How to Register in Belgium as a Foreigner

Register in Belgium

Register in Belgium

Once you sign a lease or have a permanent address in Belgium, you have eight days to register at the Aliens Registration Department of the nearest local council. There are 19 locations in Brussels alone. Here you will find the ‘Office des Etrangers’. Get there very early in the morning, especially if you are living in a busier commune. Sometimes the Office des Etrangers is appointment-only.

In most cases, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of address
  • A handful of passport size photos
  • A small fee
  • A one-page form with your details.

If you are married, be sure to have your marriage certificate with you. Here you can also get your number for registration in the national pension register. You will also need this registration number when you enter Belgium to look for work with an E-303 form.

Next Steps: The Police Visit

Take home the form they give you and wait for a policeman to verify your address in the coming weeks. If you’re not there when they come, they might leave a note for you to contact the local police station, or they might come back. The purpose of the police visit is only to confirm that you live where you say you live. Typically, within one to two weeks after your commune registration, you should receive a visit. If you don’t receive a visit from your local police within two weeks, contact your local commune to make sure that they have actually requested a police visit.

On the day of the police visit, they may ask you some questions about who else lives there, and how long you both have been there. They will fill out some paperwork and ask to see your passport. Then you will need to sign the form stating that you live there. The whole visit should take less than 30 minutes.

After the Police Visit

After verification by the local police, you will receive a request to present yourself again at the Aliens Registration Department with the following:

  • At least three passport photos
  • Employer’s certificate
  • A small fee (check with them to find out what the latest fee is
  • Identity documents such as a valid passport or identity card issued by your country of origin and, if married, your marriage certificate.

You may also need:

  • A certificate of good conduct/criminal background check pertaining to the prior five years (issued by the national police of the former country or countries of residence)
  • A medical certificate from a doctor approved by the Belgian government
  • A birth certificate and birth certificates for any children.

Then, go to the commune at the allotted time and allow several hours for the appointment and make sure to be on time; otherwise they may put you at the back of the line. You will fill out some forms to get you enrolled on the Aliens’ Register.

In 2-4 weeks, you will get a slip from the commune saying that your card is ready for pick-up. Once you get your card and its electronic codes, you are legally registered in Belgium.

If you move to a different commune, you have to tell your new commune within eight days of moving. This is a necessity for everyone, not just foreigners.

While looking for work, you will be issued with a registration certificate that is valid for three months. It can be renewed for one year or until you receive permanent resident status. Once you have a fixed address and a regular income, you should then apply for a blue card (EU residence card), which is valid from one to five years and renewable for the foreseeable future.

When you receive your residence card (blue card), your name and details are entered in the population register of the relevant administrative district. You must notify any change of address or of personal status.

The process to be completely registered and settled in may take much longer than expected, so be sure to have an ample dose of patience.

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About Addison Sears-Collins

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