Contract in Belgium

Contracting in Belgium - FAQ

What is the monthly cost of using an Umbrella Company in Belgium? 

€350 to €400

Yes you can either be sponsored on a Professional Card (for Self-Employed) or a D Permit (full employment).

How long does it take to get a work permit in Belgium?

4 to 6 weeks

What is the estimated net retention in Belgium for a contractor earning USD 500 per day?

*update pending

What is the estimated net retention in Belgium for a contractor earning USD 1000 per day?

Depends on your expenses but you could expect between 60-65% if you utilize the services of an Umbrella Company.

*doesn’t include fee for work permit or other immigration costs

More questions? See the rest of the FAQ for more information on the Belgium work permit process

Getting Started

Taking a contract in Belgium means tackling numerous administrative headaches. Before you even begin working as an independent contractor, there are complicated payroll, tax, and immigration issues to work out.

All this complex admin comes on top of any personal matters you need to sort, as well. Even worse, it can be a huge nuisance when you’re already in Belgium, trying to adjust to a huge relocation – and a new contract!

Streamlining even a few of these obstacles can dramatically improve your experience.

Luckily, there are ways to simplify more than just a few…

Freelance Belgium Requirements


One of your first hurdles will be securing the proper work permit. To get one, you usually need an employer to sponsor you. This means they take full responsibility for you while you’re working in the country.

That’s fine for full-time employees, but what about independent contractors?

Many clients won’t offer sponsorship for a temporary worker and, even if they do, you’ll need to apply for a new permit for each new contract. This creates a mountain of paperwork each time you want to work with a new client.


Additionally, you need to figure out what you owe (if anything) in taxes for your work in Belgium.

Of course, there’s also your country of tax residency; you’re likely to owe something on that front, too.

You can take advantage of certain tax structures, but doing so requires a strong familiarity with expat tax law in Belgium.

Benefits of working through an Umbrella Company in Belgium

You can outsource a lot of these admin problems to specialists at an Umbrella Company (or contractor management company).

An Umbrella Company basically becomes your full-time “employer,” even though you stay in control of your workload, clients, and schedule. The Umbrella Company simply collects and processes your payments, filtering out social security and any necessary fees.

They can also sponsor your work permit, meaning you get to take on new clients without the aggravation of applying for a new permit each time.

Even better, most specialise in tax law for contractors in Belgium and can ensure you’re keeping the largest amount of your earnings as possible. They can even assist you with reducing your tax liability back home.

In short, you get all the benefits of a working for an employer, without sacrificing your autonomy as a contractor.

How to get started with the right Umbrella Company

There’s a lot of Umbrella Companies out there; finding the right one for you can be daunting.

We’ve done the research on Umbrella Companies in Belgium, and know how to match contractors with the perfect company. If you’ve already secured a contract, get in touch with us and let us know your situation. We can get you started with the best Umbrella Company for you, or simply offer feedback on contracting in Belgium.

Oh, and we don’t charge anything. Drop us a line and get free, honest, simple advice.

Send your details for more information

Additional FAQ - work permits & payroll

Yes you can either be sponsored on a Professional Card (for Self-Employed) or a D Permit (full employment).

What is the cost of a Work Permit in Belgium? € 1,500

What documentation is required for a work permit in Belgium?

The following are required: passport, degree certificate, CV, police clearance, certificate from the candidates home country and residence card from the candidates home country plus a copy of the contract.

What is the work permit process in Belgium?

Copies of: passport, degree certificate, CV, police clearance certificate from the candidates home country and residence card from the candidates home country are required plus a copy of the contract. The company sponsoring the visa then makes the application is lodged in Belgium once approved the candidate needs to be in their home country to have the visa ratified in the Belgian Consulate.

Can you transfer from a business visa to a work permit in Belgium?

No. You can enter Belgium on a Schengen Visa but must leave to have the work permit approved.

Can we organise a business visa for Belgium?


How long does it take to process a business visa in Belgium?

10 days.

How much does a business visa cost in Belgium?

€ 200

Can nationals of certain countries enter Belgium without a business visa (ex. on an entry visa or visa waiver)?


Yes but not to work.


€ 3,500

How does payroll work in Belgium?


Your employer pays the candidate on a monthly basis, social security and income tax (which ranges from 25-55%) is taken at source and paid to the Belgium tax authorities. Belgium has very high rates of payroll tax or employer social security contributions totaling 24.77% of gross salary. This is made up of the child benefit 7%, unemployment benefit 1.46%, medical care in the case of sickness and incapacity 3.8%, sickness and incapacity benefits 2.35%, occupational illnesses 1%, industrial accidents 0.3% and pension (superannuation) 8.86%. Candidates are able to offset part of their taxable income with relevant business expenses. Note that employees also have to make 13.07% contribution to social security as well. This comprises unemployment benefit 0.87%, medical care in the case of sickness and incapacity 3.55%, sickness and incapacity benefits 1.15%, pension (superannuation) 7.5%. The World Bank estimates it costs employers 40 man days per year to ensure compliance with payroll and labour taxes.

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