by-case approval by the government. It is therefore of the utmost importance that an application is thoroughly prepared.
In principle, for the first three years, residence permits are issued on an annually renewable basis. Subsequently, an indefinite permit can be obtained.
The BRP Belgium Residence Program (BRP) is a fixed-fee service package offered to non-EU citizens who are interested in obtaining a residence permit quickly and with minimal effort. By drawing on an extensive network of advisors and high-level contacts, we can offer you assistance in all administrative and procedural matters regarding your residence permit application, personal and corporate taxation as well as business opportunities. We specialize in providing a tailor-made service package in which every aspect of your personal situation is taken into account, and also offer an all-round service.
Depending on your individual circumstances, citizenship may be obtained after five years of legal residence in Belgium. This is your legal right, by means of declaration, if fulfilling certain criteria. After 10 years of legal residence, a resident acquires the same right to become a Belgian citizen with even less conditions to comply with. Family reunion procedures are relatively straightforward.
As Belgium is one of the founding members of the European Union with a sound financial and legal climate, Belgian nationals are generally welcomed all over the world. Belgian/EU citizenship gives you the right of establishment in all EU member states as well as in Switzerland.
As the country is within the EU and the Schengen zone, a Belgian residence permit allows citizens whose passport normally requires a visa to enter this zone to travel anywhere within it without the need for a visa.
Once citizenship has been granted, a Belgian passport will allow visa-free travel to a large number of countries, including the United States. Indeed, a Belgium passport is one of the best travel documents in the world.
Another important aspect when considering becoming a resident in Belgium is the tax implications this may have for you. As a resident of Belgium, your income is taxable on the basis of Belgian law. However, there is an extensive number of treaties with over 80 countries designed to avoid double taxation.
Advanced tax planning offers many tax advantages. In some cases, income earned outside Belgium is not taxable at all.