Single permit procedure for long stay

Nederlandstalige versie

If a NON-EEA employee or researcher wants to work in our country for more than 90 days, a combined permit or Single Permit is requested. This procedure was introduced in Belgium in stages and replaces the previous procedure with work permits, host agreements and visa applications. The purpose of the Single Permit is that only one approval is given by the authorities regarding the right of employment and residence in Belgium.


Certain new employees do not need a Single Permit:

  • Residents of member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
  • Researchers of non-EEA nationality coming for a period of less than 90 days. They must have a work permit and visa or visa exemption based on nationality.
  • Persons residing in Belgium on the basis of family reunification with an economic migrant or already possessing the right of long stay in Belgium.
  • Single permit does not apply to students and PhD students/researchers with a scholarship agreement (PhD fellows). They follow the visa procedure for students during long stays in Belgium, after registration as a student has been started. Students can work a maximum of 20 hours per week based on their status.

However, if the PhD researcher receives a contract as scientific assistant or an appointment as assistant, a single permit applies.

For all other employees with a NON-EEA nationality who wish to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days; a single permit is required.

Conditions per category

The condition for granting a single permit depends on the category of the application:

  • Highly skilled: holds at least a bachelor's degree and receives a certain annual salary
  • Postdoctoral researcher: holds a doctoral degree, conducts scientific research and receives the GMMI (average minimum monthly income).
  • Researcher with hosting agreement: is invited with a hosting agreement by a research institution and receives the GMMI
  • European Blue Card: holds at least a bachelor's degree and receives an additional high annual salary

The duration of the single permit is linked to the duration of the contract or fellowship agreement ; or a maximum of 3 years. If the contract runs longer, an extension of single permit will have to be applied for.

Preparation of the application

After going through the internal administration, the NON-EEA national will be contacted via ODIS to provide the personal documents to prepare the application. An overview of the required documents can be found here.

Only after the personal documents have been uploaded in ODIS can the Single permit procedure be started by the HR manager.

A single permit procedure for a new hire can be started a maximum of 3 months before the start date and at least 1 month before the start date. An extension can be requested up to 6 months and at the latest 2 months before the single permit renewal.

Processing times

The Belgian and Flemish authorities can process applications within a maximum processing period. The processing time depends on the type of application submitted.

  • High-skilled: maximum 120 days
  • Post-doctoral researcher: maximum 120 days
  • Researcher with hosting agreement: maximum 60 days
  • European Blue Card: maximum 90 days

If additional information is required because documents have not been provided correctly or are missing; there are 15 days to provide this information.

The effective start date of the contract, grant or employment depends on the granting of the single permit, the delivery of the visa and the arrival date in Belgium. Starting employees cannot start employment from abroad.

The procedure with the Belgian authorities

After submission of the application by DPO's HR officers, the government will conduct an investigation on the single permit delivery request.

The procedure consists of 3 'steps':

  • Document 1: A proof that the application is complete (i.e. all required documents are present)
  • Document 2: An authorization for employment
  • Document 3: An authorization to live in Belgium (also called annex 46)

The Department of Personnel and Organization will deliver each permission to the new employee.

Only after the three documents have been delivered can the long-stay visa be applied for at the Belgian embassy. Read more about the visa procedure here.

The employment can start

  • As soon as the person concerned is present in Belgium with a valid long-stay visa on the basis of single permit
  • Or in case of valid residence in Belgium: immediately after granting the single permit (annex 46)

After arrival, a residence permit must be applied for, and registration with the Belgian health insurance for compulsory health insurance must be started.

Additional information

  • Read here the procedure when extending employment.
  • Procedure in case of secondment to Belgium
  • An overview of the required documents can be found here
  • Additional points of attention for hiring departments and faculties with regard to the single permit procedure