Belgium: Eligibility and Guidelines for Students and Recent Graduates

Open the Gateway to Your Dream Internship in Belgium

Dreaming of an internship in Belgium but unsure if you’re eligible? Let Piktalent be your guide! The internship experience in Belgium provides an enriching blend of professional growth and cultural immersion. Belgium’s central location in Europe makes it a melting pot of international influences, offering invaluable experiences for young professionals. By understanding the eligibility requirements, you will be one step closer to kickstarting your career in this unique European nation.

Prepare yourself for an exciting opportunity by exploring the eligibility requirements and guidelines for internships in Belgium. Our comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to embark on a successful internship experience.

Obligatory Internships Tied to Education

internships is those tied to the educational curriculum, often termed 'obligatory internships.' They form an integral part of the academic curriculum across universities and higher education institutions.

Voluntary Internships

targeted at recent graduates who want to further develop their skills and gain professional experience in their related field of study.

Transition Internships for Job-Seekers (Transitie-stage)

Belgium offers a unique form of internship, aimed at job-seekers, particularly those aged between 18 and 30, and is intended to ease the transition from education to employment.

BELSPO or Research Internships

focus on conducting research and contributing to ongoing projects within academic or scientific institutions.

Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC/Enabel) Internships

the Belgian Development Agency, also known as Enabel, is a public agency that manages Belgium's international development projects. Allow students to contribute to development work both in Belgium and in partner countries.

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Internships

organizations often offer internships to individuals interested in making a positive social impact.

Belgium offers a diverse range of internships to cater to individual needs and circumstances. It’s essential to acknowledge that internship availability and characteristics can differ across industries, companies, and educational institutions in Belgium. To explore internship options in a specific field or location, it’s recommended to conduct thorough research and seek guidance from career services or internship coordinators for accurate and up-to-date information.

In Belgium, the minimum wage for internships is determined by the internship duration and its voluntary or mandatory nature. As of September 2021, the prevailing minimum wage in Belgium ranged from €9.50 to €10.50 per hour, applicable to various industries and sectors. Please note that minimum wage rates may change, and it’s advisable to consult official sources or labour authorities for the most current information.

Eligibility Requirements for Internships in Belgium

For citizens of Belgium, the eligibility requirements for internships are relatively straightforward.

Eligibility Requirements for EU Citizens: When it comes to internships in Belgium, EU citizens have the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Residency: EU citizens have the right to live and work in Belgium without needing a work permit. Therefore, they can apply for internships on an equal footing with Belgian citizens. However, it is advisable to register their residence with the local authorities upon arrival.

  2. Language Requirements: While not mandatory in all cases, knowledge of one of the official languages of Belgium (Dutch, French, or German) can significantly enhance an EU citizen’s prospects of securing an internship. Proficiency in English is also beneficial, as it is widely used in many international organizations and companies in Belgium.

EU citizens should also be prepared to produce an E111 form or the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This ensures that they can access healthcare services if necessary during their stay in Belgium.

Non-EU citizens face additional considerations and requirements when pursuing internships in Belgium. The eligibility criteria for non-EU citizens can include:

  1. Work Permit: Interns from non-EU countries will need to have a signed internship agreement with their prospective Belgian employer before they can apply for a work permit. The specific type of work permit depends on the duration and purpose of the internship. It is crucial for non-EU citizens to check the Belgian immigration regulations and consult with their prospective employers to determine the appropriate work permit category. The employer is typically responsible for initiating the work permit application.

  2. Visa Requirements: Once the work permit is approved, the intern can then apply for a visa through the Belgian embassy or consulate in their home country. The visa application requires documentation such as passport-sized photographs, a valid passport, proof of sufficient financial means to support the stay, and proof of accommodation in Belgium. The type of visa required will depend on the duration and purpose of the internship. Usually, it’s a Type D visa, also known as a long-stay visa.
    However, is recommended to contact the Belgian embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country for detailed information on visa requirements. 

  3. Language Skills: Similar to EU citizens, non-EU citizens can greatly enhance their chances of securing an internship in Belgium by demonstrating proficiency in one of the official languages. Language skills are highly valued by employers and can contribute to successful integration into the workplace and local community.

Non-EU interns are also required to register with the local town hall in Belgium within eight days of their arrival. The city officials will then provide a foreigner’s identification card, which serves as a residence permit.

Please be aware that legislation and procedures may vary and are subject to change, so it’s important to consult the latest information from the Belgian embassy, consulate, or appropriate government websites.

Belgian Student visas

Internship regulations for national and foreigner

Belgian Working Visas

Job regulations for foreigners

Guidelines for Internships in Belgium

Discover these valuable guidelines that will assist you in locating and securing an internship opportunity in Belgium

  1. Research:  Conduct thorough research on the internship market in Belgium, including the industries, companies, and educational institutions that offer internships in your field of interest.

