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Expat Exchange - Guide to Obtaining Residency in Belgium
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Kortrijk, Belgium


Guide to Obtaining Residency in Belgium

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Looking for guidance on obtaining residency in Belgium? Discover the steps involved and read advice from expats, nomads, and others already in Belgium.

Obtaining a residency visa in Belgium is not always easy, but our Guide to Residency in Belgium gives newcomers an overview of the steps involved and advice from others who have already navigated the process.

  • Gather the necessary documents for residency status in Belgium. This includes a valid passport, proof of address, proof of financial means, and a criminal record check.
  • Apply for a visa at the Belgian embassy or consulate in your home country. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a long-stay visa.
  • Once you have your visa, you can enter Belgium and begin the process of obtaining residency status. You will need to register with the local municipality within 8 days of your arrival.
  • At the municipality, you will need to provide the necessary documents and fill out the application for residency status. You will also need to provide a valid passport and proof of address.
  • Once your application is approved, you will be issued a residence permit. This permit will be valid for a period of 5 years.
  • Apply for a Tax Number.
    • Visit the local tax office and fill out the application form.
    • Provide the necessary documents, such as your passport, residence permit, and proof of address.
    • Once your application is approved, you will be issued a Tax Number.
  • Register with the social security office. This will allow you to access healthcare and other social benefits.
  • Apply for a work permit, if necessary. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a work permit in order to work in Belgium.

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What tips do expats have about residency and visas in Belgium?

"As an EU national with a working record in Belgium it is completely straightforward," said one expat living in Brussels.

"If you plan to stay in Belgium for a while, you will need to apply for a residence permit. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a visa before entering Belgium. You will also need to provide proof of identity, such as a passport or national identity card, and proof of financial means, such as a bank statement. Additionally, you may need to provide proof of accommodation, such as a rental agreement or proof of ownership," wrote a member in Belgium.

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"In order to visit Belgium, foreign nationals must obtain a visa prior to their arrival. The type of visa required depends on the purpose of the visit and the length of stay. Generally, visitors must apply for a Schengen visa, which allows them to stay in Belgium for up to 90 days. To apply for a Schengen visa, applicants must submit a completed application form, a valid passport, two passport-sized photographs, proof of travel insurance, and proof of sufficient funds. Foreign nationals who wish to stay in Belgium for longer than 90 days must apply for a residence permit. To apply for a residence permit, applicants must submit a completed application form, a valid passport, two passport-sized photographs, proof of accommodation, proof of sufficient funds, and proof of health insurance. Depending on the purpose of the stay, additional documents may be required. Once the application is approved, the applicant will receive a residence permit card, which must be renewed every year," commented one member living in Belgium.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Kortrijk, Belgium

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