Town hall registration

Obtaining a Belgian residence permit / id-card

All international students with a long stay in Belgium must register at the town hall of the city they stay in. More info on the registration procedure via this info video.

Obtaining a visa

You can find relevant information on how to obtain a visa via the links listed below. The procedures for obtaining a visa can vary depending on your nationality, duration of the stay and reason for the stay.


Are you looking for student housing? Rent a room on a VUB campus or pick one of the 10,000 student residences offered by private owners. You can apply with Brik, or one of the other VUB housing partners to find a suitable student room .

Health insurance

A valid Health insurance is compulsory when studying at a Belgian university. VUB has a partnership with Helan/Partena health insurance broker. You can find an overview of what this includes online. You can meet a representative from Helan/Partena at the International Relations office (Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussels) on Tuesdays and Fridays during our opening hours. Via email you can contact them at 

Banking and taxes

International students with a long stay in Belgium are advised to open a Belgian bank account. Visitors can choose any bank they prefer to open their account. Please note that several documents are necessary to open an account: A Belgian residence permit, a rent contract, a proof of registration in the university, ... Documents may differ depending on the choice of bank, nationality and type of account (online or regular).

International students with a long stay are required to fill in a tax return form each year. Here you can find an instruction video on how to fill in a simple tax return (single student with no other income apart from student jobs). 

Opening a blocked account

When applying for a student visa or residence permit (ID card), students need to prove that they have sufficient financial means to cover their living expenses, studies, healthcare and repatriation costs. There are several ways to prove this, including opening a blocked account.We provide with help and advise on how to open a blocked account.

Renewal of your Belgian residence permit

Extension of residence permit is the discretionary power of decision of the Immigration department. By law, applications for extension of residence permits should be submitted to the town hall after making an appointment preferably one month and at latest 14 days before the residence permit expires

The following documents are required:

  • Passport
  • Current ID card
  • Registration certificate for the next academic year
  • “Standard form” issued by the  Student Administration department
  • Transcript of records
  • Proof of sufficient financial means
  • Proof of a Health Insurance subscription


Study progress to renew your ID card

When extra time is necessary in order to finish a two (MA) or three (BA) year program, students need to submit proof they obtained at least a minimum amount of credits corresponding to the below table (= Immigration law).

Minimum amount of credits obtained




After 2 years



After 3 years



After 4 years


Finish the programme

After 5 years

Finish the programme


Professional Orientation Year

Students who recently graduated are eligible for a stay of 12 months to search for a job in Belgium or to carry out an independent professional activity.

  • You are a non-EEA student in the possession of a residence permit
  • You are a non-EEA student  who obtained a graduate, bachelor or master degree or doctorate at a Belgian institution of higher education in the past academic year.
  • You are a non-EEA student who obtained a diploma in another EU member state  but studied in Belgium as part of a mobility programme (e.g. Erasmus Mundus)

Professional Orientation year

During the orientation year, you must:

  •  Actively look for a position that allows for the application of a combined permit as an employee; or
  • Take the necessary steps to comply with all legal obligations to exercise an independent professional activity, whether as a natural person, within a juridical person (= legal entity such as a corporation, NGO,…) or within any other organisation without legal status.
  • If it appears that you no longer meet the conditions set for your residence, and there is no reasonable chance of being recruited by an employer or of starting up a company, the Immigration Department may terminate the temporary residence permit.
  • During the ‘orientation year', you are given unlimited access to the labour market and you can work legally for the duration of the orientation year.

Professional Orientation Year

The application must be submitted to the municipal administration where you have your main residence, no later than preferable 1 month and at latest 15 days before the expiry of the residence permit.

You must at least submit the following documents with the application:

  • A valid passport:
  • Proof that you have obtained a recognised diploma at a Higher Education Institution
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient financial means

If the application for an orientation year is approved by the Immigration Office, you will receive a temporary residence permit. This residence permit (A card) is valid for a maximum of 12 months and cannot be extended.

Professional Orientation Year

If you obtained your diploma at a foreign institution of higher education, but you were in Belgium via a mobility exchange programme (e.g. Erasmus Mundus programme), you can submit an application to the competent Belgian diplomatic or consular post in the country where you currently reside. The application must be submitted within 3 months after obtaining the diploma.

You must at least submit the following documents:

  • A valid passport:
  • Proof that you have obtained a recognised diploma at a Higher Education Institution
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient financial means

International Relations Office

International Relations Office
Pleinlaan 5
1050 Elsene
More info