Practical information for living in Belgium



If your home nation is part of either the EU or EEA, then you do not require a visa or work permit to live, study and work in Belgium. However, if you are staying for longer than 3 months it is necessary to contact your local municipality to be put on the population register and to receive a foreigner's identity card.

Other internationals

There are two types of visa available. You can either obtain a schengen visa, which allows you to live and study in Belgium for up to 90 days. This is cool, but not helpful if you’re doing a longer programme that 3 months.

The alternative Belgian visa is called a long-term, or D visa. This is quite easy to obtain, though there are one or two contributions (aka fees) which must be made before you can obtain the visa. As a student, you will need to reveal the following documents to obtain your visa:

  • Letter of acceptance from a Belgian university

  • Your passport

  • Proof of financial means (€617 per month)

  • A medical certificate

  • Proof of no criminal record (for over 21s)

To work or complete an internship in Belgium you will have to obtain a Belgian work permit. There are various conditions attached to work permits depending on the type of work and your country of origin, so read up carefully on these once you’ve received your job offer.

Opening a Belgian bank account

Opening a bank account in Belgium is nice and easy - you generally only need to fill out a form and use your passport as ID! Some banks may ask for proof of address, so you may not be able to open your account until you have finalized your accommodation. You will automatically receive monthly bank statements, though generally these will be electronic, and you can manage your bank accounts online or potentially through a mobile banking app.

Getting a SIM card in Belgium

There are 3 major players in Belgium when it comes to mobile tariffs: Orange, Proximus and Base. Proximus has the best LTE (4G) coverage, with around 80% of the country, while Orange tends to offer the largest amount of data. My recommendation is to look online to try and find the best deal. If you’re heading to Belgium on an exchange, then you’ll probably have hundreds of fellow students also looking for the best contract, and word of mouth will land you with a good one. That’s usually how it goes with exchange students!

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