• Single Permit: a long stay permit of non-EU workers

An administrative simplification as well as a delay

17 January 2019

On 1 January 2019, Belgium introduced the single permit. When a non-EU national is working and residing for longer than 90 days in Belgium, the employer must apply for only one document: the single permit. The concerned employee shall no longer need a work permit and a resident card.

Transposition of EU directive 2009/52

The single permit is the transposition of the EU directive 2009/52. De Belgian legislator chose to combine both existing procedures, the work permit and the resident card. Unfortunately, he did not seize the opportunity to modernise or simplify the current migration landscape. As a consequence, the application procedure for the single permit requires all documents which were needed under the former two procedures. Therefore, the new regulation causes a delay, both for the preparation period (to collect all required documents) as the application period itself (legally fixed at 4 months and 10 days).  


  • Administrative simplification: only one application procedure to obtain both the work permit and residence card
  • With the single period, the employee can legally reside in Belgium during a period of 90 days after his employment period, during which he can - for instance -  search for a new employment.

Also note

  • The place of work determines the competent Region
  • The new forms were published on the websites of the Regions
  • The Regions can determine specific conditions for labour migration. The Flemish Region fixes a lowered income limit for bottleneck jobs (e.g. to attract a Serbian nurse)
  • The single permit application period is maximum 4 months and 10 days
  • Changes to the renewal procedure:
    • apply for the renewal minimum 2 months in advance (before: 4 weeks)
    • in case of secondment, proof of the LIMOSA-declaration.


Applications submitted before 2019

  • All applications submitted in 2018 are treated according to the former regulations
  • Each delivered work permit shall remain valid until its expiry date


New applications as from 2019

  • Each application as from 2019 (new application or renewal) is treated according to the new regulations:
    • employment shorter than 90 days: no change of the procedure
    • employment longer than 90 days: single permit



Do not hesitate to contact our advisors Johannes Pannus ([email protected]) or Sita Vanbinst ([email protected]) for more information or legal assistance.