Belgium is a country at the heart of Europe that has a lot to offer to expats. In fact, the country’s multiculturalism is the main attraction point for EU and non-EU immigrants who are willing to relocate here. As a UK national, you will not require a visa to enter Belgium (for the time being), however, you will need to apply for a correct Belgian residence permit, according to the reason for your long-term stay.
In order to relocate from UK to Belgium, one starts by applying for the right type of permit with the Belgian Embassy or Consulate that is closest to home.
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, which outlines the process of leaving the EU, a transition period is in place until the end of 2020. During this time, UK nationals who are interested in moving to Belgium can still do so for study or work purposes. After this date, they will need to be lawful residents in order to have their rights protected. The most important step British citizens can take in light of the Brexit when they wish to remain in Greece is to make sure that they are registered as residents. Our team of lawyers specializing in immigration matters can provide more details as further clarifications on this matter arise.
There are many questions about the process of Belgium immigration and our agents answer some of these in this article. For more detailed information, please keep in mind that you can reach out to our specialists.
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What are the types of residence permits in Belgium?
The right of residence is granted according to the purpose of the stay. The following status can be obtained:
- Employee: when the UK national has already signed an employment contract with a Belgian company or is subject to an intra-corporate transfer;
- Job seeker: when the job is not yet secured and he or she can provide evidence of the application letters;
- Self-employed: when the individual is engaged in a form of profession or service as self-employed and registered with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises;
- Student: when he or she is admitted into a Belgian University; a separate permit can also be awarded for trainees;
- Family member: when the UK national is willing to reunite with a family member who is already lawfully living in Belgium; our Belgium immigration lawyer can provide you with more details on family reunification.
Please keep in mind that a provisional registration is commenced with the municipality and police controls are not uncommon for the purpose of residency control.
The types of Belgium residence permits described above are temporary ones and they can be renewed. For the purpose of relocation from UK to Belgium, a British national will need to apply for permanent residence after an uninterrupted stay of five years in the country. He may then apply for Belgian citizenship after a minimum number of years.
An alternative is to obtain Belgium residency by investment, however, this is subejct to a set of rules and conditions. British nationals can reach out to our agents to find out if this is a suitable option for them.
What are the post-arrival residency requirements?
British nationals who wish to reside in Belgium will need to register with the local town hall as soon as they arrive in the country (commonly within eight days, however, this may vary and our Belgium immigration specialists can provide you with more details). Upon registration one is asked to provide specific documents, such as photographs, passport copies, proof of accommodation, and others.
Some of the other issues that will need to be addressed after arrival are the following:
- Healthcare: registering with a healthcare insurer is mandatory in order to be able to access the healthcare system; social security contributions apply to both the employer and the employee;
- Driving: a UK national will need to exchange his license and renew it.
- Vehicles: vehicle insurance will be required and UK nationals can also take out their vehicle from the United Kingdom and register it with the Belgian authorities (this is a process that can be further explained by our Belgium immigration specialists).
- Taxation: a double taxation agreement exists between the United Kingdom and Belgium, meaning that the same type of income will not be taxed in the same manner; tax compliance for personal income and corporate income purposes (for those who open a business) will be mandatory.
These are just some of the aspects that need to be taken into consideration when relocating from UK to Belgium. For those who move with their families, finding a suitable school and enrolling the children will also be an important step.
Belgium is a multicultural country with three official languages and where English is widely spoken. Foreign nationals may very well choose to apply for Belgian citizenship after some time. When discussing the number of immigrants, British nationals are not as numerous as those from other countries, whose prevalence we summarize below:
- 167,508 immigrants from France;
- 157,474 from the Netherlands;
- 155,866 immigrants from Italy.
Our team of Belgium immigration lawyers can help you along the way if you are interested to relocate. Please contact us if you have questions and are in need of assistance for relocating from UK to Belgium.