Table of Contents
1. UK Visa from Belgium 2023
Does Belgian Citizen Need Visa for UK?
Belgian citizens do not need a visa for short visits to the UK for tourism, business meetings, and academic conferences, among other activities. They can stay in the UK for up to six months without a visa. However, for long-term stays involving work, study, or settlement, a specific UK visa corresponding to the purpose of the stay is required.
Trade and Business Travel
Business travel has seen notable changes. While short business meetings might not necessitate a visa, activities like contracting, selling goods directly to the public, or providing services might require specific business visas. Belgian business travelers are advised to check the exact nature of their trip against UK visa specifications.
Long-Term Stays and Residency
Brexit has heralded more rigorous checks and criteria for Belgians considering long-term stays in the UK. Whether it’s for work, study, or family reasons, specific visas and documentation are now mandated. Belgian citizens should be particularly cautious about ensuring they meet the eligibility criteria and have the required documents before planning extended stays.
Do I Need a Visa for the UK from Belgium?
Whether you need a visa to enter the UK from Belgium depends on your nationality and the purpose and duration of your visit.
UK Visa for EU Residents from Belgium
EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens no longer have automatic rights to live or work in the UK since Brexit ended on December 31, 2020. Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by June 30, 2021, if you were residing in the UK before 2021. Post-January 1, 2021, a visa is required for work, study, and family settlement. For tourist visits up to 6 months, no visa is needed but a valid passport is required.
If you are an Irish citizen, you do not need a visa to enter the UK, even post-Brexit, due to the CTA agreement between the UK and Ireland.
UK Visa for Belgium Residents (Non-EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens)
If you’re a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen residing in Belgium, your requirement for a UK visa will depend on your nationality. For instance, an Indian passport holder living in Belgium would need to apply for a UK visa for most purposes.
The type of visa (tourist, work, student, etc.) and the process will be determined by your intended activity and duration of stay in the UK.
Cost of Moving from UK to Belgium and Vice Versa
Moving between the UK and the Belgium involves both the physical relocation of belongings and a change in immigration status. For UK citizens moving to the Belgium post-Brexit, a residence permit for work or study is typically required. The application process can take several weeks and may cost around €174 for adults. Similarly, Belgian citizens moving to the UK for more than 6 months will need a visa, which can range from £348 to £1,523 depending on the type.
The physical move can vary significantly in cost, depending on the volume of belongings and the moving service selected. A full-service move can cost upwards of £3,000. Self-packing and using a freight service can reduce costs but will require more time and effort. On average, the physical relocation can be completed within 1-2 weeks.
In summary, moving between the UK and the Belgium involves logistical planning, time, and varying financial costs. Expect to spend several weeks on visa applications and up to two weeks for the physical move. The overall cost can range from a few hundred to several thousand euros or pounds, depending on your choices and circumstances.
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2. UK Visit Visa from Belgium 2023
Tourist Visa to UK from Belgium
Belgian citizens are classified as non-visa nationals, meaning they don’t require a visa for UK visits lasting up to 6 months.
As per Paragraph V 1.3 of Appendix V Immigration Rules for visitors, there are situations where a visiting visa is necessary:
- Intentions to marry or form a civil partnership in the UK, or give notice of the same.
- Plans to visit the UK for longer than 6 months.
Standard Visitor Visa
The standard visitor visa is for tourism, family visits, business meetings, short-term studies, and other allowed activities. Belgians and EU residents in Belgium typically don’t need a standard visa to visit the UK. However, non-EU residents like Indian or Pakistani passport holders must apply for a standard visa to visit the UK.
Essential Criteria: UK Visit Visa from Belgium
To secure a UK Visit Visa from Belgium, applicants must satisfy multiple criteria. The foremost requirement is stating the clear purpose of the visit, whether it’s tourism, business, or visiting family. Applicants also need to provide proof of financial means to support their stay in the UK, along with evidence of accommodation arrangements. Furthermore, proof of onward or return travel is required to ensure the applicant intends to leave the UK after the visit. Meeting these essential criteria is critical for obtaining a UK Visit Visa from Belgium.
In 2022, out of 122 Belgian UK visitor visa applications, 68 were approved and 20 were denied, leading to a 75.56% approval rate and a 22.22% refusal rate.
