Professional cards for self-employed workers who are not Belgian nationals

Summary

Professional cards for foreign nationals entail authorisation for these foreigners to work as a self-employed person in Belgium.

Persons of foreign origin wanting to set up as a self-employed person must receive prior authorisation.

This legislation aims to create a balance between the aspirations of foreign residents wanting self-employed status in the Walloon Region and the Region's economic, social and cultural interests.

In detail

Target audience – details

Persons who meet the following criteria must be in possession of a professional card:

    persons wanting to carry out a professional activity as a self-employed worker in the Walloon Region either as:
        a private individual:
        a representative of a company or association (paid or unpaid representative)
        a managing partner of a company or association (paid or unpaid partner)
    the person is not a Belgian national;
    the person is not a national of one of the Member States of the European Economic Area (European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) or of Switzerland

There are, however, a few exemptions.

Click here for further information on the exemptions.

Benefits

 

 

Professional cards are allocated for a maximum period of five years.

A first card is usually issued on a probationary basis for two years.

It may be renewed at the end of this period provided that self-employed foreign workers satisfy the regulatory, tax and social obligations as well as the criterion of usefulness that justified the granting of the authorisation.

Employed workers must submit their renewal application at least three months before the expiry date of their card, via the chosen business counter.

The validity of the card is linked to the right of residence. If this right is withdrawn, the card can no longer be used and must be returned to the business counter.

 

Procedure

Persons wanting to obtain a professional card must submit their application:

  • to the Belgian diplomatic or consular post in their country of residence if they live abroad.
  • to the recognised business counter of their choice, if they have a valid:

- "registration certificate model A"

- or "certificate of registration in the aliens' register"

There is one exception to this rule: if persons wanting to obtain a professional card cannot submit their application in their country of residence for reasons of safety, they may perform this process:

  • either at a Belgian diplomatic or consular post in a different country,
  • or at a business counter.

An application for this last option must be submitted to the Walloon Minister of Employment, be justified and be accompanied by documentary proof of the situation.

The admissibility of the application:

1. The application must be submitted using one of the two application forms, which is duly completed, dated and signed.

  • If the applicant lives abroad, the completed and signed form must be submitted to the diplomatic or consular post in their country of residence;
  • If the applicant has a valid "registration certificate model A" or a "certification of registration in the aliens' register", the completed and signed form should be submitted to the business counter of their choice.

2. The application must be accompanied by an extract of the police record or equivalent document issued by the country in question.

3. A fee of €140 must be paid on the submission of each application.

  • either at a Belgian diplomatic or consular post in a different country,
  • or at a business counter.

4. If the application is refused, applicants may only submit a new application after a period of two years from the date on which the previous application was submitted. This principle does not apply:

  • if the refusal is the result of a decision on inadmissibility;
  • if the applicant can supply new information;
  • if the application concerns a new activity.

The examination of the application

The application must include documents that allow a decision to be made on the usefulness of the project as well as any information required for examining the dossier. Below is a non-exhaustive list of documents that may be attached to the dossier:

  • a detailed description of the project
  • a CV
  • a copy of diplomas
  • the applicant's financial capabilities
  • a market study
  • a financial plan
  • a financial analysis
  • contacts with commercial partners
  • draft contracts
  • company statutes or draft statutes
  • etc.
Conditions

Three conditions must be met:

  1. the right of residency. If the person does not have this right, they must apply for it with the diplomatic or consular post at the same time as they request their professional card. Decisions on this issue are made by the Immigration Office, which is consulted if the person in question is not authorised to stay in Belgium.
  2. compliance with regulatory obligations
    • relating to access to the profession (basic management knowledge and professional skills)
    • relating to specific authorisations (approvals, licences, etc.) required to carry out this activity. The Directorate of Employment and Work Permits checks whether the person and/or their company have the necessary means to access the planned profession and whether the person in question meets the other obligations that apply to their status. Please contact a business counter for any questions relating to access to a profession.
  3. the importance of the project for the Walloon Region. This importance can be analysed from different aspects:
  • in terms of economic usefulness, i.e. it meets a need relating to the economy, job-creation, useful investments, economic impact on businesses located in Wallonia, openness to exports, innovative activity or specialisation
  • in terms of social, cultural, artistic or sporting importance.

Contacts

Services

Directorate of Employment and Work Permits
081/334392
Updated on
Process n° : 141598
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