Visitors' pass

What is a visitors' pass?

A visitors' pass is issued to domestic and foreign visitors, like researchers from other universities (personnel or otherwise).

Within the framework (and funding) of a scientific exchange project, they spend a short stay (no longer than 90 days) under the supervision of a Ghent University promoter.

The visitor can also be a staff member from another organisation staying at Ghent University for consultation on or realisation of a joint project under the supervision of a Ghent University promoter. It is not a visitor in the broad sense of the word, i.e. students can never obtain a visitor’s pass.

After the pass is completed with a photograph and signature of the visitor, the pass can be used. The identification number starts with 871.

Request and issuance of the pass

The pass should be requested:

  • To permit the visitor access to the below-mentioned facilities, regardless of the length of stay in Belgium  within the framework of academic activities;
  • For visitors who will stay in Belgium for more than 5 calendar days for academic activities or for those who extend their initially shorter stay to more than 5 calendar days. Any additional days that the visitor spends in Belgium and that are not related to university activities cannot be taken into account.

The visitors' pass is issued by:

  • the International Relations Office (IRO) if the visit is within the framework of an international educational project;
  • or the Department of Research Affairs (DOZA), if the visit is within the framework of research or service for which DOZA has a project file.

When approved, the promoter will be informed. The visitor can then personally collect the pass after signing a 'Sworn Declaration Visitor'.

In case a visit is no part of a file handled by IRO or DOZA, for example the visitor has a scholarship from the home university and Ghent University was not informed, then the application should also be directed to IRO.


Employees and students on work placement who come to Belgium temporarily or partially, and who are working or have been hired in a country other than Belgium, are in principal not subjected to the Belgian social security system. This is because of a new legal regulation called the “L.I.M.O.S.A. duty to report”.

This duty to report is also applicable to self-employed people and independent trainees from abroad who come to Belgium on a temporary or partial basis. The reporting to the Belgian Social Security should occur before the employee, trainee or self-employed starts his assignment in Belgium (this can be dome from abroad on For each reporting a Limosa-acknowledgement is issued.

Should the foreign visitor not be able to submit a Limosa-acknowledgement to his Ghent University promoter upon arrival, then the promoter must apply for a visitors' pass. After that, the rectorate can arrange the Limosa-acknowledgement.

On the visitors' pass, the Limosa status will be mentioned. The visitor must be able to produce the Limosa-acknowledgement at any time (to the social inspection, etc). Should there have been no reporting, the legislator has also foreseen penalties and administrative fines for the Belgian guest institution.

Often the following exceptions on the duty to report will apply, so that “vrijgesteld van Limosa-melding” (exempt from Limosa reporting) will be mentioned on the visitors' pass:

  • Scientists from foreign institutions participating in a scientific programme in Belgium, on the condition that their stay does not exceed 3 months per calendar year;
  • Participation in scientific conferences;
  • Participation in meetings (with a limited number of participants) provided that attendance of the total number of these meetings does not exceed 60 days per calendar year;
  • Foreign civil servants (both statutory and contractual civil servants), irrelevant of the duration of their stay in Belgium;
  • Trainees who are doing an obligatory work placement in Belgium within the scope of their studies, for the duration of their work placement.

You can find more information about this issue on the Social Security website.

Length of stay

A foreign visitor can only have his stay approved by IRO/DOZA, if it does not exceed a maximum of 90 days per calendar year. Exceptions are not possible.

The visitors' pass is valid for the duration of the stay, and the ultimate date of validity is mentioned on the pass.

Registration at the City of Ghent

Upon arrival, each foreign visitor (both EU and non-EU citizens) are required to report to the Foreigners' Registration Office of the city where the visitor will stay.

For the city of Ghent, you can find more information on their website, or you can contact them directly:

Dienst Burgerzaken - Bureau Vreemdelingen  (Foreigners' Registration Office)
Woodrow Wilsonplein 1, 9000 Gent
Tel. 09 266 71 50
Fax 09 266 71 69


Visitors with a visitors' pass are automatically insured for physical accidents during university activities, and on the way to and from university activities. All information and the limits of coverage (in Dutch) is found on

Visitors with a visitors' pass are also insured for civil liability during university activities (for damage to third parties), if the act that caused the damage occurred under supervision or any form of instruction by a Ghent University staff member (so that Ghent University is somehow liable), unless the visitor already has a civil liability insurance of its own (or by way of his/her employer or home institution).

For some categories of visitors there is a repatriation insurance for travelling abroad within the framework of university activities. All information and limits of coverage (in Dutch) is available on

For foreign visitors the Ghent University promotor (or the visitor him-/herself) can request an additional insurance, dependent on the specific situation (EU or non-EU; health insurance (obligatory!)), such as the All-in insurance (medical costs, repatriation, civil liability private life) or the separate repatriation insurance and/or the separate civil liability insurance private life. All information can be found here:

Ghent University facilities

Each visitors’ pass contains a bar code, and automatically grants access to:

  • the GUSB (Ghent University Sports Centre)
  • the student restaurants

On request, the visitors' pass will also grant access to:

  • the Ghent University buildings (
  • obtaining a DICT-account (tel. 09/264.47.45)

Application form

Application form (to be filled out by the promotor): register online


International Relations Office (IRO)
Contact person: Evy Pot
Het Pand, Onderbergen 1
9000 Gent
tel. 09 264 70 02