UK Visa Fees from Belgium for Standard Visitors
As of 2023, UK visa fees from Belgium are €118 for a 6-month visa, €442 for a 2-year visa, €788 for a 5-year visa, and €984 for a 10-year visa. All these visas have a maximum stay limit of 180 days per visit.
The standard visitor visa processing time is usually 3-weeks. Applicants can fast track the decision time within one week, by purchasing the priority service (service charges: €294).
Tourist Visa to UK from Belgium
To apply for a UK tourist visa from Belgium, you’ll need to fill the online application form, submit various documents like proof of intent to return, financial stability, and travel plans. The process involves an online application, fee payment (€118), and biometric data submission at a visa application center.
Required Documentation for Tourist Visa to UK from Belgium
- To prove your intent to return to Belgium, acceptable documents may include a letter from your Belgian employer or educational institution confirming your commitments in Belgium after your UK trip.
- Financial stability can typically be demonstrated through bank statements, showing you have sufficient funds to support your stay in the UK.
- For travel plans, a detailed itinerary and confirmed bookings for accommodation and transportation can serve as sufficient evidence.
London Visa from Belgium
For trips specifically to London, the standard visitor visa suffices. The application involves an online form, document submission, and biometric data collection at a designated center.
Snapshot: Other UK Visitor Visas from Belgium:
- Marriage Visitor Visa: For those marrying or forming civil partnerships. Stay: Up to 180 days. UK Visa from Belgium Cost 2023: €118.
- Private Medical Treatment Visitor Visa: For private medical treatments lasting between 6-11 months. UK Visa Cost Belgium 2023: €235. Companions must apply separately.
- Visiting Academics: For research or exchanges. Stay: Up to 12 months. UK Visa Fees from Belgium 2023: €235.
- Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE): For professionals on short-term specific paid tasks. Duration: Up to a month. UK Visa Fees from Belgium 2023: €118.
- Parent of a Child Student Visa: For parents of kids at fee-paying day schools. Stay: Up to 12 months. UK Visa from Belgium Cost 2023: €624.
3. Study Visas in the UK 2023
Student Visa UK from Belgium
The UK Student Visa permits Belgian citizens to pursue a range of educational opportunities in the UK, from higher education to Student Union roles.
Key Requirements: Student Visa UK from Belgium
For a successful UK Student Visa application, Belgians must satisfy specific criteria. These include a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a UK institution and proof of English language proficiency, commonly through an IELTS exam. Financial solvency for tuition and living costs is also mandatory.
Different visa types like Child Student Visa and Short-term (English Language) Visa have distinct requirements. Adherence to the rules for each visa type is crucial.
In the year concluding in September 2022, from 456 Belgian applications, 442 were granted, reflecting a 97.57% success rate.
UK Student Visa Fees from Belgium
The standard UK Student Visa fee is €427, with a processing time of around 3 weeks. Expedited service is available for an additional €294.
All students must also pay the Immigration Health Charge (IHS) at £624 annually.
Short-term English Language Visa
The short-term study visa is designed for Belgians studying English in the UK for 6-11 months, costing €235. A 6-month course costs €118.
Work Rights for Students from Belgium
- Students on degree-level courses can work up to 20 hours per week during term and full-time during breaks.
- For sub-degree level courses, the limit is 10 hours per week.
- Dependents of degree-level students can work; however, those of sub-degree students cannot.
Post-Study Work Opportunities
Belgian graduates can avail a 2-year post-study work visa. PhD holders can get a 3-year visa.
4. Family Visas for the UK 2023
UK Visa for Belgian Citizens under Appendix FM
The UK Family Visa under Appendix FM allows Belgian citizens to join family members who are either settled in the UK or British citizens. Categories range from spouse visas to adult dependent relatives and parent of a British child visas.
Key Criteria: UK Family Visa for Belgians
Applicants must satisfy essential requirements, such as a genuine relationship with a UK resident, financial stability, and English language proficiency. An Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is also mandatory for all applicants.
Family Visa Statistics
In the year up to September 2022, 39 Belgians applied for the UK family settlement visa. From these, 18 were approved and 2 were declined, yielding success and refusal rates of 90.00% and 10.00% respectively.
Spouse or Partner Visa Specifications
- Eligibility: Applicants must meet requirements as outlined in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, including a genuine relationship, financial stability, secure housing, and English language skills.
- Validity & Extensions: Initially spouse visa is granted for 33 months, extendable after 30 months. Eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years.
- Cost: Standard fees are €1,808, with an optional expedited service costing an additional €674.
Other Family Visas:
- Fiancé(e) Visa: For Belgians planning to marry or engage in a civil partnership in the UK. The visa lasts 6 months. After marrying or forming the partnership, they can switch to a spouse or civil partner visa. UK Visa from Belgium Cost: €1,808.
- Parent of a British Child: For Belgians with sole guardianship of a British child. UK Visa Fees from Belgium: €1,808.
- Adult Dependent Relative: For Belgians needing extended care from a UK relative. UK Visa Fees from Belgium: €3,820.
- Returning Residents: Belgians who were previously settled in the UK and wish to return. UK Visa Cost from Belgium: €624.
5. Working in UK as EU Citizen 2023
Can a Belgian Citizen Work in the UK?
After Brexit, Belgian citizens need work permit for working and doing business in the UK. Belgians often choose the Skilled Worker visa when seeking employment in the UK. Other options include visas such as the Innovator, Startup, Global Business Mobility, and Health and Care Worker.
Essential Criteria: UK Work Visa from Belgium
To secure a UK work visa from Belgium, Belgians and residents need to meet varying requirements based on the type of work visa they are applying for.
For most employment-based visas like the Skilled Worker visa, obtaining a job offer from a UK employer registered with the Home Office is crucial. The employer then provides a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Additional standard prerequisites include passing an English language test and providing evidence of adequate financial resources. However, for business-oriented visas such as the Innovator Founder Visa, a job offer is not required; instead, applicants must secure an endorsement from an approved endorsing body and present a viable business plan. Regardless of the visa type, demonstrating a genuine intention to work or conduct business in the UK is essential.
In the year up to September 2022, 811 Belgians applied for a UK work visa. Of the 820 applications processed, 794 were granted, and 14 were rejected, yielding success and refusal rates of 96.83% and 1.71% respectively.
Skilled Worker & Health Care Visas:
- Skilled Worker Visa: For Belgians sponsored for specific skilled roles by a licensed Home Office sponsor. It offers a route to permanent UK settlement. UK Visa Fees Belgium 2023: €735 (up to 3 years), €1,452 (longer than 3 years).
- Skilled Worker (Shortage Occupation) Visa: Fees: €563 (up to 3 years), €1,108 (longer than 3 years).
- Health And Care Work Visa: For qualified doctors, nurses, or allied health professionals from Belgium sponsored by a licensed Home Office sponsor. It leads to permanent UK settlement. UK Visa Fees Belgium 2023: €290 (up to 3 years), €563 (longer than 3 years).
Global Business Mobility Visa:
To qualify for any of Global Business Mobility visas, Belgium passport holders must be sponsored by a UK employer for a specific role and score between 40 to 60 points based on the visa sub-category they are applying for. Note that this visa does not lead to UK settlement.
- Senior or Specialist Worker: For high-level managers or specialists transferring to a UK branch of their overseas company. Replaces the Intra-company Transfer route. UK Visa Fees in Belgium 2023: €735 (up to 3 years); €1,452 (over 3 years).
- Graduate Trainee: For those in graduate programmes leading to senior or specialist roles requiring UK placements. Replaces the Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route. UK Visa Fee Belgium 2023: €304.
- UK Expansion Worker: For specialists or seniors working on expanding a business into the UK. Replaces the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business route (exceptions apply). UK Visa Fee Belgium 2023: €304.
- Service Supplier: For those providing services in line with UK trade commitments. Replaces certain roles under T5 Temporary Worker – International Agreement. UK Visa Fees Belgium 2023: €304.
- Secondment Worker: For Belgians seconded to the UK for high-value contracts or investments. This is a new route. UK Visa Fees Belgium 2023: €304.
Quick Guide to Other Work and Business Visas:
Below is a brief overview of various UK visa categories along with their associated fees for Belgians looking to work or do business in the UK.
- Start-Up Visa: For Belgians starting an innovative business in the UK. Fee: €444.
