22 August 2018

Expats: tips for moving to Belgium

Moving to a foreign country is a real challenge. You need to find out about local laws and regulations, learn a new language, and so on. Are you planning to come to work and live in Belgium? Then these tips that might come in very handy.

Moving and relocating

Some employers make use of relocation experts when posting employees abroad. These experts then take charge of the move from A to Z. If you employer uses such relocation services, be sure to check these two things:

  • What services the company covers
  • Whether your employer will pay for the costs

For more information, visit the website of ABRA, the Association of Belgian Relocation Agents.

Please note:

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 for expats may come in handy.

What paperwork should you bring?

The first thing to bear in mind 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.

If you are European, you don't need an international passport, work permit or residence permit (for most European nationals) to move to Belgium. However, if you come from a country outside of Europe, these documents are required.

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

Good to know:

You can find out about the administrative procedures relating to your move to Belgium at the Office des Etrangers/Immigration Office.

Finding accommodation in Belgium

Once in Belgium, you will need to find accommodation. A hotel or "aparthotel" or an Airbnb 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. However, a lot of practical information will have to be taken into account. For example, what's a security deposit? 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 the other costs associated with your purchase (registration fees, etc.), potential renovations and the regional subsidies available for these. Below is a summary of the steps to follow.

Making sure you are properly insured

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

First check whether your current insurance policies provide international cover. If not, you will need to cancel them in your home country and replace them with new ones in Belgium.

Your employer might pay for your insurance. If so, take a good look at the cover, particularly to see whether your family is covered too. Take out additional insurance cover if necessary.

For your home, whether you decide to rent or buy, you will need to take out home insurance. ING Home Insurance offers customised cover, whether you are a tenant or an owner. The premium is calculated on the basis of the number of square metres to be insured, and you can apply for insurance online. You will be covered immediately and can use a 24/7 helpline in the event of damages!

ING, a key partner

The last essential consideration if you are moving to Belgium is finding a bank that offers services for expats. A bank that is familiar with the procedures you need to follow in order to move to Belgium and that will help you overcome the inevitable hurdles. You can count on ING to be by your side before, during and after your move. In fact, over 40% of expats in Belgium have chosen ING as their financial partner. Find out why.

Want to know more about preparing for your move to Belgium?

And if you still have questions, get in touch with an ING adviser or call the ING Expat Contact Centre on +32 2 464 66 64.