What are the criteria to qualify as self-employed?

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Enjoy your civil rights
  • Be legally capable
  • Be Belgian or a citizen of a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA)

The European Economic Area is made up of all the Member States of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

If you are a citizen of a country that doesn’t belong to the EEA, you will need to contact our Formalis one-stop shop to obtain a ‘professional card’.

The European Economic Area is made up of all the Member States of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Depending on the region where the business is based (i.e. has its registered office), you may need to prove your suitability to practise certain professions in the form of management and/or professional knowledge.

Basic management knowledge (for commercial businesses)

This knowledge may be demonstrated by a qualification or equivalent experience.

In the Flemish Region, the management knowledge requirement was abolished on 1 September 2018.

Walloon Region

Preparatory syllabus covering basic management knowledge with a view to participating in the ‘central jury’ examination

Brussels-Capital Region

Professional knowledge

For certain jobs, you will also need to supply proof of your professional knowledge. It all depends on the region where you are based.

! .: In the Flemish Region, as from 1 January 2019 there has no longer been a requirement to prove your suitability to practise certain professions (including construction jobs).

You can find further details at the following links:

Please contact your Formalis case manager if you would like any more information.

Like management knowledge, professional knowledge may be demonstrated by a qualification or equivalent experience.

Professional skills in the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region:

You can find further details at the following links:

!With effect from 1 January 2019, Wallonia abolished the requirement to prove one’s suitability to practise the following occupations: butcher wholesaler; dry cleaner and dyer; masseur/masseuse; pedicure; and dental technician. Your Formalis case manager will be up to speed with the latest developments. Please consult him or her for more information.

Professional skills in the Flemish Region

With effect from 1 January 2019, the professional skills requirement was abolished in Flanders.

! Legislation relating to the criteria to be met and the formalities that have to be completed before starting a business is liable to change.  Your Formalis case manager will be up to speed with the latest developments. Please consult him or her for more information.

You can find further details on the VLAIO website

Specific rules

Specific rules apply to the liberal and intellectual professions and to service providers. In these cases you must be recognised by an order, institute or chamber, for example, and so there is no need to prove management knowledge for such businesses.

  • Do you need to obtain other permits, licences and so on before starting business (Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC), itinerant trade, fairground activities, etc.)?

This depends on the type of activity you would like to pursue. The regulations vary between regions:

In the Walloon Region :

In the Brussels-Capital Region :

In the Flemish Region :

Here again, your Formalis manager can help you.

Bear in mind by when you have to register as self-employed!