Professional cards - administrative processing

Step-by-step plan

1. The diplomatic mission/consular post or the one-stop-shop for business support receiving the application, forwards this application within five days after receipt to the competent regional Economic Migration Service.

2. The regional Economic Migration Service verifies whether the application was submitted in accordance with regulations:

  • If this is not the case, the application becomes subject of a decision of inadmissibility which is notified to the applicant via the diplomatic mission/consular post, or via the one-stop-shop for business support that received the application;

  • If rules were respected, scrutiny of the application will be started by the Regional Economic Migration Service.

3. The substantive examination is based on three criteria:

  • the right to reside: if you do not have a permit for residence in Belgium, an application for this residence permit must be lodged at a diplomatic mission or consular post simultaneously with the application for a professional card;
  • Compliance with reglementary obligations: for the first application it is examined whether you have access to the profession if this is required for your activity. If you have questions about access to the profession or if you do not have access, you can contact a recognised one-stop-shop for business support for more information. If you lodge an application for renewal, it is also examined whether you have paid your taxes and social security contributions correctly.;
  • the importance of the project for Flanders: this importance is appraised in terms of economic value. For example, it is examined whether the project meets economic needs, creates employment, involves useful investments, what economic impact it has on enterprises in Flanders and whether it promotes export, innovative or specialised activity. Another evaluation may also be conducted to determine whether the project is of value to society, culture, art or sports. When an application for renewal is lodged, it is examined whether the added value for Flanders that was set in the first application for a professional card (e.g. job creation, investments, etc.) has been effectively realised.  

    For applicants having a long-term resident status in another EU Member State, the profile of the person involved (relevant work experience, diplomas, etc.) as well as the current and expected income are evaluated instead of the economic value. For a renewal application, the guaranteed average minimum monthly income of someone aged 20 with minimum 12 months of seniority is tested as reference amount.
    For applicants for whom the right to reside has another reason than a self-employed activity (e.g. work permit, regularisation, etc.), only the right to reside and compliance with the regulatory obligations are tested. As a result, the professional card, if awarded, will give no right to reside. If the situation of the person concerned changes and the professional card should give the right to reside, he can submit a modified application which specifically refers to this. In this case, the Economic Migration Service will also examine the importance of the project for Flanders.

4. The regional Economic Migration Service takes a decision on the basis of the substantive examination:

  • If the application meets the required criteria, the regional Economic Migration Service issues the professional card. The original is supplied to the applicant foreigner through the one-stop-shop for business support;

  • If this is not the case, the regional Economic Migration Service issues a motivated refusal and sends this decision on to the applicant foreigner through the diplomatic mission or consular post or through the one-stop-shop for business support.

After refusal of a professional card, you can only reapply after a period of two years starting on the date of submission of the previous application. This prohibition is not applicable:

  • if the refusal is the result of a decision of inadmissibility;
  • if you have new information;
  • if the application concerns a new activity.

Professional cards

Departement Werk en Sociale Economie
Beroepskaarten / Professional cards
Straat + nr: 
Koning Albert II-laan 35 bus 20
+32 2 553 08 80
+32 2 553 44 22

Contact us by phone between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Visit by appointment between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.