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Moving to Belgium from US, Here’s What You Have to Know

Moving around from one European Union country to another isn’t just for EU citizens. Whether you’re pushing for Belgian citizenship, you’re about to work for a Belgian company, or you’re interested in the local business environment, Belgium is an excellent choice for people from all over the world.

However, unlike in the USA, Belgian authorities have a different set of rules for residence permits. Apart from all the bureaucracy, you also need a professional moving service to take all your belongings to your new destination.

But before getting there, here’s how to prepare when moving to Belgium.

Cost of Living in Belgium

On average, the cost of living in Belgium is about 1% higher than in the USA, whether you count food, health insurance or perhaps international schools. But on the other hand, rent is much lower in Europe, so Belgium is about 25% cheaper than the USA if you’re planning to rent.

Costs are higher in the Brussels capital region. Many Belgian nationals prefer other big cities that are slightly cheaper, such as Leuven, Antwerp, Gent and Liege.

Foreigners are likely to spend more in the beginning for Belgian residence permit applications with the Belgian embassy.

Visa and Residence Permits for Americans moving to Belgium

Most applications for a residence permit can be obtained from a local Belgian embassy, usually before you enter Belgium, just to play it safe. If you’re already in Belgium as a tourist, you can usually check with the local town hall.

The most common types of residence permits prior to getting the Belgian nationality include:

  • Student residence card, valid for up to two years and renewable, suitable for those who participate into the local education system.

  • Internship permit, suitable for those who have secured an internship and valid for a year. This is also a good option for au pairs.

  • Highly qualified worker, mainly aimed at directors, given with a three year work permit and renewable.

  • EU Blue Card, working as a long stay visa for a year and extendable. Once you move to Belgium, having this permit for 18 months gives you the right to move and work in other EU countries, too, without having Belgian nationality.

  • Professional card for new business owners or freelancers, usually given to foreign nationals for two years, but extendable in five year increments. It’s ideal for self employed professionals.

  • Belgium Business Residence Program, also known as the Belgium Golden Visa, suitable for a foreign national ready to invest a big amount of money.

  • Permanent residency permit, which usually leads to a dual citizenship, gives you the option to work in Belgium freely. Expats relocating to Belgium for this visa must live there for at least five years before getting it.

A family visa is also suitable if a family member lives in Belgium. You can apply for the family reunification purpose. For any of these visas, you need a valid passport and a specific type of application, which usually requires a form and passport photos, too.

Based on the visa you choose or employment contract you have, it may take anywhere between eight days and four months to get approved.

Belgium has three national languages. The official language is Dutch, but French and German are also recognized, depending on the area. In some parts of Belgium, French is considered more common.

For most visas, you don’t need to speak these national languages, but show sufficient financial means and a medical certificate, among other requirements.

Custom Regulations for Belgium

A move to Belgium comes with some requirements for American citizens. Whether you’re after a residence card, a professional card or one of the work permits, here’s a brief overview.

  • Documents include a passport, a non-valued packing list you’ll have to sign yourself, a copy of town hall registration based on where you move, an employment letter if you go for work and documents proving you haven’t lived there in the past year.

  • Custom regulations include an inventory of your items when Belgium moving, alcoholic items, diplomatic goods, wedding presents and inherited goods. For such things, you’ll need to complete different forms.

Should you request our moving service to take your car to this small country, title of registration, proof of insurance, purchase invoice and technical details are also required. For town hall certifications, you’ll need to register once you get accommodation.

Can I Move to Belgium With Pets?

Pets are family, indeed. For a US citizen to bring a furry friend over, they’ll require a microchip, proof of rabies vaccination, proof of tapeworm treatment for dogs and a passport. Pets younger than 15 weeks whose immunization isn’t older than 21 days cannot be imported, so you may have to wait.

Benefits & Drawbacks of Living in Belgium

The economic life in Belgium offers quite a few benefits:

  • Numerous job and business opportunities.

  • Low crime rates.

