First steps

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Here’s a short, handy list of things to do before and when you arrive in Brussels. For precise and comprehensive information, we can only advise you to read and order “Expats in Brussels” the FREE practical guide to settling and living in Brussels! Don’t hesitate to subscribe to our newsletters and join us on Facebook. We’ve been expats ourselves and are able to help if kindly asked ;-)

For a perfect help, a relocation agent will help you with key elements of your relocation.
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Visa requirements will depend on your nationality, the duration of your stay (more or less than 3 months) and the reason of your stay. Good to know: Short stay visas are usually Schengen visas, which allow the holder 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, contact the Belgian consulate/embassy in your region.


Nationals of a Member State of the European Economic Area (the European Union plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland do not require a work permit. Some categories of workers are also exempted from the obligation to require a work permit under specific conditions. The exemption from the work permit obligation does not apply to the new Member States of the European Union (Bulgaria and Romania). The Cellule Permis de Travail (work permits unit) of the Ministry of the Brussels-Capital Region (MRBC) is the official body responsible for the granting of work permits in the Region.


On arrival in Belgium, non-EU nationals AND EU/EEA nationals intending to stay in Belgium for more than three months must register in person at their local town hall (maison communale/gemeentehuis) within eight working days. Non-EU nationals will need to show their long-stay visa. All persons over the age of 12 and resident in Belgium are issued electronic residency/identity cards in Belgium. Once resident in Belgium, foreigners may travel within the Shengen area.


Register, contact or simply visit the website of your national embassy / consulate in Belgium. Embassies and consulates usually provide a lot of useful information on settling in Belgium.


If you have children, enquire about schools and their location BEFORE you find a home. Brussels is ranked as one of Europe’s top traffic jam capitals, so transportation options between your childrens’ school, your office and your home are a real issue.
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Find a home ! Real Estate Agencies will do a great job in helping you find the home that fits your needs. If you want to go solo, the most popular website for house and appartment rentals is IMMOWEB. It includes plenty of handy information on moving, insurance etc…
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If you are unable to find permanent accommodation upon your arrival, the residence-service or hotel apartment is the ideal solution.
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Ask for a quote from an international mover and make sure it has a good correspondent in your host country.
 A small tip : don’t forget to reserve parking space in front of your future home for the movers. This should be done a few days in advance via your local town hall (maison communale).
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Before you do anything about your gas or electricity, visit

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. When you subscribe for television, internet and land line phone, you will be offered advantageous packs which may include mobile telephony. The major network operators offer the following top-up cards : Pay&Go (Proximus), Tempo (Mobistar), BASE Pre-Paid (BASE).

 Work and Money

Open a bank account. Many banks ask for a document attesting that you have applied for a resident card before they allow you to open a bank account. If you already have your resident card, you can very easily open a bank account online at one of the country’s major banks.
These banks pay particular attention to expats : see below

 Health care

If your employer doesn't undertake this responsability, after reading our chapter "health", contact our partners.
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This material very complex and which, contrary to what the banks say, is still not far from its digitalisation, requires the help of a specialist. To ask the right questions, refer first to our Chapter “Assurances”.
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     Everyday L

Organise everyday life : enquire about public transportation (Villo subscription for public bikes, Cambio for shared cars, Mobib for metro, trams and buses…), healthcare and doctors, sports & leisure, language classes, domestic help, supermarkets, nearby shopping, and last but not least : where to go to make friends !

And finally, our list of the most useful links and contacts for a good start in Brussels 

Relocation agencies :
Be Welcome - Gosselin - Do it 4me - Santa Fé Relocation - Altair Global Group - Transworld - GMFC - Art of Living
Appart-Hôtels :
Aedifica - Brussels Business Flat - Be Appart Hotel - Home in Brussels - Immo Citadines Toisor
Moving in :
Gosselin Mobility - Transworld
Real Estates agencies :
Immo Le Lion - Immo Schmidt - Noa Real Estate - Skyline Renting Service
International schools in and around Brussels :
Beps - The British School of Brussels - European School in Mol - International Montessori School - International Deutsche Schüle - Sint John's International School - Scandinavian School of Brussels - Le Verseau - 
Higher Education in English :
UBI ( United Business Institutes) - Vlerick Business School
BNP Paribas Fortis - ING
Health care and Insurances
Mutualités Chrétiennes - Wilink Insurance
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