Exploring the Belgium Investor Visa Program
The Belgium Investor Visa, known as the Golden Visa, is an attractive option for high-net-worth individuals worldwide. The program invites you to invest and contribute towards boosting the Belgian economy while enjoying the numerous benefits that come with it.
Belgium offers a Golden Visa to qualifying investors who are interested in investing in the Belgium economy. Belgium’s Investor Visa Program differs from Golden Visas in Europe with clearly defined conditions and real estate options.
There are various investment routes and structures in Belgium, including:
- the setting up of an international holding structure;
- investing in an existing Belgian company;
- investing in a foreign company through a holding company set up in Belgium.
It is not offered for real estate investment but for business investment.
While the program doesn’t directly lead to Belgium citizenship, obtaining a second passport by naturalisation is possible after five years of residing in Belgium.
Besides investment criteria, other universal eligibility standards apply across all immigration schemes worldwide, including investor visas such as those offered by Belgium. It includes:
- Maintaining a clean criminal record.
- Demonstrating good health status through medical checks.
Having no past convictions on your record is crucial. Clearance certificates issued locally where you currently reside and an international Interpol check, if applicable, will be required during the Belgium residence visa application process.
6 benefits of moving to Belgium
As a potential applicant for the Belgium investor visa, understanding life in this culturally rich and economically stable European country is crucial. The focus is exploring the various elements of Belgian culture that make it an appealing place for foreign investors.
1. Visa-free travel to 26 Schengen states. One of the first five nations to ratify the Schengen Agreement on June 14, 1985, Belgium began putting it into effect on March 26, 1995. Belgium residents are allowed to travel to 26 Schengen countries without additional permits.
2. The economic landscape. A thriving economy underpins Belgium's appeal to global businesspersons. With a high GDP per capita and a low unemployment rate of just 2.9%, investing in an existing Belgian company or starting your own can be highly rewarding.
3. Cultural diversity. Beyond its economic allure, living in Belgium offers exposure to diverse cultures and languages — French, Dutch and German are all officially recognised here, enriching both personal experiences and business relationships within the EU region.
4. Social norms and values. Belgium is known for its strong social norms and values. The country emphasises fairness, acceptance, and consideration of others. This culture of acceptance and inclusivity makes Belgium a hospitable home for people from all backgrounds.
5. Education and healthcare. Belgium boasts a well-developed education system and provides high-quality healthcare services. The country is home to renowned universities and research institutions, making it an ideal place for families with children or individuals seeking further education opportunities.
6. Infrastructure and transportation. Belgium has a well-maintained infrastructure and an efficient transportation network. The country's extensive road and rail systems make travelling within Belgium easy and exploring neighbouring European countries. Belgium's airports provide convenient connections to destinations worldwide.
3 eligibility criteria for the Belgium Investor Visa
The Belgium Investor Visa Program, also known as a golden visa, is an attractive option for wealthy individuals seeking residency in one of Europe's most prosperous nations. This unique pathway towards obtaining Belgian citizenship and permanent residence requires meeting specific eligibility criteria.
Apart from specific requirements set by the Belgian government, there are universal immigration eligibility standards that apply across all countries:
- Clean criminal record. A potential immigrant must have no serious convictions either domestically or internationally. The respect for local laws once settled down in Belgium remains paramount.
- Good health. Applicants need to demonstrate they're free from contagious diseases which could pose public health risks upon entry into Belgium through medical examinations conducted by approved healthcare providers.
- Financial solvency. Prospective immigrants must prove their ability to financially support themselves without relying on public funds during their stay in Belgium. Evidence may come via bank statements; investment portfolios if self-employed and property deeds if owning real estate assets.
The main applicant must be 18 and visit Belgium personally to apply for a golden visa.
Inclusion of family members in Belgian Investor Visa application
The Belgium residence visa application is not limited to the primary applicant alone. It extends its benefits and privileges to immediate family members, offering them an opportunity for a brighter future.
Belgium's immigration law encourages family unification. As such, when you apply for a golden visa or any other investment program in Belgium, your spouse and dependent children under 18 can be included. Sometimes, this age limit may extend until 25 if they are still financially reliant on you.
