Location, location, location. That’s just one thing Belgium has going for it when it comes to attracting foreign investors, immigration experts say.
Belgium Investment Immigration Programs Overview
Belgium does not have an investment program per se. However, applying for the professional card and setting up a business in the country can lead to residency and citizenship. It is far from being the most popular route to settling in in Belgium, but immigration lawyers say they’ve been seeing an increase in cases over the years.
Regional ministries of economy and employment handle the applications so it’s important to pick the region for the business (Brussels, Wallonia or Flanders region.) There is no minimum investment by law, but authorities make it clear that entrepreneurs must engage in professional activity and contribute to the Belgian economy. This is a strict requirement. It takes about six months to get a residence permit. Investors can live in Belgium and have their families join them. After five years of uninterrupted legal stay, entrepreneurs can qualify for permanent residence or Belgian citizenship. Overall, Belgium is an attractive spot to relocate because of its central location within European Union and the country’s business-friendly spirit, immigration experts say.
To become a Belgian citizen, one must live in the country for at least five years and show true attachments to the country such as knowledge of one of the national languages, and participation in economic and social life. Local municipalities manage applications for citizenship. Fees and timelines vary on case-to-case basis and local municipality rules.
Because Belgium doesn’t have a typical residency-by-investment program, there is no set amount entrepreneurs must spend and there are no government fees. Securing residency is possible without significant costs through the process of getting the professional card and proving that the business set up by the applicant is directly benefiting Belgian economy.
How To Apply
The process starts with an application for a professional card, which includes a business plan that is strictly scrutinized by authorities. In general, it takes about six months to secure residency.
Belgian residents and citizens can travel through the Schengen area without a Schengen visa. Belgian residents and citizens are also members of the European Union and can move and live freely around EU countries.
Belgium is known as a key international and economic player because of its geographical location, ports and other transport systems, tax incentives and highly skilled multilingual workforce among other things. The country is friendly to migrants, which accounts for its multicultural and multilingual population (French, Dutch and German are the official languages). Brussels is home to many European institutions and referred to as the capital of Europe.