Famous for its medieval towns, Renaissance architecture, and headquarters of the European Union and NATO, the Western Europe state of Belgium is among the pioneers of Schengen Area and hence; an applicant is required to submit visa application in Belgium Embassy in Washington DC for acquiring permission to enter the country for a period not exceeding 90 days.
The country has per capita income of $42658 and enjoys highest life expectancy in the world. Belgium had signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium. The city is also the administrative capital of the European Union, and hence, often referred to as the capital city of EU.
The Schengen Area refers to a territory where the free movement of persons is guaranteed. The 26 signatory States to the Agreement have abolished all internal borders in lieu of a single external border. In the Schengen Area, common rules and procedures are applied with regard to visas for short-stays, asylum requests, and border controls. Simultaneously, cooperation and coordination between Police services and judicial authorities guarantee security. Schengen cooperation was incorporated into the European Union (EU) legal framework by the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997.
What is Schengen Visa?
Schengen Visa is a short-stay visa that enables its holder to travel 26 European countries which are part of Schengen Area. Authorities concerned will not subject holder of Schengen Visa to border checks at internal borders of the Schengen countries.
Applying for Belgium Schengen Visa from the United States
An applicant—who is a USA citizen—does not need a visa if he/she wants to enter Belgium for tourist, business, visit, medical or study purpose for a period not exceeding 90 days.
Contrary to that, the applicant is bound to apply for a visa if he/she resides in the USA on a permanent basis but is not a resident of the country.
Types of Visas Offered at the Belgian Embassy in Washington DC
Usually, officials at the Belgium Embassy in Washington DC issues two types of visa to the applicant. They are:
A Schengen Visa allows its holder to roam freely in the host nation for up to 90 days. A Schengen Visa is further classified into sub-categories depending upon the applicant’s nature of the purpose.
A Schengen Visa is issued as single, double or multiple entry allowing its holder to enter the host nation as many times as the visa allows.
A citizen or resident of the USA will apply for Belgium National Visa if he/she intends to stay in the country for a period exceeding 90 days. A national visa can be issued for the purpose of study, residence, medical etc.
The national visa is also issued as a single entry visa or multiple entry visa.
Before you begin, you must double-check that you’ve applied at the accurate embassy or consulate for filing the visa application.
The Belgium Embassy in Washington DC covers the following states of the USA:
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Commonwealth of the Bahamas and District of Columbia.
After pigeonholing the category of your visa in accord with the nature of the visit and finding accurate embassy or consulate, you simply need to follow these five steps to get approval from the corresponding office.
Before we move to the steps, you need to understand that embassies and consulates usually take up to 15 days to process a visa application. However, the aforementioned duration is not an absolute law. The processing time for your visa application could take longer than 15 days depending upon the nature of the visa you are applying for.
You can apply any time from 90 days to 15 days before your trip.
Step One: Book Appointment Online
You must begin with going to the Belgium Embassy’s official website. Once the page is loaded, click on “Visa for Belgium” section.
A new page will be reloaded displaying the categories. Select the category that you belong to.
The website will reload the next page containing preliminary information at the top and the corresponding links in the bottom. Scroll down the page and click on “visaonweb.diplomatic.be” under Washington DC.
Step Two: Register Yourself
The server will redirect you to the Belgium Embassy’s booking system to make an online appointment with the visa officers.
Login if you already have a username and password. If not, create a new account by clicking on the “Not Registered Yet” icon. The server will direct you to the following window:
Create your account by providing credentials and login to book an appointment online. Select the most convenient time that you would be able to pay a visit to the Belgium Embassy for an interview.
You can also cancel your appointment either online or by informing officials with the email if you are no longer able to make it for any reason whatsoever.
After registering on the Belgium Embassy’s booking system, you can complete your application online by simply providing the required details. After doing so, do not forget to print and sign it.
Embassy or consulate do not charge for making online appointments with their staffers.
Till here, you’ve successfully completed step one. Now let us move to the next one.
Step Three: Prepare All Required Documents
This process often comes as a dreadful nightmare for the visa applicants as it requires a lot of effort and time. Furthermore, a small error—whether intentional or unintentional—can get your visa application rejected and thus it becomes your prime responsibility to get everything accurate in this section.
Also, you are supposed to submit both originals and photocopies of the all the documents required by the embassy.
Following is the list of all documents that an applicant need to submit with the Belgium Embassy in Washington DC:
Application form: The first step is to download the application form from the website. Read it carefully and then fill it with utmost honesty.
Attach two recent photos with the application form. Photos should be clicked in passport format by the applicant with whole-face captured in a light background. Also, attach with the visa application form original passport and copies of visas previously issued. The passport must contain at least two blank pages for affixing the visa.
Roundtrip Flight Itinerary for visa application: A verifiable document issued by an airline, travel agency or an online service provider to confirm that the visa applicant has booked/paid for a flight seat on an aircraft.
