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5 August 2016

Expats: tips on moving to Belgium

Moving to a foreign country is a real challenge. You need to get to grips with the culture, learn about the laws and rules, sometimes pick up a new language ... Are you planning to come to work and live in Belgium? Before you embark on the adventure, read these tips which might prove to be very useful.

Moving and relocation

Some employers make use of relocation experts when posting employees abroad. These experts then take charge of the move from A to Z. These are relocation services. If your employer uses a company specialising in this type of service, check two things: the scope of the services provided by this company and whether your employer will be covering the costs. For more information, visit the ABRA website, the Association of Belgian Relocation Agents.

Not all employers make use of relocation services. Employees sometimes have to fend for themselves. In this case, a stress-free move will depend on how well informed you are. This checklist dedicated to expats might come in handy.

What paperwork should you take with you?

The first thing to know is that international mobility is easier between countries within the European Union than between other countries. For example, it will be much easier for a Spaniard to move to Belgium than for an American

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If you are European, you do not need an international passport, work permit or residence permit (for most European nationals) in order to settle in Belgium. However, if you come from a country outside Europe, these documents are required.

Whatever your nationality, remember to bring along your identity documents (identity card, passport, etc.) and those of your spouse and your children if they are coming with you. Also take your civil status documents (birth, marriage certificate, etc.).

Good to know: you can find out about the administrative procedures relating to your move to Belgium at the Office des √Čtrangers/Immigration Office.

Finding accommodations in Belgium

Once in Belgium, you will need to find accommodations. A hotel or "aparthotel" can be a good solution at first, but it is only temporary. You will then have to decide whether to rent or buy a home.

Renting is a fairly simple process. But a lot of practical information will have to be taken into account. What is a rental guarantee, for example? And what should you watch out for when signing a rental agreement? You will find all the answers to your questions in this article.

Prefer to buy? You first need to calculate your borrowing capacity. You also need to consider other costs associated with your purchase (registration fees, etc.), potential renovations and regional subsidies for which you might qualify. Read through this summary of the steps to follow.

How to be properly insured?

Another important aspect to consider when you move abroad: insurance. It is essential that you take stock of all your insurance cover before moving to Belgium.

First check whether your current insurance has international coverage. If not, you will need to terminate the insurance in your country and replace it with new Belgian insurance.

Your employer may be the one paying your insurance. If so, take a good look at your cover, especially to find out whether your family is also covered. And take out additional insurance if necessary.

ING, a partner of choice

The last essential consideration if you are settling in Belgium: finding a bank that offers services to expats. A bank that is familiar with the procedures you need to complete in order to settle in Belgium and that will help you with these procedures. ING is at your side before, during and after your move. In fact, over 40% of expats in Belgium have selected ING as a financial partner. Find out more here.

Want to know more about preparing your move to Belgium?

Visit ing.be/expat, the ING website dedicated to expats. And if you still have questions, get in touch with an ING advisor or call the ING Expat Contact Centre at + 32 2 464 66 64.