Professional card exemption requirements
Brussels-Capital Region and Walloon Region



Non-EEA nationals who are self-employed in Belgium must apply for a professional card, unless they are eligible for a legal exemption. Since 1 January 2022, a new and simplified application procedure has been force in the Flemish Region.(1) At the same time, the Flemish government introduced a new exemption, which, subject to certain requirements being met, will end the professional card obligation for non-EEA nationals who hold a corporate mandate.

Professional card exemption requirements

A non-EEA national who holds a corporate mandate in the Flemish Region will not always benefit from the professional card exemption. The exemption can only be invoked if the following conditions are met:

  • the director's mandate must be non-remunerated and this must be confirmed in the company's by-laws or when the director is appointed;
  • the director must possess a valid single permit that allows working on a full-time basis in a specialist or management role:
    • A specialist role requires that the employee be in possession of a bachelor's or master's degree(2) that has been issued by a recognised education institute and that they earn a gross annual salary of at least €45,096.(3)
    • A management role means that the employee carries out daily managerial duties and responsibilities. In addition, the employee must supervise the work of subordinate employees and they must be authorised to represent and bind the company. In order to qualify as a "manager", the employee must earn a gross annual salary of at least €72,154.(4)
    • The exemption can also be invoked by specialist personnel who meet the conditions for obtaining a European Blue Card.
    • This requirement implies that only individuals who hold a corporate mandate as a secondary occupation are eligible to benefit from the professional card exemption.
  • there should be a clear distinction between the work and the activities performed as an employee and the responsibilities as a director. Especially for individuals in a general management role, the distinction between both professional activities will not always be clear; and
  • the professional card exemption is linked to the validity of the single permit. Given that non-EEA nationals can no longer possess a valid single permit (ie, because the single permit has expired and/or is not being renewed), they can no longer benefit from the professional card exemption.

Directors who meet the cumulative conditions above and who execute the non-remunerated corporate mandate in the Flemish region are, therefore, exempt from obtaining a professional card.

Brussels-Capital Region and Walloon Region

No similar exemption applies in the Brussels-Capital Region and Walloon Region. Non-EEA nationals who hold a corporate mandate in those regions will, therefore, still need to obtain a professional card, even if the corporate mandate is non-remunerated and/or it is combined with work that is carried out in the capacity of an employee.


Following the introduction of this new exemption, non-EEA nationals working in the Flemish region now need to overcome substantially less administrative hurdles when considering taking up a corporate mandate, provided that certain conditions are met.

For further information on this topic please contact Emma Van Caenegem or Annabel Coopman at ALTIUS by telephone (+32 2 426 1414) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The ALTIUS website can be accessed at


(1) Decree of the Flemish government dated 17 December 2021, executing the Flemish Statute dated 15 October 2021 on the self-employed professional activities of foreign nationals.

(2) The education must have been for a minimum duration of three years or must have resulted in a level five education qualification.

(3) Or €36,076.80 (the 2022 amount, which is annually indexed) if the employee's employer is located in Belgium and provided that the employee is younger than 30 or works as a nurse.

(4) The 2022 amount, which is annually indexed.