Known as the heart of Europe, Belgium offers a thriving international and multicultural atmosphere. Since it is divided into three main regions, based on the most frequent language spoken (Dutch, French and German), no matter what subject you decide to study in Belgium, it will be impossible for you not to pick up a new language or brush up some of your previous language skills. For a relatively small country, Belgium has several top ranked universities and is well- known for excellent teaching.
Applying for a Belgian university is not complicated at all, but here are a few things you should know.
Before you apply
Check if you need a student visa for Belgium.
Consider the region you intend to study in (Flemish, Walloon and Brussels), each corresponding to the predominant language that is spoken.
You will simply have to access the website of the university and apply online.
Steps during the application process
- Fill in the online application form; make sure you complete all the boxes and keep all relevant documents close because you will need to complete information and details from these documents
- You may be asked to pay the application fee; you will receive an e-mail containing payment details and options
- After the university receives the fee, the Admission Office will analyse your file. In some cases, they may request by e-mail additional documents.
- If your file is approved by the Admission Office, it will then be sent to the faculty that will further screen your application and make a decision.
- If your file is accepted by the faculty, you may be asked to send the original printout of documents; send these original printouts only if they are specially requested for you to do that.
- Once you have been accepted, you will receive an acceptance letter by e-mail and/or post.
Language requirements for Belgian universities
Depending on whether the programme is offered by an institution in the Flemish, French or German-speaking community, you will need to prove your level of command for a different language. All universities in Belgium provide full time degrees that are taught in English and most international students choose English or French taught university programmes.
These are the accepted language certifications:
English: TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge and in some cases ITACE (Interuniversity Test of Academic English for Students). Check out more information about ITACE.
The Interuniversity language test Dutch as a foreign language, the internationally recognised exam Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal (CNaVT) Educatief Professioneel, or the diploma-exam Staatsexamen Nederlands als tweede taal (NT2) programme II.
French: DELF, DALF or TCF
Within some universities, you can test your language level through their website and even take online language classes.
Required application documents
- A photocopy of the identity page of your passport
- A recent passport picture
- A copy of your diplomas
- Transcripts of academic records
- Proof of language proficiency (either English, French, Dutch or German)
- Proof of payment of the application fee (50 EUR)
- Motivation letter
All documents should be translated by a registered translator in English, Dutch, French or German.
Additional documents may be required by a specific programme:
- GMAT, SAT and/or GRE test results
- Recommendation letters or project proposals
- Intermediate transcripts if you still need to complete your studies at the time of the application
University application deadlines
Deadlines vary greatly depending on each university. The best thing you can do is to check for the exact deadline of the website of the university.
Generally, you should apply before March 31st for the September enrolment.
However, you can find other application deadlines as follows:
EEA applicants: between December 1st and April 30 of the following year
Non-EEA applicants: between December 1st and February 28 of the following year
After you receive the acceptance letter
Apply for a visa in case you need one.
Non-EU/EEA/Swiss students will have to apply for a residence permit at the local municipal office within eight working days after they arrive in Belgium.
Make all preparations for the health insurance plan as follows:
- EU students: if you hold a European health insurance card, you have full access to the Belgian national healthcare system. Without this card, pay for a health insurance cover in your home country or for one as soon as you arrive in Belgium.
- Non-EU students: it is recommended that they arrange for the health insurance from their home country.