Rewards for included family members:
- all individuals within the golden visa application gain access to similar benefits offered to those directly acquiring Belgian citizenship via investment programs like golden visas, giving them the right to live, work, and study anywhere in the European Union;
- it provides the capacity to traverse the Schengen region without necessitating a separate visa for each EU nation, augmenting individual autonomy and permitting increased mobility;
- they also become eligible for excellent healthcare and education facilities available to all residents of Belgium.
To include relatives in the process of obtaining Belgian citizenship through investment programs like golden visas requires additional paperwork along with yours during submission. These typically encompass marriage certificates for spouses and birth certificates for children. All these documents must be legalised and translated into Dutch, French, or German.
Budgeting should consider that each member will require separate application fees, which add up cumulatively alongside costs associated with opening a company in Belgium as part of meeting the minimum capital requirement stipulated by the Belgian government.
Despite the extra expenses, many applicants find value in securing prospects for their families' comprehensive migration approach.
Why would you consider becoming a Belgian citizen?
Since Brussels is the European Union's headquarters, having a Belgian passport provides advantages for international business people.
Belgium allows people to live, work, and study in a politically, socially, and economically stable nation with outstanding living standards and reasonable housing costs.
Citizens also enjoy unrestricted access to the Schengen region and the EU. Additionally, you can travel to 175 countries visa-free, visa upon arrival or eVisa.
Investment requirements for Belgium Investor Visa
A significant element in securing a Belgium investor visa is making an initial business investment into either a new or existing Belgian company. The suggested minimum capital requirement typically hovers around €300,000. This substantial financial commitment underscores your intent and capability to bolster and expand the local economy.
This amount is not rigid and is often assessed individually by immigration authorities considering various factors such as business plans, projected job creation, and overall economic impact. It is crucial, therefore, to have detailed documentation supporting your proposed investment when applying for this type of visa.
The role of business incorporation in investment requirements. Incorporating a business within Belgium is essential in meeting the minimum capital requirement for obtaining an investor visa. By establishing or heavily investing in a Belgian BVBA company, equivalent to LLC, you are directly contributing to job creation and stimulating economic growth within the country.
Your incorporated entity could range from small businesses like restaurants or retail stores to larger-scale operations such as manufacturing plants or tech startups — each with its unique benefits but all demonstrating tangible investments in the local economy.
Navigating regulatory compliance. To successfully navigate regulatory compliance during the incorporation process, it is advisable to seek professional guidance. Understanding complex aspects such as shareholding structures, tax implications, and labour laws becomes critical. Hence, having expert advice ensures smooth sailing throughout the application journey.
Fulfilling these stringent investment criteria might seem daunting initially; however, considering the long-term rewards makes them worthwhile.
Document requirements to apply for Belgium Golden Visa
Any documents not issued in French, Dutch, German or English must be authenticated by an approved translator and legalised locally and at the nearest Belgian embassy or consulate before submission.
There are specific documents that need to be compiled, including:
- Valid passport.
- Proof of sufficient funds to make and maintain the investment.
- Health insurance.
- Proof of accommodation in Belgium, either by renting or purchasing a property.
- Evidence of family relationships, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate.
- Evidence that children under 21 years and parents are dependent on the applicant.
- Certification of a clean criminal record.
- Medical certificate showing you are in good health issued by a doctor recognised by the Belgium Embassy or Consulate.
Unveiling the costs of the Belgium Investor Visa Program
Understanding all costs of obtaining a Belgium Investor Visa is crucial for making an informed decision. This sum only scratches the surface as there are other potential expenditures based on individual circumstances, such as business incorporation or renewal costs after securing your investor visa.
There is no minimum investment requirement for investing in Belgium. To create a company or maintain an existing one, investors typically put up a minimum of €300,000, including operating expenses. Before citizenship by naturalisation is complete, an additional investment of between €100,000 and €200,000 will be required. Investors must therefore apply for a visa under the business category.
Incorporating a business in Belgium can be one approach towards meeting investment requirements. However, this path comes with its own set of overheads that need consideration while budgeting:
- Fees related to incorporating your company — vary depending upon the legal form chosen and notary involvement.
- Ongoing administrative costs like accounting services or office rental.
- Potential language classes if required by immigration law.
Beyond the initial outlay, recurring expenses could be tied to maintaining valid status over time. You'll have annual renewal charges until gaining permanent residency after three years' stay under the temporary permit granted through golden visas. This charge usually hovers around a few hundred euros; the exact figure will vary from case to case.
