Let’s know about Belgium’s population, language, economy, tourism, climate, and cuisine
Belgium is a country situated in Western Europe with an estimated population of around 11.7 million people. The official languages are Dutch, French, and German, with Dutch being the most widely spoken language in Flanders, French in Wallonia, and German in the East Cantons. English is also widely spoken, especially in tourist areas.
Best time to visit: Belgium can be visited all year round, but the best time to visit is during the summer months of June to August when the weather is warm and sunny. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are also pleasant times to visit as the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds. Winter (December to February) is cold and can be wet, but it is the time when the famous Christmas markets take place.
Population: As of 2021, Belgium has an estimated population of around 11.7 million people.
Language: Belgium has three official languages: Dutch (60%), French (40%), and German (less than 1%). English is also widely spoken, especially in tourist areas.
Economy: Belgium has a highly developed and diversified economy, with a mix of private enterprise and government intervention. Its economy is based on exports, with major industries including chemical production, food processing, and automobile manufacturing. Belgium is also home to the headquarters of the European Union and NATO.
Tourism: Belgium is a popular tourist destination known for its historic cities, beautiful architecture, delicious cuisine, and rich cultural heritage. Some of the popular tourist destinations in Belgium include Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, and the Ardennes region.
Climate: Belgium has a temperate maritime climate, with mild winters and cool summers. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, with the wettest months being July and August.
Cuisine: Belgium is famous for its delicious cuisine, with dishes such as moules-frites (mussels and fries), waffles, chocolate, and beer being some of its most popular exports. Other popular dishes include stoofvlees (beef stew), vol-au-vent (a puff pastry dish filled with chicken and mushrooms), and waterzooi (a creamy stew made with fish or chicken).
Who Needs a Schengen Visa to Enter Belgium?
Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries generally require a Schengen visa to enter Belgium, unless they are visa-exempt or have a residence permit in another Schengen country. Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Belgium for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period:
- European Union (EU) countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
- European Economic Area (EEA) countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway
In addition, citizens of certain other countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan, may also be visa-exempt for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. It is always advisable to check the most up-to-date visa requirements with the Belgium embassy or consulate in your home country before traveling.
What Documents Are Required for an Belgium Schengen Visa Application?
The following documents are typically required for an Belgium Schengen visa application:
- Valid passport: The passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the intended stay in Belgium and have at least two blank pages.
- Completed application form: The application form must be completed and signed by the applicant. The form can be downloaded from the website of the Belgium embassy or consulate in your home country.
- Passport-size photo: One recent passport-size photo must be submitted with the application. The photo must meet the Schengen visa photo requirements.
- Travel health insurance: Proof of travel health insurance must be provided with the application. The insurance must cover medical expenses and repatriation for the entire period of the stay in Austria and the Schengen area. A minimum coverage of €30,000 for medical emergencies is required.
- Proof of sufficient financial means: The applicant must provide proof of sufficient financial means to cover the trip, such as bank statements, credit card statements or a letter from an employer confirming sufficient funds. Belgium requires at least €100 per day for each person.
- Proof of accommodation: The applicant must provide proof of accommodation for the entire period of the stay in Belgium, such as a hotel reservation or a letter of invitation from a host in Belgium.
- Travel itinerary: The applicant must provide a travel itinerary that includes details of the intended travel dates and destinations within the Schengen area.
Additional documents may be required depending on the purpose of the trip, such as:
- A letter of invitation from an Belgium company for business-related trips
- Proof of enrolment in a course for study-related trips
- Proof of employment or financial stability for family visits
It is important to note that the documents required for an Belgium Schengen visa application may vary depending on the applicant’s nationality and the specific circumstances of the trip. It is recommended to check with the Belgium embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date and specific requirements.
Additional requirements for an Belgium Schengen visa application based on the purpose of entry
In addition to the general requirements for an Belgium Schengen visa application, there may be additional requirements based on the purpose of the trip. Some examples include:
- Business trips:
- Invitation letter from the inviting Belgium company
- Company bank statement for the past three months
- Certificate of business registration of the inviting company
- Tourism trips:
- Hotel reservation or accommodation proof for the whole stay in Austria
- Detailed itinerary of the trip, including transportation and activities planned
- Study trips:
- Proof of enrolment in an Belgium educational institution
- No objection letter from the applicant’s educational institution
- Family visits:
- Proof of relationship with the inviting person in Austria (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate)
- Invitation letter from the inviting person in Belgium
- Proof of the inviting person’s financial means to support the applicant during the stay in Belgium
It is important to note that the specific requirements for an Belgium Schengen visa application may vary depending on the applicant’s nationality and the specific circumstances of the trip. It is recommended to check with the Belgium embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date and specific requirements.
