How to Get Belgian Professional Card
Obtaining the Belgian professional card is a compulsory step for non-EU citizens who plan to run a business in Belgium. With the work permit (for expats as employees), professional card is also good tool to become a Belgian resident.
Applications for professional card must be submitted either to the Belgian diplomatic or consular representation in the country of residence, if the applicant lives abroad; or to the Belgian municipal authorities responsible for the applicant’s place of residence.
The criteria of allowance is based on the interest of your project for Belgium: that interest is assessed in terms of economic utility, i.e.: response to economic need, job creation, investment useful economic impact on businesses located in Belgium, or opening export of innovative activity or specialization. It can also be assessed in terms of social, cultural, artistic or athletic.
In case of refusal, it is possible to reapply after a period of two years from the date of submission of the previous request. This is the reason why it is really important to set up properly the file, which will notably include the following:
• detailed description of the project;
• skills and experience of the applicant;
• financial capacity;
• market research;
• financial analysis;
• contacts with business partners;
• draft contracts;
• company rules or draft statutes, etc.
The diplomatic or consulate which receives the request transmits it within five days of its receipt to the Department of Economical authorizations.
Then, the Department of Economical authorizations checks whether your application has been made under the rules.
If the professional card is denied, you can lodge an appeal before the Minister for the Middle Classes. You must lodge this appeal within thirty days, starting the day following the date of notification of the decision.
The first professional card is typically granted on probation for two years. It can be renewed for as long as you meet your regulatory obligations and the criteria.
Upon receipt of the professional card, if you operate on your own name you must go to the Business one stop shop to obtain your business number and to register at the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises. If necessary, you must register for VAT and join a social insurance fund for self-employed.
If you carry out the responsibility for the daily management of the company as an agent, you must register your business card at the Banque Carrefour des Entreprises through the business one stop shop and register then a social security fund for self-employed. If you are a director or partner, you simply sign up for a social insurance fund.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Emmanuel Ruchat
Managing Partner, Lexial
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.