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Living in Belgium - Tips and hints

Here’s a short and helpful list of steps to be taken before and when you arrive in Brussels.

Visa requirements will depend on your nationality, on the duration of your stay (more or less than 3 months) and the purpose of your stay.  Useful info : Short stay visas are Schengen visas  which allow you to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period. To enquire about visa requirements, please contact the Belgian consulate/embassy in your area/region.

Whether an EU national or not, on arrival in Belgium, anyone intending to stay for more than three months  must register in person at their local city hall(maison communale) within eight working days. Those who are not visa exempted will be asked to provide the proof of visa for their stay.  All people, Belgian or not, resident in Belgium are issued residency or identity cards.   This card allows you to travel freely within the Schengen area as long as it’s valid (5 years max).

Please register, contact or simply visit the website of your national embassy or consulate in Belgium. Embassies and consulates usually provide a lot of useful information for settling in, on Brussels and on all the activities of your fellow countrymen in Belgium.

If you have children, we would advise you to enquire about schools and their location before choosing your home.  Brussels is ranked as one of Europe’s top worst traffic jam capitals.  Therefore, transportation options between your childrens’ school, your office and your home are really key elements to consider.

Get a phone number. You don’t have to choose your network operator right away. Most operators propose top-up cards which can be converted (or not) into subscriptions later on.  Please wait until you subscribe for television, internet and land line phone (Triple play).   The three major phone operators in Belgium are : PROXIMUS, MOBISTAR and BASE.

Open a bank account. Most banks will ask for the document attesting that you have applied for a resident card before they allow you to open a bank account. If you already possess a resident card,  you can open very easily a bank account online at one of the country’s major banks.

Find a home: Rental agencies will help you find the home that fits your needs and expectations very efficiently.  You can however hunt yourself for the ideal location through the most popular website for real estate purchase and leasing transactions.  This website  includes plenty of useful information on moving, insurance, leases  etc. 

Mobility :  Try public transportation through VILLO for bikes, CAMBIO for shared cars, MOBIB for metro, trams and buses.

Here below you will find the most useful links and contacts for an easy start in Brussels :

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