Any foreigner, in accordance with Belgian law, may establish a company and engage in professional activity in Belgium. The process of opening businesses and obtaining a professional card and residence permit can be divided into several stages.

First step should be, through the Belgian Embassy, to seek a professional card and residence permit. Such steps should be taken by a qualified Belgian lawyer; legal steps taken in coordination with the acquisition of business in Belgium. A request for a professional card should be well justified, and require the attachment of relevant documents and a medical certificate.

The second step is to register your company in the Commercial Register ('Registre de Commerce'). This step assumes that you have a professional card, residence permit and bank account in Belgium.

In the third step you should obtain a TVA number (the equivalent of VAT). At the same time you propose your VAT treatment – normal or simplified (annual turnover of 5,578 euros).

In the fourth step you need to join the social office for 90 days. You are free to determine the amount of your contribution, though the minimum level is around 430 euros in the quarter. This so-called pre-payment is tightly linked to the income of the firm and within 3 years you may at your request be paid a certain amount of social contributions, which will then be recalculated in accordance with your actual income for that period.

In the fifth step, you can check (usually just a formality) in the appropriate Ministry. If your business is associated with certain types of activity regulated by the state, you must obtain a permit for this type of activity (in our case, the 'Ministere des Affaires sociales, de la Sante publique et de la l `Environnement').

In the sixth step if you plan to hire workers, you are obliged to be aware of and adhere to relevant organisations regarding the regulatory status of your employees.
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