Applications for work permit B and employment permit: how to apply

The following information, conditions and legislation were applicable for applies until December 31st, 2018 and thus is everything unusable from January 1st, 2019!
The new legislation, and the associated new conditions and documents, you can find it here: Naar werknemers buitenlandse nationaliteit (vanaf 2019)




The application for obtaining an employment permit and work permit B must always be submitted by the employer.

In the case of an application which is not from an employer who is domiciled in Belgium, then the latter may have the request submitted by an authorised agent based in Belgium.

The granting of an employment permit to an employer results automatically and simultaneously in the issue of a work permit B to the worker concerned.

The application file

The application file must be submitted to the Department of Economic Migration in the province where the employment will take place.

The files can be sent either through the post or handed in directly at the offices of the DEM. If sent by post, it does not have to be by registered mail. Since some documents (such as the application form) must still be duly completed and signed on the original forms, there is no point in sending applications by fax or e-mail.

For applications for employment permit and work permits, the appropriate forms must be used (application form, employment contract, medical certificate, information sheet etc.). You can download these forms or obtain them from the Department of Economic Migration in your province.

Application Form

A form entitled "Application for employment of a foreign employee" to be completed and signed by the employer or his authorised agent. If it is the first time that such a form is being submitted by the applicant concerned, his signature must be legalised by the mayor of his place of residence (contact the Citizen Service of your place of residence).

 When it concerns an employer who is located abroad, the application must be submitted via an agent who has legal residence in Belgium, and who was authorised for this purpose by the foreign employer. When the application is submitted by an agent or representative, a copy of the identity document of the person concerned must be attached to it, in addition to a written authorisation (go to download page with all the forms).

Medical Certificate

When requesting an employment permit in respect of an employee who will be employed in Belgium for the first time, the employer must attach a form in which a doctor confirms that the prospective employee is capable of working, and there is nothing to indicate that the employee will be incapacitated from working because of his state of health in the near future.

This certificate should only be added if the employee has not yet resided for two years legally in Belgium and will himself be employed here for the first time. It must be a recent medical certificate which may not be older than three months when submitting the request.

If the medical certificate was issued in a country outside the European Economic Area, it must be drawn up by a doctor recognised by the Belgian diplomatic or consular officials of the country concerned. If this certificate was completed in a language other than that of one of the [Belgian] Regional languages, the Department of Economic Migration has the right to demand a translation by a sworn [certified] translator (go to download page with all the forms).

Standard Employment Contract

If the application relates to a job which does not fall within one of the special categories - such as highly skilled, management etc. - the file must be accompanied by the original "Standard Employment Contract" signed by both parties, the style and contents of which have been laid down by legislation.

It is advisable to include a clause in the contract which expressly provides that the start date and the further implementation of the employment contract shall be made conditional on the prior obtention of the required employment permit and work permit B (go to download page with all the forms).

Information sheet and a copy of the identity documents of the employee:

  • If the employee is already present in Belgium: if at the time of submission of the application the employee concerned is already present in Belgium, the application file must be accompanied by an information sheet. This standard form must contain all the information relating to the identification of the foreign employee, as well as the information relating to his residence and the residence (if any) of his blood and other relatives in Belgium, with an explicit statement of the period of validity and the type of residence permit that they have. In addition to the information sheet, a copy of the current (Belgian) residence permit of the employer concerned should also be added.
  • If the employee is not yet present in Belgium: in this case an information sheet clearly cannot be added, but a copy of the personal details that have been included on his (foreign) identity documents (national and/or international passport) is sufficient.

(go to download page with all the forms)

Administrative handling

After receipt of the file, the authorised labour migration department will instigate a thorough examination and check whether the application meets all the requisite conditions. If necessary, the department will ask the applicant for additional information and/or clarifications.

Positive Decision

When the application is complete and meets all the requirements, the Department of Economic Migration will issue an employment permit and send it to the employer in question or his agent, in principle within 10 working days.

At the same time, a work permit B will officially be issued for the employer concerned. However, the work permit B will never be sent directly to the employee:

  1. If the employee is residing legally in Belgium, the work permit B will be forwarded to the municipality of his place of residence. The details of the work permit will be registered by the municipality, after which the employee concerned will be invited by the municipality to come and pick up the work permit.
  2. If the employee is not yet present in Belgium, the work permit B will be sent to the municipality where the employer or his agent resides. The latter will be invited by the municipality to come and collect the work permit B. It is also their responsibility to give the work permit to the employee concerned. After receiving it, the employee can, on the basis of this work permit, apply for an entry visa at the Belgian diplomatic or consular services in the country where he resides.

The employment permit and work permit B are granted for the period of employment stated in the application, with a maximum duration of 12 months. Even if the application file contains an employment contract for a longer or even an indefinite period of time, the employment permit and work permit B will still only be granted for a maximum period of 12 months, in accordance with the provisions of Article 3 of the implementing decree of 9 June 1999. Of course, the employer may in due course submit a request for renewal on the basis of the initially concluded contract of employment if it still applies. The fact that the employment is based on a contract of employment for a longer or an indefinite period of time creates no additional rights to any approval or extension of work permits and authorisations.

Employment authorisations and work permits can never be granted with retroactive effect. The starting date can therefore never be earlier than the date when the decision is taken by the Department of Economic Migration. The employment must never begin before the employment permit was granted.

Negative decision

If the application does not meet the prescribed conditions it will be refused. The refusal decision will be sent by registered letter to the employer or his agent. The decision will list the reasons on the basis of which the request was refused. An appeal may be lodged against this refusal decision.

Employees of foreign nationality

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