I am a non EU national, who already has a business visa C for 5 years (multiple entry) for Schengen area which allows me to stays 90 days at once. Meanwhile, I have been accepted at a university in Belgium as a student for a course of 1 year.

I want to ask whether I can enter Belgium using my current business visa and change it with Belgium authorities to a student visa?

[Meanwhile, since I have a business visa, I will be working for one of my home country institutes as their representative in Belgium, where my home country will pay me, which I will do while studying as student]

  • 1
    I have changed the title question because those rules depend on the country, even within the Schengen area.
    – Gala
    Aug 15, 2015 at 6:44

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, it is not possible to apply directly for a residence permit or long-stay visa within Belgium if you entered Belgium on a short-stay visa (i.e. a Schengen type C visa). Instead, you must do that from your current place of residence. There are a few exceptions but they do not apply to your current situation.

Furthermore, you current visa almost certainly does not allow you to work from Belgium, even for a foreign employer. In the Schengen area, there is no such thing as a “business visa”, only generic short-stay visas and, while they do cover business visits, they do not allow work without an additional prior authorization.

Furthermore, a type C visa is only for short visits up to 90 days so it's difficult to see how it could be relevant to the rules that apply during your one-year stay one way or the other (that's the reason why you need another visa in the first place!).

Also note that the whole plan might sound sketchy to a consulate: If you intend to do more than incidental work during the holidays and you apply for a work permit, it looks as if you won't really have time to study and therefore do not have a valid reason to apply for a student visa.

  • Dear Sir, Thanks for your answer. To be honest, i have one month more exactly to go before i leave to Belgium so there is less time for me to apply for student visa from here. What if i go with my business visa and apply from there..Would i get black listed? or will i have to come to my home country again in the middle of the course to change the visa type?
    – user32801
    Aug 15, 2015 at 18:16
  • @user32801 You probably won't get a visa/it will be refused or possibly won't even be able to lodge an application. The rules are quite clear.
    – Gala
    Aug 17, 2015 at 16:17

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