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Visas and Permits to stay in Belgium as an EU resident

My boyfriend and I are moving to Belgium in August from the UK, we plan to stay long term (minimum 6 months - 1 year) and as current EU citizens, do we need to apply for any long-term stay visas/permits prior to arriving or getting a job?

We have read a lot of contradicting articles and it has been confusing, for a long time we have read that we do not require any sort of visa/permit until we get jobs, however we have also come across an article stating we need to apply for a long-term stay visa/permit prior to arriving in Belgium and prior to applying for jobs (unless we have misinterpreted this), are there any other EU residents that have moved to Belgium and what did you do?

Any knowledge/advice is greatly received.

Kind regards,
Claire

In your title you say resident, but in your post you say citizen. There is a big difference in as far as what you can do in the rest of the EU. Add the Schengen agreement which not all EU countries have signed, and yes, things do get a little more complicated.

When I was just a Belgian resident, I could move freely throughout the EU, Including Switzerland which isn't EU, but excluding the UK which is (was), and I could not work anywhere else, not without visa's, which would have been based on my original South Africa citizenship, and that is near impossible, as only a South African will know.

As far as I can tell, and while the UK hasn't left the EU, yet, EU law (freedom of movement) stipulates that citizens of the EU may freely live and work throughout the EU. You do not need any extra visa's etc, even after getting a job. What I know you have to do is notify your home embassy (UK) in your new country (Belgium) that you are now living in another EU country, at least that is what it says in my Belgian passport, should I choose to live elsewhere. The rest are just minor details.

Thanks for your response Sean.

When you say to notify the UK embassy in Belgium, should we do this when arriving or when we have found accommodation/job etc?

At first we are simply staying with friends until finding our own place, at what point would we have to notify the embassy?

Thanks,
Claire

I just edited my previous post. Are you both British citizens? If you are, I would contact Home Office or the embassy in Brussels, before or after you arrive. They should be able to tell you what to do. As you have accommodation with friends, I would just come on over and take it from there. It's not like you have far to go. You could also ask your local 'gemeente' after you get here what you have to do and when, with reference to wanting to get your own place. As much as the EU is supposed to be a union, there are different rules between countries, much like states in the USA. At least I know what I have to do as Belgian who might like to live elsewhere in the EU one day.

Thank you very much for your help and advice, it is greatly appreciated.

Claire

I'd be curious to know how it works out for you. Feel free to come back and post here :-)

You do NOT inform the UK embassy in Brussels about you living here.
Neither do you contact the Home Office. They won't know what to do with the information. It is ludicrous. I have over 20 years of experience, please be assured this information is just absolute rubbish. There is no obligation to inform anyone in the UK you have left, but if you want to stop paying things like electricity and council tax, of course you'll want to inform these people!

So here is the true advice.
If you are British citizens :
1) you find somewhere to live and get a contract or if with friends, you go to the maison communale / gemeentehuis with your rental contract, letter from friends, register!!! With friends, you ensure you register as "non apparente", ie not related, separate household. You have to do this procedure within 8 days of arriving, not once you find somewhere to live and it is likely to be in your interests not to delay it and wait till you have your own rental. Of course with freedom of movement it is very easy to lie and wait till you have a rental about arrival date, but if you do it immediately, you will be better in the long term.
2) if you don't yet have a job and no funds to support yourself like a bank account with 1 million in it, then you're likely to get a 90 day probationary period
3) if you wish to be treated as a couple and not 2 separate households, then you're going to have to do a co-habitation agreement and this has legal consequences so do read up about it.

Go visit the British embassy if you like but they might be a bit off with you, it's a ridiculous suggestion, there is no register of Brits living in Belgium or any other country of the world.

tervurener :

Go visit the British embassy if you like but they might be a bit off with you, it's a ridiculous suggestion, there is no register of Brits living in Belgium or any other country of the world.

Would you care to explain this to me then:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_diaspora

An embassy is set up abroad for may reasons, but also to protect the interests of its citizens living in the receiving country. They can't help you if they don't know you're there. Such help would include voting in your country of origin, and the renewing of things like passports. If you do ever decide to go to your local embassy for help, they will most likely ask you what you are doing in the foreign country. If there is no embassy from your original country, EU citizens may seek help/register with any EU embassy abroad.