  • Excellent healthcare.

  • Diverse cuisine.

  • High education standards.

  • High salaries in the EU.

Social security protection is great, and there are three languages, so you can focus on learning whichever seems easier. It also depends on the linguistic division you pick.

In terms of drawbacks, there aren’t too many:

  • Personal income tax and other taxes are higher for those who work in Belgium compared to other countries in Europe, whether employed or self employed.

  • Belgian citizens are quite reserved, so social integration could be a bit challenging once you live in Belgium.

  • Belgium is one of the most crowded countries in Europe.

Best Cities to Live in Belgium

Not sure where in Belgium to relocate? Here are a few good options:

  • Brussels is the capital and hosts the NATO headquarters.

  • Antwerp has a massive mix of British and American nationals, so English is almost an official language. French is just as popular in this area.

  • Bruges is known for its amazing beauty, similar to Venice.

  • Gent is a mix of provincial towns and big cities, so there’s something for everyone in there.

Other good options include Rixensart, Leuven, Liege, Louvain-la-Neuve, Tervuren and Waterloo.

Our International Moving Services Explained

moving to belgium from us1Your international relocation requires planning in the smallest details only to prevent potential challenges. At Nobel Relocation, our movers have the expertise and experience to move everything you need to Belgium from the USA, regardless of the state or city. We’ve mastered this process before, ensuring a smooth transition for all your belongings.

We’ve handled all kinds of international relocation requests, not just in Belgium. We’ve managed to gather a team of professional moving experts who can ease the process, educate you on the requirements and make sure your paperwork is perfect for a smooth move.

Simply put, we specialize in end-to-end moving solutions.

We offer a bunch of extras and can advise in regards to your personal needs as well, whether it’s about a residence permit or the Belgian citizenship. We can advise you on the time needed when moving to Belgium, based on what time of the year to choose. All these things are at an affordable rate!

Our Moving Extras for a Smooth Move

moving to belgium from us2We don’t have any relocation solicitors or lawyers for foreign nationals. You can hire such services yourself for a long term visa or a work permit, but most people do these things themselves.

What we can do is advise you on the paperwork you need for your visa, work permit, and move. American citizens often apply themselves for whatever visa they require when they move to Belgium or a different country.

The good news is that such things are clearly explained on official websites, so you’ll usually have to complete some forms for the visa or social security, pay a fee, and wait for the result. You can usually do it in local Belgium embassies.

When it comes to the additional services provided by Nobel Relocation for moving to a different country, we offer the following services:

  • Packing and unpacking. We can save you time and money by using our own boxes, crates and packing materials.

  • Storage. Moving dates not matching? We can offer storage in the USA or a different country, such as Belgium.

  • Fine art transportation. Whether it’s fine art, glass or other fragile things, we can move these things safely to Brussels or other cities in your new country.

  • Vehicle transportation. We’ve moved cars and motorcycles before. We’ll also advise you on the paperwork required.

Why Choose Our Moving Service

There are quite a few reasons wherefore American citizens choose our professionals for their move to Brussels or other Belgian cities.

  • Excellent value for money. We offer a full package, regardless of what extras you may require, meaning we’re cheaper than booking separate services.

  • Professional guidance. We can guide you regarding the required paperwork, but you’d have to obtain most of it yourself.

  • Experience. We’ve done it before, we’ve moved people and their belongings from the USA to Belgium, so we know exactly what steps to go through.

  • On top of it. You’ll always know what stage your move is in and where your belongings are while in transit due to our regular updates.

  • Smooth and hassle free. Exactly! Forget about the stress associated with an international move. Go to Belgium, settle in, find a doctor or a school and explore the area while we take care of the rest.

Get in Touch With Us Today

We conduct moves to Belgium and other European countries year round. Reach out to our Nobel Relocation movers, and we’ll provide you a precise quote based on your needs.

Our quotes are free and come with no obligations whatsoever, so there’s literally nothing to lose when getting in touch with us for a quick chat.

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