Additional Belgium Visa Requirements for Minors
If a minor (under 18 years old) is applying for an Belgium visa, additional requirements may apply, such as:
- Birth certificate: A copy of the minor’s birth certificate must be provided.
- Consent letter: A letter of consent from both parents or legal guardians must be provided, allowing the minor to travel to Belgium. If only one parent has custody, a copy of the custody decree must be provided.
- Proof of accommodation: The minor must provide proof of accommodation for the entire period of their stay in Belgium, such as a hotel reservation or a letter of invitation from a host in Belgium.
- Proof of sufficient financial means: The minor must provide proof of sufficient financial means to cover the trip, such as bank statements or a letter from an employer confirming sufficient funds.
It is recommended to check with the Belgium embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date and specific requirements for minors applying for an Belgium visa.
It is important to note that if the child is traveling alone, with only one parent, or with someone other than their parents or legal guardians, additional documentation may be required. It is recommended to check with the Belgium embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date and specific requirements for minors traveling to Belgium.
How to Apply for an Belgium Short-Stay Visa?
To apply for an Belgium Short-Stay Visa, also known as a Schengen visa, you should follow these steps:
- Determine where to apply: You should apply for the visa at the Belgium embassy or consulate in your country of residence. If there is no Belgium embassy or consulate in your country, you may need to apply at the embassy or consulate of another Schengen country representing Belgium.
- Fill out the application form: You can download the Schengen visa application form from the website of the Belgium embassy or consulate or obtain it in person.
- Gather the required documents: You will need to provide a range of documents, including a valid passport, passport photos, travel itinerary, travel health insurance, and proof of financial means. Additional documents may be required based on the purpose of your trip.
- Schedule an appointment: Contact the Belgium embassy or consulate to schedule an appointment for your visa application. Make sure to schedule the appointment well in advance as the processing time for visa applications can take several weeks.
- Attend the appointment: Attend the appointment with all the required documents. You may be required to provide biometric data, such as fingerprints.
- Pay the visa fee: You will be required to pay a non-refundable fee for your Schengen visa application. The fee may vary depending on the type of visa and your nationality.
- Wait for the visa decision: The processing time for Schengen visa applications can take up to 15 calendar days. In certain cases, the processing time may be extended up to 30 or 60 days.
- Collect your visa: If your visa application is approved, you will be notified by the embassy or consulate. You can then collect your visa and make travel arrangements. If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision or apply again with additional supporting documents.
It is essential to plan and prepare well in advance of your trip to Belgium to ensure a smooth visa application process.
Where to Apply for an Belgium Short-Stay Visa?
If you are planning to visit Belgium for a short stay of up to 90 days, you may need to apply for a Schengen visa. The application process for an Belgium short-stay visa is straightforward, and there are several places where you can submit your application. Here are the different options:
- Belgium Embassy or Consulate: Applicants can apply for an Belgium short-stay visa at the nearest Belgium Embassy or Consulate in their home country.
- External Service Provider: Some Belgium Embassies or Consulates may outsource visa processing to an external service provider. Applicants should check with the relevant Embassy or Consulate for more information.
- Online Application: Some Belgium Embassies or Consulates may also accept online visa applications. Applicants should check with the relevant Embassy or Consulate for more information on the specific process and requirements.
It is recommended that you check the website of the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the website of the Belgium Embassy in your country to find out where you should submit your visa application. Also, make sure to check the visa application processing time in advance and plan your trip accordingly.
What Type of Visa Do I Need to Enter Belgium?
here are the types of visas and their required documents for entry into Belgium:
- Short-stay visa: for stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
- Long-stay visa: for stays longer than 90 days in Belgium.
- Transit visa: for passing through the international transit areas of airports in the Schengen area without entering the Schengen area.
- Airport Transit Schengen Visa: for passing through the international transit areas of airports in the Schengen area without entering the Schengen area and for nationals of certain countries.
- Transit Schengen Visa: for passing through the Schengen area on the way to a non-Schengen country.
- Tourist Schengen Visa: for those traveling to Belgium for tourism purposes.
- Schengen Visitor Visa: for those visiting friends or relatives in Belgium.
- Business Schengen Visa: for those traveling to Belgium for business purposes.
- Student Schengen Visa: for those studying in Belgium for a period longer than 90 days.
- Medical Schengen Visa: for those seeking medical treatment in Belgium.
- Schengen Visa for Cultural, Sports, Film Crew or Religious Purposes: for those traveling to Belgium for cultural, sports, film crew, or religious purposes.
- Schengen Visa for the Wife/Husband of an Belgium Citizen: for the spouses of Belgium citizens who are not citizens of the EU/EEA or Switzerland.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Belgium Visa?
