On 12 October 2005, the European Commission published the directive 2005/71 on a set of measures for admitting third-country nationals for the purposes of scientific research in Europe. Lawmakers took pains to simplify and speed up processing of visa, residence permit and work permit issues for third-country researchers (non-EU member states or associates), for the researchers themselves as well as the host research institute.
This directive, known as the "scientific visa", has now been fully transposed to Belgian law and comprises several parts:
Once a Research Organisation has been approved, it can sign hosting agreements that fall under this facilitated procedure. Approval is granted by the Federal Science Policy Office for a period of of 5 years.
On the basis of a hosting agreement signed by both parties, the researcher can submit an application for a residence permit lasting longer than three months to the Belgian diplomatic or consular post in the country of residence or place of stay abroad.
Any research organisation that, in view of conducting a research project, wishes to sign a hosting agreement with a researcher who is not a national of a European Union member state, must first be approved.
The application for approval must be submitted to the Federal Science Policy