The Belgian government launched a new 12-month residence permit on Aug. 16 for recent graduates who are still seeking employment.

Key Points:

  • Non-EU/EEA students who are studying in Belgium may apply if they:
    • Have studied in Belgium.
    • Hold a valid residence card with a status of “student.”
    • Have obtained a bachelor, master or doctorate degree at a Belgian institution of higher education in the past academic year.
  • Non-EU/EEA students who stayed in Belgium may apply if they:
    • Stayed in Belgium on a Student Mobility Program.
    • Obtained a Belgian or foreign degree in the past academic year.
  • Qualifying individuals must submit their application:
    • At the latest 15 days before the expiration of their student residence permit if they obtained their degree in Belgium. The application must be submitted at the local town hall in Belgium.
    • Within three months after graduation if the student obtained the degree in another EU member state but completed part of their studies in Belgium within the framework of a Student Mobility Program. The application must be submitted at the Belgian diplomatic post in the country of residence.

Additional Information: EU/EEA students, including Swiss students and U.K. students with M-cards, do not need to apply for a search year permit; they have unlimited access to the Belgian labor market. Individuals can submit their search permit applications here. More information regarding the permit can be found on this website.

BAL Analysis: The Belgian government created the permit to give foreign nationals additional time to find employment in the country as part of the EU Students and Researchers Directive.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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