Moving to Flanders
If you plan to come and live in Flanders for a long period or permanently, you need the right documents. It is also important to know a few things about Flanders before moving there.
Visa and other residence documents
If you are not a Belgian national and you want to come and live in Flanders for a long period of time, you may need a visa. You can apply for a visa in your country of residence. If there is no Belgian embassy or consulate in your country of residence, you should apply at the Belgian embassy or consulate which is responsible for your country. It is usually located in a neighbouring country.
If you want to reside permanently in Belgium, you need other documents after the expiration of your visa.
For more information about this topic, please see our webpage ‘Required visa and residence documents to reside in Belgium’.
Import of personal effects
If you are moving to Flanders for good, you probably want to bring personal effects with you. You should better look for information on taxes you have to pay on them. The amounts differ depending on your country of origin and on the nature of the effects you bring with you.
Usually, you are entitled to a tax exemption on household goods, but you need the right documents proving the goods in question will be exclusively used for personal purposes.
You can find more information about the import of personal effects (in Dutch or in French) on Belgium.be.
Civic integration path for newcomers in Flanders
If you move from abroad to Flanders or Brussels, you should take an active part in our society. The Flemish authorities therefore offer a civic integration path which should help you gain the necessary knowledge and skills to fully play your role as a citizen, parent, employee, entrepreneur…
All newcomers have the right to follow this civic integration path. Some categories of people are obligated to follow the civic integration path. For underage, non-Dutch speaking newcomers, civic integration is accomplished through education and not through a civic integration path.
The Flemish authorities also offer a starterskit for family migrants.
For more information about this topic, please see our webpage ‘Guidance for newcomers (civic integration path)’.
If you come and live in Flanders or Belgium, you must take out an health insurance. If you legally stay in Belgium, you can become affiliated to any health insurance fund of your choice.
If you have taken out an health insurance, the health insurance fund will amongst others cover your medical costs. The fund also pays the allocations you may receive in case of incapacity for work or maternity leave.
For more information about this topic, please see our webpage ‘Health insurance’.
If your main place of residence is situated in Belgium, you are automatically liable to the Belgian income tax and you receive a tax return each year. You always have to file the tax return for the previous year. In Belgium, you can file your tax returns on paper or online through the Tax-on-web portal.
After a few months, you will receive a tax sheet mentioning your tax due. Depending on your situation you may have to pay more than what you paid or get a refund of a part of the amount you paid.
If you own an housing in Belgium, you have to pay a property tax. You also have to pay a road tax for any vehicle registered in Belgium and a vehicle registration tax if you buy a car. For more information about vehicle taxes, please see our webpage ‘Vehicle taxes’.
Becoming a Belgian citizen
You can automatically obtain Belgian nationality or voluntarily ask for it if it is not the case. Depending on your country of origin, you can obtain Belgian nationality and still retain your other nationality (dual nationality) or may have to renounce your original nationality when you become a Belgian citizen.
If you did not automatically obtain Belgian nationality but still want to become a Belgian citizen, you can apply for naturalisation.
For more information about Belgian nationality and naturalisation, please see the website of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs.