Orientation year for non-EEA researchers

Are you leaving Ghent University as an international researcher? From 1 January 2023, you can apply for an orientation year if you have stayed in Belgium on the basis of a host agreement.

The orientation year entitles you to additional stay to 'search' for a suitable job in Belgium. The stay in Belgium can be extended by 12 months.


The application for the orientation year is started with the City of residence, no later than 15 days before the previous residence permit as a researcher based on a host agreement expires. The following documents are submitted with the application:

  • Copy of a valid passport and Belgian ID card
  • proof of retribution payment (126 euros)
  • proof of valid health insurance registration in Belgium
  • proof of sufficient means of subsistence for 12 months' stay : via a contract; or a blocked account. A single person has to prove 14207.28 euro for 12 months' stay.
  • Proof delivered by UGent that the research activities have been completed : request by e-mail contacting attesten@ugent.be mentioning the title of your research whilst working with a host agreement.
  • 1 passport photo

Within 90 days after submission of a complete application, the decision will be communicated to the applicant. This decision period is included in the 12-month period.


With a positive decision, the researcher can seek employment, set up a company and work without holding a single permit with any employer. After 12 months and when employment is continued, the employer must have applied for a single permit to continue employing the researcher/employee.

More information?

The effective procedures and details will be made available by the Belgian government and cities a in January 2023. We have summarized all (currently already) available information on the orientation year.

(Doctoral) students are also entitled to an orientation year. Check the details of the orientation year for students.