Non-European citizens must possess a "professional card" to work as a self-employed person in Belgium. The professional card is granted for a period of five years at most. Generally, a first card is granted on a probationary basis, for two years. The authorisation is delivered for one or more specific activities mentioned on the card. The validity of the card is tied to the right of residence. If this right is terminated, the professional card can no longer be used.
Action to be taken
Applying to BEE for the permit.
Any self-employed person with a nationality from outside Europe who wishes to settle in Belgium must apply for a professional card. This application must demonstrate in what way the project can be useful for the Brussels Capital Region. Moreover, the following elements are verified:
- The right of residence: BEE checks whether you have a valid right of residence in Belgium or in the country where you have applied for the professional card;
- Compliance with the regulatory obligations: BEE verifies whether you and/or your company possess basic management knowledge and in certain cases the necessary professional knowledge to meet the access requirements for the intended professional activities and whether all other obligations linked to your status are fulfilled.
- The usefulness of the project: The economic usefulness is appreciated in terms of jobs created, productive investments, economic benefits for Belgium and the companies on Belgian territory, the opening of markets, activities that are rare, innovative or highly specialised or meet a need that was not yet or insufficiently met.
The duly completed, dated and signed form, a copy of the criminal record (certificate of good conduct), a copy of your identity card, two identity photographs, the business plan or a summary of it (20 pages at most) and any other document you consider useful to exame your file.
A professional card (first card or renewal) costs:
- 140 € at the moment you submit your application at an enterprise counter or at a diplomatic representation or consulate
- 90 € per year of validity when the enterprise counter issues the card
If the application for a professional card is rejected, it is possible to appeal against this decision to the minister of Employment of the Brussels Capital Region. Your letter must specify the motivation for the application and must be written in French or in Dutch. It must be signed and sent by registered mail within the thirty days following the notification of the administration's decision to refuse you the card.
You will be notified of the minister's decision. Should the decision confirm the rejection or the withdrawal of the card, it is possible to appeal before the Council of State within the sixty days following the notification of the minister's decision.