Belgium Work Permit with Orange Card


Can you get a Belgium work permit, Orange Card?

When you apply for a Cohabitation Visa in Belgium you will be given a temporary Orange Card, (Attestation d’Immatriculation), which allows you to stay in Belgium while the decision about your visa is being made over the next 5-6 months. The rules surrounding whether or not you can get a work permit with your orange card are very confusing.

In general, your orange card might specify on the back that the “exercise of profitable labor/activities” is not allowed. This means that:

  • you can’t engage in a self-employed activity – unless you have a professional card
  • and, that you are not allowed to work as a wage-earner, unless you have a work permit

Even with that being said on your orange card, some foreigners are granted exemption from a work permit and/or professional card under more relaxed employment and professional card regulations.

It’s all very confusing and I have heard both rules!

  • Some people say that once you have registered as a cohabitant with your partner and have gotten your orange card, then you will be able to work from then on unless you do not qualify for cohabitation.
  • Others say non-EU partners are not allowed to get a work permit Orange Card.

How do you find out?

Apparently, each situation is different. Once you have your temporary orange card I advise that you visit the Belgium Employment Policy Department in your city to get a definite answer.

If you are in Brussels the office located on the 1st floor of the North Station. I just walked in and took a number and was able to speak with someone in English within 10 minutes. This is the Employment Department Website.

Another option might be to ask the a company to offer you an internship until your application is processed and you can work legally.

Next Step: Read more information here on getting a work permit with your Cohabitation Visa.

  1. #1 by Jane on November 24, 2014 - 2:25 pm

    Thank you very much for your website, it is very helpful for me! If I may ask, what did they tell you when you went to the North Station office to ask about working with the orange card? Thanks!

    • #2 by Alina on November 25, 2014 - 8:36 am

      Whether or not you are allowed to work is based on your partner’s status. I was not allowed to work because my partner was in Belgium on a temporary scientific research visa.

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