Brussels is often considered the heart of Europe. Despite being ranked as one of the most expensive cities in Western Europe, it’s far cheaper to live in Brussels when compared to other major cities like Paris or London.
However, it’s difficult to settle down in the capital city of Belgium without a little assistance. As an expat myself, I have compiled quick, comprehensive information to help people who are looking to study or work in Brussels.
Getting to Brussels
Visa requirements depend on three major factors:
- Your nationality
- Purpose of visit
- Duration of visit
If you are staying for a short while, you can apply for a short stay visa (Schengen visa). The Schengen visa permits you to move freely around every Schengen country within your stay. Contact the nearest Belgian consulate/embassy for more information on visa requirements.
Arrival in Brussels
Both EU/EEA and non-EU nationals who intend to stay for over three months in Belgium must register with their local town hall (gemeentehuis/ Maison communale) in person. Non-EU citizens must provide their extended stay visa too.
Also, the state issues an electronic identity/residency card to every individual who is residing in Belgium and over the age of 12. Foreigners residing in Belgium are free to travel around the Schengen area.
Visit and register with your national consulate/embassy for more information on documentations and how to settle down in Belgium. You will get lots of useful information and you will get to connect to other expats from your home country.
Education and work in Brussels
Most foreign expats and students relocating in Belgium do so with the aim of working at EU organizations and continuing or finishing studies through the Erasmus program. It’s also best to secure admission or employment before you move to Belgium.
Expats relocating with their families should brace up for the famous traffic jams in Brussels. Moving your kids from your home to school then getting to your workplace will be an issue if you don’t get accommodation close to both your office and your kids’ school.
Accommodation in Brussels
If you don’t have the time to hire a real estate agent to help you find accommodation, you can do it on your own. One way to do that is via a user-friendly website called Housinganywhere, where you can look for the best apartments in Brussels.
With Housinganywhere you can talk directly to landlords and secure a deal even before your arrival in Belgium. There are real-time pictures and videos of the apartment, and it is possible to make a decision based on current rental rates.
Settling down in Brussels is easier when you have the right information.