- Innovator Visa: For Belgians with innovative, viable, and scalable businesses. Fee: €1,218. Requirements include an endorsement, £50,000 investment, and B2 IELTS level.
- Investor Visa: For high-value Belgians investing in the UK. Fee: €1,925.
- Innovator Founder Visa (Introduced April 2023): Replaces older Innovator and Startup visas. Streamlined for international entrepreneurs with endorsement-based approval. Leads to potential permanent UK residency for family members. Endorsement Fees: €1,178, Application Fees: €1,218
- High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa: For Belgian graduates from top-50 global universities seeking employment in the UK. Fee: €840.
- Scale-Up Visa: For Belgians with a job offer from an authorised UK scale-up company. Fee: €840. Leads to potential UK settlement after 5 years.
- Global Talent Visa: For Belgians who are leaders or potential leaders in academia, research, arts, or digital technology. UK Visa Fees in Belgium vary: €536 (Approval Letter for initial application), €196 (Main Applicant with Approval Letter), €732 (Main Applicant without Approval Letter and for Dependants).
- T2 Minister of Religion Visa: For Belgians intending to undertake preaching and pastoral work. UK Visa Fees Belgium 2023: €735.
- International Sportsperson Visa: For elite Belgian sportspersons or coaches contributing to UK sports. UK Visa Fees Belgium 2023: €304 (up to 12 months COS) or €735 (more than 12 months COS).
- T5 (Temporary Worker) Visa: For Belgians in various sectors, such as seasonal, religious, or creative workers. UK Visa Fees Belgium 2023: €304.
6. How to Apply for UK Visa from Belgium?
UK Visa Application from Belgium
A comprehensive guide tailored for Belgians and residents in Belgium detailing the steps for applying for a UK visa. This guide will walk you through each step of the process, from determining the visa type to preparing for your UK arrival. Note: The estimated cost provided is for a UK visitor visa. Residents in Belgium opting for priority service may complete the process within 15 working days instead of 30.
Total Time: 30 days
1. Determine the Visa Type
Identify the specific category of visa that aligns with your purpose for traveling from Belgium to the UK.
2. Create an Account
Navigate to the official UK government website dedicated to visas and immigration. Register an account on the UK Visas and Immigration platform.
3. Complete the Application Form
Fill in the appropriate online application form, ensuring all information corresponds with your supporting documents.
4. Pay the Visa Fee
Upon form completion, the system will guide you to the online payment gateway for the application fee.
5. Gather Your Supporting Documents
Based on the visa type, gather essential documents like your Belgium passport or resident permit, proof of finances, and UK accommodation details.
6. Book an Appointment at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Belgium
If you’re not using the Immigration App for identity verification, it’s essential to schedule an appointment at a UK Visa Application Centre (UKVAC) in Belgium.
7. Attend Your Appointment
Go to the VAC with all your supporting documents and complete the biometric procedures as outlined in your appointment details.
8. Wait for a Decision
After submission, your application will be processed. You’ll be notified when the decision is finalized.
9. Collection or Delivery of Passport
Collect your passport with the visa attached from the VAC, or opt for courier delivery.
10. Prepare for UK Arrival
With your visa in hand, prepare for your travel to the UK, ensuring you’re aware of the visa conditions.
Estimated Cost: 118 EURO
- Application form
- Valid Belgium Passport or Resident Permit
- Recent passport-sized photos
- Invitation letter (if applicable)
- Payment for visa fee in EURO
- Proof of accommodation in the UK
- Internet access
- Belgium Passport or Resident Permit
- Financial documents
Materials: Photocopies of the original documents, Printed application confirmation, Postal envelope (if mailing documents)
7. Documents Required for UK Visa
UK Visa Supporting Documents Checklist from Belgium
- Valid Passport/Travel Document: Ensure validity throughout your UK stay, with an unmarked page for the visa sticker.
- Application Form: Complete and authenticate via the UK Visas and Immigration portal.
- Proof of Accommodation: Your UK stay details.
- Financial Proof: Demonstrating monetary capability.
- Travel Itinerary: Detailed travel plan.
- Proof of Ties to Belgium: Demonstrating intention to return.
- English Language Proficiency: When mandated, primarily through an accredited English test.
