Visas and other residence documents

Man kijkt naar het vertrekbord op de luchthaven in Zaventem.
© Joris Casaer

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 at the Belgian embassy 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.

Import of personal effects

If you permanently move to Flanders, you probably want to bring some personal effects with you. Inform yourself in advance about the taxes you will have to pay. The amounts vary according to the country you come from and the nature of the goods you bring.

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 on the import of personal effects ((opens in new window)) (in Dutch or in French) on Belgium.be.

Civic integration path for newcomers in Flanders

If you move to Flanders or Brussels, it would be nice to take an active part in the 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. For some categories of people the civic integration path is mandatory. For minor, non-Dutch speaking newcomers, civic integration is accomplished through education and not through a civic integration path.

The Flemish authorities also offer a starters' kit for family migrants ((opens in new window)).

Social security

If you come and live in Flanders or Belgium, you must subscribe to a 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 health insurance, the health insurance fund will cover (a part of) your medical costs. The fund also pays the allocations you may receive in case of incapacity for work or maternity leave.

Belastingen

If you have your main residence in Belgium, you are automatically subject to the Belgian income tax and you receive a tax return every year. Fill in the tax return for the past year. You can submit your tax returns on paper or online via Tax-on-web.

After a few months, you will receive a tax sheet mentioning your tax due. Depending on your situation, you will have to pay extra or you’ll get a refund.

If you own a property 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.

Becoming a Belgian citizen

You can automatically obtain the Belgian nationality ((opens in new window)) or voluntarily ask for it if this is not the case. Depending on your country of origin, you can obtain the 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 want to become a Belgian citizen, you can apply for naturalisation.