Non-EU nationals who wish to work in Belgium as a self-employed person are expected to hold a permit known as a ‘professional card’. Self-employment, in this respect, refers to in-person or via an association or company in Belgium.
To be eligible for a professional card, you must invest in a sector that serves the economic interests of Belgium the best and that ideally has the potential to create new jobs and contribute to financial wealth. The initial stage before getting into this application, therefore, is to conduct market research and financial analysis and to contact potential business partners so that you may have a detailed description of the project.
There is no requirement of prior residence in Belgium to apply for this card. However, if you do not hold residency in Belgium, then you must submit a residence permit application along with the professional card application.
Once submitted, the application is concluded within approximately 3-4 months.
In the first application, you will be granted a 1-year or 2-year residency, and then you may extend it by 3 years of residency. You must reside in Belgium for at least five years, take an integration course, and demonstrate knowledge of Belgian laws in order to apply for Belgian citizenship.