Other ongoing expenditures include healthcare coverage premiums and living costs.
Application process for Belgium Investor Visa
Securing a Belgium Investor Visa involves several key steps, from gathering the necessary documents to registering your business in Belgium. The processing time differs contingent on whether you are a resident of the EU or come from outside the European Union.
Gather all paperwork and submit your application in your home country. You must have a business plan and prove that you have the funds for the investment.
It could involve investing directly into an existing Belgian company or starting a new one that meets the minimum capital requirement stipulated under the Belgian residence program rules.
Investors provide proof of company registration and payment of fees and submit them to the municipal authorities.
Applications are considered case-by-case, with the application processing time around three months.
Pros and cons of Belgium Golden Visa Program
There is no minimum investment required. Investing at least €300,000 to run the company and cover operating expenses is advisable. It can be either an existing business or a new company. Another €100,000—200,000 will be necessary for further investment before naturalisation.
The Belgium Residence Visa Program does not require you to stay or live in Belgium.
Belgium has no real estate investment options; only a business route is possible. The Belgium program is suited to entrepreneurs and business investors who want to start a European company in Belgium. It works through business formation and creating jobs in Belgium.
Other European states with a residency by real estate investment
|Investment program||Costs||Term of obtaining|
|Malta Permanent Residence Programme||€150,000+|
If renting real estate in the south of Malta and on the island of Gozo
|Spain residence permit||€500,000+||2—3 months|
|Greece residence permit||€250,000+||2—6 months|
|Cyprus residence permit||€300,000+||3+ months|
Pathway from temporary residence permit to permanent residency and citizenship
Obtaining a temporary residence permit in Belgium is the first step towards securing permanent residency. This initial permit, often acquired through investment programs like golden visas, allows foreign investors to reside in Belgium for one year legally.
This status can be renewed annually, and after three years of continuous living under this arrangement, you become eligible for long-term or permanent residency. The Belgian government recognises your commitment by offering these opportunities as you contribute positively to their economy and society.
Renewing residence permit. Maintaining legal status while transitioning from a temporary residence holder to a permanent applicant involves the timely renewal of your permit every year. It's recommended that you initiate this process at least 30 days before its expiry date, according to Belgian immigration law.
Becoming a permanent resident offers numerous advantages, such as:
- unrestricted access to employment across the EU,
- social security benefits, including healthcare services.
The application requires submitting similar documents during the investor visa application phase. These may include proof of ongoing business activities, if applicable, and evidence demonstrating continued financial solvency.
Adherence to all conditions associated with maintaining lawful stay throughout the transition phase is emphasised by authorities, thereby leading closer towards achieving the desired goal — acquiring Belgian citizenship.
Navigating towards a citizenship application. After five consecutive years of residing legally using either the golden visas program or other types of investment schemes offered to individuals, they are not just eligible for long-term residency but also start preparing their citizenship package.
Eligibility doesn't guarantee automatic approval; the successful outcome depends on meeting specific criteria set forth by the relevant authorities, which might vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the individual circumstances surrounding each applicant.
- An investment in the Belgian economy minimum of €300,000 can open doors to an exciting life in one of Europe's most vibrant countries.
- The application process may seem daunting, but with meticulous preparation, you're well on your way to securing the Belgium Investor Visa.
- Costs are part and parcel of such programs; however, they pale in comparison to the wealth of advantages that come with Belgian citizenship.
- Your family can join you on this journey as they're eligible for inclusion in your application.
- In 5 years, with a Belgian residence permit, one may apply for citizenship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Foreigners can apply for Belgium permanent residency after at least five years of legally living there. There are different types of residence cards. Belgium Investor Visa is one of the fastest ways to obtain a temporary residence permit.
The investment requirements for a Belgian investor visa vary, but an initial investment of at least €300,000 is typically suggested.
There is now a direct investment route to get citizenship in Belgium. But you can obtain a Belgium Investor Visa first. Investment amounts can differ based on individual circumstances. However, generally speaking, investing around €300,000 and residing for five years can lead towards citizenship.
The processing time for a Belgian investor visa is approximately 3—4 months for EU citizens and may be longer for non-EU applicants.
Gaining permanent residency in Belgium involves meeting specific criteria, including living for three years under a temporary residence permit granted by golden visas or other investment programs.