Things you should know before you immigrate to Belgium

Moving to Belgium: Things you should know before you immigrate to Belgium

Being one the six founding countries of the European Union and with Brussels also the capital of things as the European Parliament and the European Commission, this multilingual country is a convenient place for expats to settle. With a long international history and located in the heart of the European continent, Belgium has long been regarded as one of the safest places on the planet with a high standard of living. A country with so many international traits has lots to offer to newcomers. So, when you consider relocating or immigrating to Belgium, join us while we paint you a picture of what your new life in Belgium could look like.



International removals to Belgium with Eurosender

Whether you are moving to Belgium from the USA or from any other country, you will be amazed about the cultural diversity you will see in this tiny country, which is located between the Netherlands, Germany, France and Luxembourg. Enjoy one of the more than 500 Belgium beers, wander around in the modern museums and galleries of Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent, or enjoy the North Sea at cozy beach towns such as Ostend for fresh air and long relaxing walks. Visiting the historical centres of cities, such as for example Bruges, will leave an everlasting impression on you, especially when sitting on one of the many terraces in town. Probably you got the idea, living in Belgium is an amazing addition to your life as an expat and a popular destination among many travellers. So, let’s find out how you can also enjoy the perks of living in Belgium.

Before you pack up your stuff and head over to Belgium, you should know what you are getting into. In the table below you can easily find all the relevant facts about Belgium.

CapitalBrussels, with 179.000 inhabitants also the largest city in Belgium.
Time-zoneUTC+1
CurrencyThe Euro (EUR)
PopulationBelgium has a population of about 11.4 million inhabitants.
How do you call someone from Belgium?Belgian
Official languageDutch, French and German
International dialing code+32
Emergency number112 ( for emergency) 100 (fire) 101 (police)
DrivingOn the right side
TippingTipping is not obligatory as wages are included in the bill. However, feel free to tip whatever you want when receiving satisfactory service.
Unusual factBelgian chocolate makers produce more than 220.000 ton of chocolate per year.

Relocating from the USA to Belgium, or from any other country, is a big step. So, what makes you feel more at ease than being surrounded by your own personal belongings? Nowadays, this is easier than ever before. Whether you want to ship only several suitcases with our Standard Shipping Service, or you decide to take all your belongings with you, by shipping your inventory on pallets with our Freight Service, you can be confident that you will have a speedy and budget-friendly delivery of your items. Are your items not suitable for standard or freight delivery? Don’t worry and contact our logistics experts, who will prepare you an individual offer, tailored to your relocation. Because international removals to Belgium with the help of Eurosender is both cheap and convenient, you can spend your budget and time on other things, such as finding a new job or exploring your new environment.

Living in Belgium

One of the most important things to understand about living in Belgium is that the country is trilingual, meaning the following languages are spoken:

  • Dutch: Spoken in Flanders (Northern part of the country)
  • French: Spoken in Wallonia (Southern part of the country)
  • German: Spoken in 9 municipalities in the East of Belgium

Most people also speak English but there are for example many French speakers that do not speak Dutch. Moving to Belgium means that you should be proficient in the language which is spoken in the region you want to settle in and preferably one more. However, when residing in Brussels, you may also get by with only English.

Visa Regulations for Belgium

Are you a citizen from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland? Then you don’t need a visa to start living in Belgium. What you do have to do is register at the local town hall after you arrive in the country. After your registration is complete you will get a Belgian ID card and you are good to go.
When you are a citizen from a Non-EU country, you will have to apply for a visa. As the requirements may differ per country, it is best that you contact your local Belgian embassy to find out which documents you need to start your new life in Belgium.

Healthcare in Belgium

When you reside in Belgium, it is mandatory to have healthcare insurance. It may take about 3-6 months before your application will be accepted, so make sure that you are properly insured until that time. Once you are accepted, you get a social identification number, which is shown in your e–resident card, and you have access to Belgian state healthcare. Keep in mind that before you can join the healthcare insurance plan, you need to have proof of registration from the town hall. However, town hall requests you to have proof of insurance before they will register you. Who said life in Belgium was easy? Don’t worry, there is a way out. When you apply for both things at the same time and you keep both organisations in the loop on your plans, you should be fine. Also, when you are an EU citizen, it is recommended to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which you can also use for registration at town hall.

School and education

With Belgium being a tri-lingual country, education is mostly paid for by the communities of the French, Dutch and German speakers. That also means that each community has its own school system, even though there are only minor differences.

