Considerations for Expats Moving to Belgium from the UK

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Consifinancialderations for Expats Moving to Belgium from the UK

Belgium is an attractive destination for expatriates looking to relocate within the European Union, not least due to its position as the de facto capital of the EU and home to many European institutions.

This small, peaceful country offers excellent professional and educational opportunities, with charming Belgian cities and towns, historic architecture, a well-developed infrastructure and transport network, and the cuisine and culture that many expats prioritise.

As a unique location with three official languages, regions such as Gent, Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp have multicultural communities, with around 1.5 million international residents and roughly 30,000 UK citizens.


Visa Routes for British Citizens Moving to Belgium

There is little doubt that the Belgian government’s immigration rules are strict, owing to the demand for visas from non-EU citizens worldwide. However, the Belgian population has among the largest proportion of foreign nationals of any country internationally.

Belgium offers several potential visa categories depending on the purpose of your move, whether you intend to work or launch a business, and where you are relocating from. The D Visa is the most relevant visa for those outside the EU looking to live long-term in Belgium.

• Attending a meeting at the nearest Belgian embassy or consulate to discuss your application.

• Providing evidence of a valid passport and your civil status – such as marriage and birth certificates.

• Showing proof of comprehensive private health insurance alongside a medical certificate from the NHS.

British expats moving to Belgium to retire will be expected to provide evidence of sufficient financial means to support their lifestyle and ongoing living costs.


Finding Accommodation and Deciding Where to Live

Belgium offers the convenience of being a short distance from the UK – the average flight time between London and Brussels is just over one hour. It is common for expats to have previously visited the country and explored the cities and regions to decide where they would like to live.

Property prices naturally vary depending on whether you are buying a modern, spacious townhouse or apartment in the heart of the Brussels region or wish to purchase a traditional terraced house in the suburbs.

Searching for Employment and School Placements

English is widely spoken throughout Belgium, and there are several highly regarded international schools for families to choose between – although most are within Brussels, the capital city.

Annual fees for an international primary school placement are an average of €16,730 (£14,433), and a preschool place costs roughly €541 (£467) per child per month.

Belgium offers myriad job opportunities with many global companies, an unemployment rate well below the average across the EU member states, and buoyant manufacturing, tourism, legal, financial and service sectors.

Belgian Work Permit Categories

There are several types of work permits you may need to apply for:

• The A-category work permit applies to any paid occupation and is valid indefinitely. To be eligible, you must have lived in Belgium for at least ten years and have four years of work experience on a B-category work permit.

• B-category work permits are issued to expats working for and sponsored by a named employer and apply to areas of work where there is a shortage of qualified applicants already within Belgium.

• C-category work permits are offered to foreign national expats moving to Belgium temporarily and those with family members associated with the Belgian government or consulate.

Organising Finances, Taxation and Income Streams

Moving to any EU country requires careful planning, ensuring you know how your finances, income and tax obligations will change. The first step is often to calculate the costs of the move itself and the budget required to purchase or rent a home, but it is also essential to understand how your ongoing expenditures may change.

Expert Financial Guidance for Expats Moving to Belgium from the UK

For any further information about planning your move to Belgium from the UK, the costs of your relocation and how best to manage your ongoing finances, please get in touch with the Chase Buchanan Wealth Management Belgium office at your convenience.

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