  2. Eligibility: Determine the eligibility requirements for internships, which may include student status, work permits, language proficiency, and academic prerequisites.

  3. Application process:  Familiarize yourself with the application process, including deadlines, required documents (such as a CV, cover letter, and academic transcripts), and any additional application materials or interviews.

  4. Networking:  Build a professional network by attending career fairs, and industry events, and connecting with professionals in your desired field.

  5. Support services:  Take advantage of support services provided by educational institutions or career centres, which can offer guidance on internships, application processes, and any legal requirements.

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Belgium Cultural Considerations

When engaging in an internship experience in Belgium, it is crucial to have a grasp of and show reverence for the country’s cultural norms and customs. Consider the following points:


Belgians appreciate a certain level of formality in professional settings. Address colleagues and superiors using their title and last name unless instructed otherwise.

Work-life balance

Belgians prioritize a healthy work-life balance. Respect boundaries regarding personal time and avoid contacting colleagues outside of working hours unless necessary.

Cuisine and dining

Show appreciation for Belgian cuisine and customs when dining out, such as tasting local dishes like moules-frites (mussels and fries) or enjoying a Belgian beer.

Piktalent Services for Belgium

We can provide a range of services to make the internship experience unforgettable.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, as a Belgian citizen, you do not require any special permissions or documents to undertake an internship in Belgium. However, you will need to ensure that your educational institution has an agreement with your prospective internship provider and that you are covered by insurance.

No, as an EU citizen, you don’t require a work permit due to the right to freedom of movement within EU member states. However, it is advised to bring an E111 form or the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to ensure access to healthcare services during your stay.

If you’re a non-EU citizen, you will need a signed internship agreement with the prospective Belgian employer. This will allow the employer to apply for a work permit on your behalf. Once the work permit is approved, you can apply for a long-stay visa (Type D) at the Belgian embassy or consulate in your home country. Also, you must register with the local town hall in Belgium within eight days of your arrival.

Yes, non-EU citizens are required to register with the local town hall within eight days of their arrival in Belgium to get a foreigner’s identification card. This serves as a residence permit.

Yes, all interns – whether Belgian, EU, or non-EU citizens – must have health insurance coverage during their internship in Belgium. It’s typically provided by the educational institution, but it’s always good to double-check before starting the internship.

This generally depends on the specific internship and organization. However, most internships do require that you are enrolled in an educational institution as it provides insurance coverage and other necessary support during your internship. Always check with the internship provider for their specific requirements.

The Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) offers internships primarily to students interested in public policy, scientific research, and project management. These internships provide students with the opportunity to work on national and international research projects.

While the specific eligibility criteria may vary depending on the particular internship program, generally, students or recent graduates with a background in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, public policy, or related fields may apply for a BELSPO internship.

BELSPO internships typically offer students the opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals in a dynamic, international environment. Interns may contribute to policy analysis, project management, scientific research, and more, depending on the specific role and project.

BTC, also known as Enabel, is the Belgian Development Agency. Internships with BTC/Enabel offer students and young professionals practical experience in international development and cooperation, primarily in the agency’s partner countries.

BTC/Enabel internships are typically open to students or recent graduates in fields related to international development, such as international relations, economics, social sciences, environmental studies, and more. Fluency in French or Dutch, in addition to English, is often required due to the nature of the agency’s work.

BTC/Enabel internships usually involve tasks related to project management, research, communication, and administration in the context of international development. The exact tasks depend on the department and project assigned to the intern. This internship is an excellent opportunity to gain hands-on experience in international cooperation and development.

The duration of internships in Belgium can vary based on the agreement between the intern and the company. However, in most cases, internships can last from a few months up to a year. It is essential to confirm the duration with your prospective employer.

The processing times for work permits and visas can vary. However, typically, a work permit can take around 4-6 weeks to process. Once the work permit is granted, the visa application can take a further 1-3 months. Therefore, it’s advisable to begin these processes well in advance of the intended start date of your internship.

While Belgium has three official languages – French, Dutch, and German – it is not always necessary to be fluent in these languages for an internship. Many companies operate in English, especially in Brussels, which is a highly international city. However, having some knowledge of these languages can be advantageous and may broaden your internship opportunities.

You will need health insurance to cover any medical expenses that might arise during your stay in Belgium. Some employers also require liability insurance to cover any damages or losses caused during the internship. It is essential to confirm these details with your employer and educational institution.

Failure to register with the local town hall within eight days of your arrival can lead to penalties and may affect your legal status in Belgium. Therefore, it is crucial to fulfill this requirement promptly upon your arrival.

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