Recruitment procedures for international (post)doctoral researchers change

Will you continue working as a post-doctoral researcher after your doctoral fellowship? The procedure for recruiting non-EEA researchers on the basis of a host agreement and move based on this document to Belgium will change on 1 March 2023.

New procedure for recruitment

  • From 1 March 2023, researchers will obtain a visa to travel to Belgium only after going through a single permit procedure for researchers. This concerns researchers recruited as WP scientific staff and Postdoctoral fellows with a scholarship. The single permit procedure is already used for new hires of ZAP and AAP staff; and postdoctoral fellows with their own funding. Doctoral scholarship students continue to apply for a visa as students and do not need an approval of single permit.
  • The processing time of the single permit procedure for researchers will be shorter than the standard single permit procedure: specifically, max 60 days instead of 120 days.
  • During the old procedure, a visa application was submitted to the Belgian embassy in the home country based on the host agreement. The host agreement is the document that is still important in the new single permit procedure for researchers. But the visa application must also be accompanied by an authorization for employment and an authorization for residence issued by the Flemish and Belgian authorities. Obtaining these documents is ‘the single permit procedure’.

Extension of stay

  • The single permit procedure for researchers applies both to new recruits; and to all extensions of stay of researchers with non-EEA nationality in Belgium. Also in case of a change of status (e.g. from PhD student with scholarship agreement to scientific staff with contract or AAP appointment), a single permit procedure will have to be finished. PhD students with a scholarship request an extension at beginning of the new academic year as a student and do not need a single permit.
  • When applying for extension of residence in Belgium (new ID card), an authorization for employment and authorization of residence, issued by the Flemish and Belgian authorities, must be added. Obtaining these two specific documents is ‘the single permit procedure’.
  • In case of extension of stay with an end date of the contract or stay between 1 January and 30 March 2023, DPO will contact supervisors and researchers who are in Belgium based on a host agreement; to extend a stay via the current 'guest agreement' procedure. Extension of stay after 1 April 2023 will always be through the new single permit procedure for researchers.
  • There is no difference in rights when following the old or new procedure.

Procedure and follow-up

  • The single permit procedure will thus become the new standard procedure for all international researchers wishing to move to Belgium, except for doctoral students with a scholarship. The documents to prepare the single permit application for new employees and renewals will be requested via 'ODIS'. The teams of the department Personnel and Organization will pro-actively follow up and guide through the procedures.


  • Another novelty is the possibility of short- and long-term mobility for non-EEA researchers within the European Union. For mobility on the basis of a host agreement issued by another EEA member state, the move to Belgium will be faster. There will always be a notification procedure such as single permit, but the non-EEA national can travel directly to Belgium after receiving permission to work and reside in Belgium, without a visa but on the basis of a valid stay in the EEA member state.

More information?

Would you like more information on the various procedures such as single permit for researchers, extension of the stay, visa application and residence rights? Check out our new intranet pages. Information on change of status, the Orientation year for researchers, mobility and family reunification is also available (soon).

Departments and research groups wishing to plan the recruitment of non-EEA researchers are advised to take into account the required processing times of e.g. the single permit procedure.