The Act of 21 August 2022 (Moniteur belge, November 9, 2023) introduces new rules for researchers, trainees and volunteers under European Voluntary Service who come to Belgium as third-country nationals.

This Act transposes the Directive 2016/801/EU on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing

This Acts contains provisions applicable to third-country nationals who are:

  • bound by a hosting agreement to a research institution that has been approved by the Belgian authorities, for which they come to carry out a research activity in Belgium as a researcher. During the research activity, the researcher has the possibility to exercise short- or long-term mobility to other EU member states. After the completion of the research, the researcher can continue to reside in Belgium for a period (of maximum 12 months) to seek employment or set up a business;
  • coming for a traineeship with a Belgian employer (traineeships that are part of studies in Belgium do not fall under this procedure)*;
  • coming to volunteer under European Voluntary Service.

From 1st of January 2023, applications relating to the following categories can be submitted:

  • Trainees
  • The stay of up to 12 months after completion of the research
  • Volunteers under European Voluntary Service

From 1st of March 2023, applications relating to the following categories can be submitted:

  • Researchers
  • Researchers in short-term mobility
  • Researchers in long-term mobility

* This category does not cover third-country nationals taking up a traineeship as part of studies in Belgium. These third country nationals remain subject to the existing regulations on students.