Brussels – home to waffles, chocolate, beer and fries. And perhaps most famously, Brussels sprouts. At the heart of Belgium and functioning as the capital city, Brussels is a popular destination to move to. Packed with hidden architectural treasures, it is more than just a culinary hot-spot.
It’s also home to regal mansions, art nouveau masterpieces, elegant museums and architectural visions. There’s plenty to see and do in this European hub. When it comes to moving abroad, it’s not common that you’ll here someone cry out “I’m moving to Brussels” – but that’s not to say it’s not a top destination to head to. This unique and quirky destination is packed with possibilities and adventures. So where should you begin?
1. KNOWING YOUR NEIGHBOURHOODS
Brussels is split into 19 different municipalities, which are home to over 1.2 million people. When looking to move to Brussels, it’s important to get to know these neighbourhoods prior to settling down. Choosing the right location can be crucial to how happy you are in your new home. For example, Ixelles is renowned for being similar to a massive commune with vibrant style and character. It’s very popular for expatriates. Typically you’ll find this area has lots of desirable apartments and large townhouses. However, they come at a cost.
Alternatively, in the south is Bois de la Cambre – perfect for those who prefer a little more green space. If you’re after a more urban environment, you’ll probably prefer Saint-Josse-ten-Noode – it’s packed with multicultural shops and restaurants. The Dansaert district is particularly fashionable, and has many fashionistas rushing to earmark a spot in this up-and-coming industrial area.
2. MOVING YOUR BELONGINGS
When it comes to removals to Brussels (and likewise removals to Belgium if you’re looking further afield), you may be looking at moving boxes or need a moving van from one country to another. It’s always a good idea to get this booked in as soon as you know your moving date in order to get this secured. It’ll be one less thing on your job’s list, and will give you some peace of mind.
3. REMOVALS TO BRUSSELS -DOCUMENTATION
If you are an EU national, you can enter and work freely within Belgium. However, if you are a non-EU resident, you will need to apply for a visa if you are looking to stay in the country for longer than 90 days. You will need to make this application via the Belgian consulate in your home country, and must submit for a work permit, along with applying for a visa. You will also need to supply a certificate of good conduct that covers the previous five years, a medical certificate, and anything else required by the Belgian authorities.
You’ll additionally need to have a valid passport, and it would be wise to have health insurance too (although you will be able to use the local health system, and will be making health insurance contributions through your employment).
As documentation and legal processes can take time, it is best to get started on this as soon as possible. If you are retired, you will need to show that you have existing health insurance and will be able to support yourself while you are living in Belgium.
4. LOCAL REGISTRATION
Once you have arrived in Brussels, within eight days you will need to register with your local neighbourhood officials. You will need to tell them which district you are living in – and if you plan on leaving one for another, you will again need to update them of your exit date. This will all be verified by the local police, who will check that you are actually living where you say you are. If you don’t notify the authorities that you are leaving the district, you may potentially be landed with a large tax bill upon returning.
5. RESIDENCY CARD
Along with needing to register in your district with local authorities and apply for a visa, you’ll also need to have a residency card. This is essentially a Belgian ID card, which holds all of your personal identification data inside its microchip. This data isn’t visible on the card itself, which helps to protect your privacy in case it gets lost. You are expected to carry your ID card on you at all times. This will be readable for institutions who have special card readers.
6. MOVING TO BRUSSELS -TAXES
Before moving to Brussels, it is important to research the tax system. It is different to the UK in that the government charges a social security rate. This is 35% for employers and 13% for employees. You will also need to pay up to 11% in municipal taxes, and up to 33% in capital gains tax. For single taxpayers, you can expect to take home less than 45% of your actual income, and for higher earners, this can be less than 40%. The country has the highest tax burden globally. However, you may be able to avoid this through having a non-resident status.
For more information please visit: http://unitedkingdom.diplomatie.belgium.be/en