EducationAge
Pre-school education>6
Elementary school6-12
Secondary school12-18

After finishing secondary school, you can apply to any form of Higher education, where you have the choice between:

  • Universities
  • Polytechnic/Vocational universities

The job market in Belgium

Being home to organizations like the European Union and NATO, Belgium has become a popular place for international companies to settle. This means that there is ample opportunity for expats to score a job. Most of these jobs are in and around Brussels, but there is also a thriving expat scene in Antwerp, which is world famous for its diamond trade.
As Belgium is a country that heavily depends on services and trade, you should be able to easily land a job in spheres as IT, banking and healthcare. Recent research has shown that more than 80% of Belgian employers struggle to find qualified staff, so let that work to your advantage.

Property information

Finding an affordable place to live is relatively easy, especially compared to Belgium’s neighbours in the north, The Netherlands. Accommodation can be found through newspapers, online listing sites and brokers. Usually a 3-month security deposit is required. Of course, the highest prices can be found in and around Brussels, as many expats reside there. Most apartments in Belgium come unfurnished. So, shipping your own table, chairs and tv is a must in this country.

Cost of moving to Belgium

When you found employment and accommodation, you might be wondering: How much is shipping from the USA to Belgium? Well, the cost of moving house to Belgium depends on the kind of service you use. Let’s quickly go through them to see how you can enjoy the cheapest way to move furniture to Belgium.

  • Standard delivery: Whether you want to ship your suitcases instead of taking them with you on the plane, or you want to take your favourite books, with our Standard Shipping service, it is all possible. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you don’t exceed the maximum dimensions below.
    • Maximum weight of 40kg (30kg in some cases).
    • A maximum length of 175 cm.
    • Length (in cm) + 2x width (in cm) + 2x height (in cm) < 300 cm.
  • Freight Service: When you are thinking of taking your entire household, shipping on pallets is the way to go. Check which pallet you need and how to pack it and you will soon be enjoying your own stuff in your new apartment.
  • Dedicated Van Delivery: With this service, an entire van will be dedicated to your shipment. That means two things:
    • The van will only carry your shipment
    • The Shipment will go directly from the pick-up address to the delivery location. Want to know more? Contact our logistics experts at sales@eurosender.com for a free enquiry.

No matter which service you choose, by using the services of Eurosender, you can be sure that you experience the lowest average moving costs to Belgium and won’t pay a cent too much.

Cost of living in Belgium

With Brussels always being in the top 50 of most expensive cities around the world, in general, the cost of living in Belgium can be considered rather high. However, there some easy ways to save money on essential things.

  • Public transport in Belgium is both effective and affordable, so no need to have a car in this tiny country.
  • Entrance fees for museums and exhibitions are generally low and make for a great day out.
  • Belgium is home to many historical cities and towns such as Brugge, Gent and Leuven. These are great places for a free stroll.
  • When you live close to the border it might make sense to do your grocery shopping across the border, as prices in the supermarkets there are generally 10-15% lower.

Driving in Belgium

When you want to drive you should always have the following documents with you .

  • Driving license (When you are an EU citizen your local driving license will do. When you are a Non-EU citizen, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP), which you can get at your local driving authority for about $20-25)
  • Valid insurance documents.
  • Your ID (ID card when from Schengen zone, Passport for other countries)
  • Vehicle registration document.

With all your documents in check, you are ready to hit the road. Let’s have a quick look at some of the things that make driving in Belgium different from other countries.

  • Check both the Dutch and the French translation of your destination as there is a chance you might miss the signs.
  • Priorite a droit is the basic rule in Belgium, meaning that all traffic coming from the right side must be given right of way.
  • The exceptions to this rule are when you are on a motorway, on a roundabout or when there are signs along the road indicating that other traffic has right of way.
  • Drinking and driving is a bad idea in any country. That is why Belgium has stepped up its fines for DUI’s, where the fines now range from €1.100 to €11.000 for this kind of offence.

See the most popular destinations from where you can move

Canada

There could be many reasons for moving to Belgium from Canada. However, it is obvious that you won’t experience a complete language barrier, as in both countries French is an official language. On top of that, you can experience life in a completely different way. Where Canada is sparsely populated, Belgium is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Add to that the long international history of the country and the international society in Belgium, and Canadians will easily feel at home.

United Kingdom

Moving to Belgium from the UK is a short trip, as London-Brussels will take you less than an hour by plane or about 8 hours by bus. But have you also noticed how outrageous the luggage policies of most airline companies and bus carriers are? With Eurosender you can now live in Belgium while taking your luggage, furniture or anything else with you for a fraction of the price.

Other destinations?

Disclaimer: The materials provided in this article were collected from other credible resources to be used for general information purposes only. Given that the legislative basis of the country and its economic development have a changing nature, the information provided in the article could be subject to change. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct, Eurosender will not be liable for any inappropriate, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Certain links will lead to websites which are not under control of Eurosender. Thus, Eurosender accepts no liability in respect of materials, products or services being not under control of Eurosender.