As you will undoubtedly want to travel during your stay in Brussels, we strongly recommend that you ask for a long-stay Schengen Visa, or ‘Type D’ Schengen Visa, which will allow you to travel hassle-free to any of the countries within the Schengen region and to make multiple entries into Belgium (please note that the United Kingdom is NOT included in the Schengen region). This type of visa is not issued by all embassies/consulates. Please contact the Belgian embassy or consulate nearest you for details on their specific procedures and requirements.
It should be noted that not every country and, in the United States, not every state has a Belgian embassy or consulate. As such, you may need to travel to another country/state in order to submit your application. Most Belgian embassies or consulates require that the applicant appear in person for submission of the application and, in some cases, for retrieval of the passport and visa.
You should apply for a visa between 1–3 months before leaving. Visa processing usually takes about 2–4 weeks, but can take more. If you are 21 years of age or over, you are required to undergo a background check plus fingerprinting, a process that can take 6 weeks or longer. All instructions and forms can be found on the website for the Belgian Foreign Affairs Office or on the website of the Belgian embassy or consulate near you.
For the Vesalius College Summer Programme, it is usually not necessary to apply for a study visa. Most students can be issued with a tourist visa upon entry into the Belgium.
Requirements for Belgian Student Visa Application
For more information, click here.
- A valid travel document (e.g., passport) in which a visa can be affixed, which is valid for 3 months longer than the visa.
- Two original visa application forms (click here) correctly filled in and signed together with 2 recent passport photos bearing a true likeness to the applicant. Please DO NOT SIGN these applications. They must be signed in front of a notary public or other official qualified to legalise your signature.
- Proof of registration or a registration permit for a full course load in a higher education establishment in Belgium. This document is issued by Vesalius College and will be sent to your Study Abroad Coordinator or to you if your school is not one of our partners. You will need the original document plus 2 copies.
- A pledge of financial support for the student. This document may be requested from the embassy or consulate responsible for his/her country of residence. The guarantor who signs this pledge of financial support must have adequate means of subsistence and stand surety for any costs incurred by the student in terms of health treatment, residence in Belgium and repatriation, for at least one academic year. The guarantor must have a regular income.
- Please see the Belgian Immigration Office website for details on the funds that must be guaranteed for each student (subject to change annually).
- Once this pledge of financial support has been authenticated by the relevant embassy or consulate, the original document must be submitted to the relevant Belgian embassy or consulate, together with a copy of the guarantor’s last 3 pay slips.
- Given that the number of current dependents is a factor in determining the solvency of the guarantor, it is also advisable to submit proof of the make-up of the guarantor’s family together with evidence of any family benefits received.
- This document may be signed by a parent or guardian. In some cases, your university may be able to issue this type of document. Please consult with your Study Abroad Advisor for more information.
- A medical certificate, obtained from a doctor designated by the Belgian embassy or consulate or from your own doctor. If you have your own doctor complete this form, it must be filled out by your doctor, notarised (doctor’s signature must be legalised) and appear on the doctor’s original letterhead. You will need the original medical certificate plus 2 copies.
- A certificate of good conduct (or the local equivalent) if you are over 21 (in the United States, this means an FBI background check and fingerprinting, a process that can take 6 weeks or longer).
- Proof of transport arrangements (return ticket). As soon as your visa application has been approved, you must submit a return ticket (in your name and non-transferable) in order for the visa to be issued. You only need to submit the return ticket and travel insurance policy once the Belgian embassy or consulate informs you that your visa has been granted. This is to avoid unnecessary expense on your part. However, the embassy or consulate may ask you to submit proof that a return ticket has been reserved.
- The documents listed above are only the basic documents to be submitted in all cases. Additional documents may be requested by the embassy or consulate.
Visa Application Fee
- The handling fee for a Type C short-stay (Schengen) visa (stay not exceeding 90 days) is 78 USD.
- For a Type D long-stay visa (stay exceeding 90 days) it is 234 USD.
- The amount is to be paid in local currency at the embassy or consulate where the visa application is made. Please contact the embassy or consulate of the country where you reside to find out the amount due, which varies depending on the exchange rate applied at the time of filing.
- If you cancel your application or are prevented from travelling, or if the visa application is rejected, the handling fee will not be refunded.
- In certain cases, the handling fee for a short-stay visa is less than €61. The embassy or consulate handling your application will automatically charge the correct amount.