Travel Visa Health Insurance: A health insurance covering minimum expenses worth 30,000 euros in case of any medical complication, accident or repatriation after death. The insurance policy should clearly mention the insured person, its validity and the benefits offered. The availed insurance should cover emergency treatments of hospitals in case of medical complication and repatriation on medical grounds, even death.
Hotel Booking Reservation/Proof of accommodation: It is a document that specifies place/places of applicant’s stay during the course of his/her visit to Schengen state/states. It includes:
A hotel/hostel booking; and
A rental agreement; and
A letter of invitation from a host at whose house you will be staying.
Bank statement/Proof of financially means: This document is required to confirm that applicant is financially able to sponsor his stay in the Schengen Area and it includes a bank statement, sponsorship letter or a combination of bank account statement and a letter of sponsorship.
Cover Letter: Cover Letter or Covering Letter is a letter sent with and explaining the contents of another document/documents or parcels of goods.
The applicant explains the following things in Schengen Visa Cover Letter:
The Intention of traveling to the Schengen state/states.
Mean of subsistence: It means to provide evidence to the Belgian Embassy or consulate that the applicant has sufficient amount or financial resources to bear his/her expenditures during his stay in the Schengen country.
The amount stands at 65 euros/day if the foreigner, seeking entry in France, displays proof of prepaid accommodation. It plummets to 45 euros per day if the applicant is going to stay in cheaper hotels.
Language Preference Form: While filling Belgian Schengen Visa Application Form, authorities offer the applicant to fill the form in any of the three national languages (French, German and Dutch). If the applicant wants to proceed in English, then he will select “no preference”.
Explaining relation with a sponsor (if any) and the reasons for sponsorship. An overview of the applicant’s flight itinerary.
In case applicant fails to produce a document, then he tells the reasons and explains the alternative documents (that he/she might have submitted).
Affidavit of Support: Diplomatic officers demand this document if the applicant does not hold a bank account or lacks fund to support himself/herself during the course of his/her stay in the Schengen Area. In such scenario, the applicant is directed to request relatives or friends—residing in the Schengen state—to sign document named as “Official Affidavit of Support”.
Proof of paid visa fee: €60 for adults and €35 for children from 6 to 12 years old. These fees are not reimbursed in case visa application gets rejected.
Valid US alien registration card or valid US resident visa including permission to re-enter. Must be valid for 3 months past trip.
Recent nationwide criminal history check.
US work permit
Confirmation of participation in any type of event or activity
Self-addressed, pre-paid US express mail envelope (if applicable)
Employment contract; and
Current bank statement of the latest 6 months; and
Leave permission from the employer; and
Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary; and
A copy of your business license; and
Company bank statement of the latest 6 months; and
Income Tax Return (ITR).
If a student:
Proof of enrollment; and
No-objection certificate from school or university.
Pension statement of the latest 6 months.
Step Four: Submit Your File in the Belgium Embassy in Washington DC
This step is the simplest of all. However, we recommend you to follow these simple points to avoid any untoward situation.
Try to reach the embassy at the earliest possible official hours.
Answer all the interview questions with confidence, calm and ease. If the interviewer wants to confirm any of the documents or details, he/she might field some extra questions before you.
As of May 15, 2014, each individual applying for a Schengen visa in the USA must appear in person, so that the necessary biometric data – ten fingerprints and a digital photo – can be collected. The biometric data are stored for a period of 59 months and can possibly be reused. This means that future applications during that period of time may be filed through correspondence, provided your data are of good quality and can be retrieved from the VIS.
Exemptions for the fingerprinting requirements are granted to:
- Children under the age of twelve;
- Persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible;
- Heads of State and members of National Governments and their accompanying spouses, as well as the members of their official delegation when invited by Member States’ governments or by international organizations for an official purpose.
Furthermore, the applicant can extract the aforementioned data from the Visa Information System (VIS) if he/she has submitted it within the duration of five months. In such a case, you can forward application either by mail or courier. You can visit the Belgium Embassy website for further information if ambiguity persists.
Step Five: Receive Your Visa
As mentioned earlier, Belgium Embassy in Washington DC usually takes up to 15 days to process your visa application. The embassy will notify you once they arrive on a decision on your visa application. The applicant has the option to collect his passport and visa (in case the application is approved) via UPS or USPS in the envelope that the applicant has provided.
Common Reasons for Visa Denial
We wish you all the best for your visa application and hope that you’ll receive your Belgian Visa along with the passport. However, there is a number of reasons upon which the Belgium Embassy in Washington D.C might reject your application. These reasons include (but are not limited to):
The applicant forget to sign the application
Invitation Letter is missing
Sponsorship Letter is missing
NOC is missing
Embassy fails in establishing a clear reason for your travel
Contact details for the Embassy of Belgium in Washington DC
Address: 3330 Garfield Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008
Tel: +1 202 333 6900
Fax: +1 202 338 4960
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.30 am – 12.00 pm
The whole process can be summed up in the following easy steps
Book an appointment online
Prepare your documents
Submit your documents in the Belgium Embassy at the Washington DC
Receive your visa