Note: The above list provides the essential primary documentation generally needed for all UK visa types. However, you should also refer to the specific guidelines for your chosen visa category, as additional documents may be required based on individual circumstances.
Documentation Based on Visa Type:
- Work Visas: Employment offer, Certificate of Sponsorship, and relevant credentials.
- Study Visas: Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
- Family Visas: Relationship proofs like marriage or birth certificates.
- Tourist Visas: Further details about the trip, if applicable.
For UK-based Sponsors:
If you have a UK sponsor, providing their supportive documents can significantly enhance your visa application. These documents can be especially beneficial if you are applying for visas that typically require sponsorship, such as family or employment-based visas.
Required documents may include:
- Letter of Invitation.
- Proof of the Sponsor’s Immigration Status.
- Financial Documents.
- Accommodation Proof.
- Relationship Evidence.
Please remember: While sponsor documents can support your application, meeting the primary visa criteria remains essential.
8. Processing Time
UK Visa from Belgium Processing Time after Biometrics 2023
UK Visa Processing Time for Non-Settlement Visas
The typical UK visa processing time for non-settlement visas (including student, visitor, tourist, and work visas) from Belgium is between 10-15 working days, or roughly 2 to 3 weeks.
Priority Processing Time
Priority visa applications are usually processed within 5-7 working days. The additional cost for this service is €294.
Extended Processing Times
Processing times can extend up to 12 weeks in certain cases due to document verification, interviews, or administrative delays. If an application remains unresolved after 60 working days, contacting UKVI is advisable.
UK Settlement Visa Processing Time from Belgium
Processing times for settlement visas for spouses, partners, and families generally take up to 12 weeks.
Priority Settlement Visa
For Belgian passport holders applying for a spouse priority settlement visa, the processing time is 6 weeks. The additional cost for this service is €674.
The super-priority service fee is €1,124 and ensures that UK visa applications are processed by the next working day.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can better plan your application and prepare for any delays or additional costs.
9. UK Visa for Indian in Belgium
UK Visa from Belgium for Indian Passport Holder
Indian passport holders residing in Belgium fall under the non-EU resident category. Consequently, they are required to obtain a UK visa for purposes including visiting, working, studying, and family settlement.
UK Visa from Belgium for Pakistani Passport Holder
Similar to Indian nationals, Pakistani passport holders in Belgium are also non-EU residents. As such, they must secure a UK visa for visit, work, study, and family settlement purposes.
UK Visit Visa from Belgium for Pakistani and Indian
Pakistani and Indian passport holders residing in Belgium are classified as non-EU residents and are required to obtain a UK visit visa for short holidays or visits. The usual processing time for non-settlement visas, including visit visas, is 10-15 working days. Faster processing is available through priority services. Applicants generally use TLS application centres in Belgian cities for biometric submissions.
How to Apply for UK Visa from Belgium for Indian?
The general steps are similar, but Indian passport holders may need to provide additional documentation, such as a Belgian Residence Permit. Typically, Indian passport holders use the TLS application centre in Berlin, Düsseldorf, or Munich for biometric submissions.
Visa Regulations Post-Brexit
It’s important to note that, following Brexit, Belgian citizens can visit the UK without a visa for up to six months. However, visa nationals like Indians, Pakistanis, South Africans, and others residing, working, or studying in Belgium must apply for a tourist visa if they plan to visit the UK for short holidays.
10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
UK Visa Fees Belgium 2023: Requirements for Belgians and Non-EU Residents
How long can Belgians stay in the UK?
Belgians can stay up to 180 days on a visitor visa. For other visa types like spouse, student, and work visas, the duration is defined by the visa validity. Belgians can extend their stay by meeting Leave to Remain (LTR) requirements. Certain visa routes also allow for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and eventual British citizenship.
How Many Belgians Live in the UK?
As of 2020, around 31,000 Belgian-born residents lived in the UK, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS). This figure may have changed and doesn’t include Belgian descendants or naturalized citizens.
Do UK Citizens need a visa for Belgium?
As of February 2023, short stays up to 90 days don’t require a visa. However, an ETIAS authorization is necessary.
What Belgians can do if UK Visit Visa is Refused?
Belgians can reapply or seek Judicial Review. No appeal rights exist for visitor visa refusals. Appeals are possible on human rights grounds.