The investor residency programme is particularly well suited to non-EU investors seeking to establish a business footprint in Western Europe. Being a member of the EU, Belgian residency allows the holder to travel, live and study visa free across the European Union.
While each application is appraised on individual merits by the Belgian authorities, a business investment of between €350 and €500,000 is considered typical. The requisite capital investment must be made in a new Belgian business enterprise or an existing business, and in both cases there is a requirement to employ Belgian labour.
Applicants must be able to prove a clean police record and be of good international standing. In addition to the need to supply extensive character references and proof of legitimately obtained funding for the investment, the applicant will be expected to integrate socially and culturally, and to gain a working knowledge of French – especially if the applicant’s objective is to gain Belgian citizenship.
The applicant can only become eligible to apply for Belgian citizenship after having maintained their residency status (and meeting minimum in-country presence requirements) for a period of 5 years. Family reunification is relatively straightforward, and enables the spouse and dependent children under the age of 18 years to qualify for EU residency status as well.
The investor residency permit is annually renewable for the first 3 years. The application process can take anywhere from 3 to 8 months before residency status is attained, subject to all mandatory requirements having been met.