The length of time it takes to receive an Belgium visa can vary depending on various factors, such as the type of visa and the processing time of the embassy or consulate. Here are some general guidelines:
- Tourist visas: Usually takes about 15 calendar days, but can take up to 30 calendar days in some cases
- Business visas: Generally the same processing time as tourist visas, ranging from 15 to 30 calendar days
- Student visas: May take longer, around 30 to 60 calendar days, as additional documentation may be required
- Transit visas: Usually processed within 7 calendar days
- Medical visas: Processing times may vary depending on the urgency of the medical treatment needed; in some cases, the visa can be issued within 2 to 3 working days
- Other types of visas: Processing times may vary depending on the embassy or consulate and the complexity of the case
It’s recommended to apply for the visa well in advance of your intended travel dates to allow for any unforeseen delays in processing.
How Much Does It Cost to Apply for an Belgium Visa?
The cost of an Belgium visa application may vary depending on the type of visa and the applicant’s nationality. Here are some general fee ranges:
|Type of Visa
|Fee in Euros
|Belgium Airport Transit Visa Fees
|Belgium Transit Visa Fees
|Belgium Short-Stay Visa Fees (up to 90 days)
|Belgium Long-Stay Visa Fees (more than 90 days)
|Child between 6-12 years old
|Group rate (for groups of 10 or more)
|35 per person
It’s important to note that these fees may be subject to change and additional fees may apply depending on the specific circumstances of your visa application. It’s recommended to check with the relevant embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information on visa fees.
How Long Can We Stay in Belgium Without a Visa?
Belgium is a member of the Schengen Area, which allows visitors to travel freely between 27 European countries without the need for a visa. This means that if you are a citizen of one of the countries that is part of the Schengen Area, you can travel to Belgium and stay for a certain amount of time without a visa. Here are some general guidelines:
- If you are a citizen of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland, you can stay in Belgium as long as you want without a visa.
- If you are a citizen of a country that is not part of the Schengen Area, you can stay in Belgium for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. This means that you can travel to Belgium for tourism, business, or other purposes, as long as your stay does not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period.
- If you are planning to stay in Belgium for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa or a residence permit. This applies to students, workers, and individuals who plan to live in Belgium for an extended period of time.
It’s important to note that these guidelines may change depending on your specific circumstances and the purpose of your visit. It’s recommended to check with the Belgium embassy or consulate in your home country to ensure that you are following the correct visa requirements for your visit to Belgium.
Is it possible to extend a Schengen visa while in Belgium?
Can My Belgium Schengen Visa Be Revoked?
Yes, an Belgium Schengen visa can be revoked under certain circumstances, such as:
- False Information: If it is discovered that the applicant provided false or misleading information in their visa application or during the visa interview.
- Security Reasons: If the visa holder poses a threat to national security or public safety.
- Overstaying: If the visa holder stays in Belgium or the Schengen Area longer than the allowed period without applying for an extension or a new visa.
- Violation of Visa Conditions: If the visa holder violates any of the conditions of their visa, such as engaging in unauthorized work or study.
- Misuse: If the visa holder misuses the visa for purposes other than the stated purpose of entry.
In such cases, the Belgium authorities may revoke the visa and the visa holder may be asked to leave the country immediately.
What should I do if my Belgium visa application is denied?
If your Belgium visa application is denied, it can be a disappointing experience, but there are some steps that can be taken. First, you can ask for an explanation from the Belgium embassy or consulate about why your visa was denied. This can help you understand the reason for the rejection and potentially provide you with the opportunity to address any issues for a future application.
If you believe that your visa was denied unfairly or due to a misunderstanding, you can file an appeal with the embassy or consulate. This usually involves submitting additional documentation or evidence that supports your application. However, it’s important to note that not all visa decisions can be appealed, and the decision to grant or deny a visa ultimately rests with the Belgium authorities.
If an appeal is not possible or is unsuccessful, you may need to reapply for the visa at a later time or consider alternative travel plans. It’s important to keep in mind that visa rejections are not necessarily a reflection of your character or intentions, and many people experience visa denials for a variety of reasons.
Can I enter Belgium with a valid Schengen visa issued by another country?
Yes, you can enter Belgium with a valid Schengen visa issued by another Schengen member state. Belgium is a part of the Schengen Area, which means that once you have entered the Schengen Area with a valid visa, you can move freely within the other Schengen countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, it’s important to note that the purpose of your visit and the type of visa you hold must allow for this kind of travel.
How soon before my planned trip can I apply for an Belgium Schengen visa?
You can apply for an Belgium Schengen visa up to three months before your planned trip. It is recommended to apply well in advance to allow enough time for processing and to avoid any last-minute issues.
However, you should not apply too far in advance, as visas are generally valid for a limited period of time, typically up to 90 days within a six-month period.
If you apply too early, your visa may expire before your planned trip or you may have to reapply closer to your travel date. Therefore, it is best to apply for your Belgium Schengen visa at a time that allows enough time for processing, but also ensures that your visa remains valid for your entire trip.