With a population of just over 10 million people Belgium is a small but densely populated country consisting of three different regions. Flanders is in the North of the country and home to most of the country’s industrial resources. The language spoken in Flanders is predominantly Dutch/ Flemish. Then, Wallonia is in the south of the country and predominantly French-speaking whilst Brussels is the capital (and home of the European Union) and is officially bi-lingual.
Belgium is a popular tourist destination, famed for its cuisine and cultural offerings such as architecture and artwork. Belgian beer and luxury chocolate are synonymous with the country. Along with being popular amongst tourists, Belgium is also a favoured place for expatriates to settle and it is estimated that almost a tenth of the population (around 750,000) are expats. This is because the country offers brilliant education, health care and public facilities to all of its citizens.
However, because the standard of living in Belgium is so high the cost of living there correlates with that. For example, when renting in Belgium many apartments are let completely unfurnished to the extent that you will usually have to supply your own appliances and sometimes even cupboards!
Residents of the United Kingdom do not require a visa to live and work in Belgium as both countries are part of the EU. However you will need a valid passport and you must carry proof of identity with you at all times whilst in the country- if you fail to do this you could be placed under administrative arrest for up to 12 hours.
When arriving in Belgium you should report to your local commune to register within 8 days taking with you; 4 passport-sized photos; originals and copies of your passport, your contract of your apartment/house, documents proving you will be able to support yourself in Belgium, such as your contract from your employer or pension papers proving your entitlement and proof of health insurance. You will also be required to pay a small fee.
Once the commune has all of the necessary documents the police will then verify your address by making a house call (if you’re not at home an appointment card will be left asking you to visit the local police station). Following this, you will be sent a letter inviting you to collect your residence card or the police will deliver it to your address. Temporary residence cards are issued for three months and a permanent card will be issued once you have joined the Belgian social security system.
We’ve got a wealth of experience in helping people relocate to Belgium and other European countries. Simply get in touch – we’re here to help! E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0845 4680 160
Don’t forget to take a look at our handy checklist as a guide to help with organising your move. There’s additional space for you to add your own notes, as every move is different.