The intention of the Government to apply charges for residence applications in order to cover the administrative costs was already present in the Program Act of 19 December 2014. On 16 February 2015, the Government approved a new Royal Decree, which becomes effective on 2 March 2015.
Individuals who apply for Belgian residence will be charged an administrative cost amounting to between EUR 60 and EUR 215, depending on the type of residence status.
Applications for EU citizens will be free of charge. Long-term residents will only pay EUR 60, while residence applications related to non-EU labour migration will cost EUR 215.
The Royal Decree is rather detailed as regards the method of payment, but it is today not yet clear when in the work permit application process the payment will have to be made and how this will be further implemented by the different authorities. We can already inform you that, if the required amount is not paid (or is paid late), this can result in the application being found inadmissible.
Please be assured that the PwC Immigration Team will closely follow up how the Belgian diplomatic authorities, visa application centres and Belgian town halls will practically organise this. In the first following months, more information will become available. It might be that this new obligation causes a delay in the residence application process until all parties are familiarised with the new practice, but what is clear is that the overall immigration cost will substantially increase with this additional administrative expense.