It looks like I wrongly assumed the same rules would apply to all EU/UK citizens. I was only suggesting to do what it says to do in my Belgian passport, that is, to register at the Belgian embassy in the country I might one day choose to live in. And I quote, in Dutch:

"Belgen die zich in het buitenland vestigen, hebben er belang bij zich te laten inschrijven bij de diplomatieke of consulaire ambtenaar van België in wiens ambtsgebied zij verblijven."

Get hold of a Belgian passport and turn to the very last page, 32. Perhaps also a British passport, and check the fine print in that too.

It was following the rules and doing things by the book that allowed me to get Belgian citizenship and an EU passport in the first place, and coming from South Africa, I think few people outside that country have any idea how worthless and limiting an SA passport is, it really is that bad, and a 30% unemployment rate in SA only serves to make things worse. My future and that of my wife was on the line, but we decided to follow the rules, which has paid off in record time. Now we both have free reign within 27 member states, yet we have also decided it's best to stick to the rules. But make no mistake, I am no saint, I sometimes drink way too much and act silly.

By all means, if anyone feels like they want to shirk the rules, go ahead, you may well get away with it. But if, or quite possibly when it eventually all catches up to you, it might not be so pleasant.

I actually do have better things to do than spend time in this forum only to get verbally lambasted for suggesting what it says to do in an official document.

Many thanks for your response.

We have spoken directly to the Belgian Embassy in London and they have confirmed that we wouldn't need to notify the embassy or maison communale until we have our own accommodation and jobs.

I can't imagine anyone being "a bit off" by simply seeking help and advice.

Kind regards,
Claire

You are quoting what a Belgian must do when they  live abroad.
However the OP is British. Entirely different.
The British embassy in Brussels contains no register of its nationals in Belgium. It just doesn't exist.
It is my job.
There is no shirking of rules. There is no rule for British citizens to report to their embassy abroad.
There are 28 EU members. Not 27

If you wish to exercise EU treaty rights and look for a job / study / invest in  Belgium, registration is within 8 days.

If you wish to come to Belgium and look for work without seeing it as treaty rights, then you register once you have a job. You won't be in any trouble for not doing it in the 8 days this way, but it might be in your interest to do so, just to get access to medical care at the same rates, not emergency, that is already covered, plus if you're leaving behind any potential bill such as council ta x in the Uk, that is a good motivation to register in the 8 days.

If you've worked in  the UK in the last financial year, you can bring with you your social security contributions  (not literally though) with a form to get immediately covered by a mutuelle.

Clearly someone knows more than I do, I'm out.

Another Sean :

Clearly someone knows more than I do, I'm out.

:) I can relate to that. I am completely off nowadays because each and every answer was countered with zero respect in Belgium/Brussels forum.


Still my EUR 0.02.

When we stay for long term in a different country, we are advised (again, not mandated) to inform our Embassy (in my case; Indian Embassy in Brussels). It is just a formality so that embassy has a list of its citizens living here (mainly to use in case of an emergency: to broadcast relevant information, emergency procedures, emergency contact information, guidelines to citizens, etc. Being registered in their list (mailer) is good to stay informed about and invited to embassy's cultural programs, receive consular information, service information, etc.

aneeshks :
Another Sean :

Clearly someone knows more than I do, I'm out.

:) I can relate to that. I am completely off nowadays because each and every answer was countered with zero respect in Belgium/Brussels forum.


Still my EUR 0.02.

When we stay for long term in a different country, we are advised (again, not mandated) to inform our Embassy (in my case; Indian Embassy in Brussels). It is just a formality so that embassy has a list of its citizens living here (mainly to use in case of an emergency: to broadcast relevant information, emergency procedures, emergency contact information, guidelines to citizens, etc. Being registered in their list (mailer) is good to stay informed about and invited to embassy's cultural programs, receive consular information, service information, etc.

Ok, maybe I'll say this then. It was only a suggestion, so to call it utter rubbish etc etc was just a little uncalled for. Like I say, I have better things to do than come in here to argue with people I don't know, or who have no idea just how much I might actually know, considering I have travelled to 35 countries, and lived and worked, legally, in a few of them.

No, I don't claim to know everything about world immigration policies nor do I boast about my entire level of experience, you might be shocked if I did.  At the end of the day, the OP must collect the information and make their own decision. This is the open internet. Anyone who blindly follows advice from strangers, well, thats up to you.

Again, I was / am only suggesting to look into it. Call them up, they worst they can say is....well whats the worst thing that can happen by simply calling an embassy and asking a simple question? other than sometimes being a little off. It's their job to serve their citizens, your tax money pays their salaries. And most embassy staff are citizens of the sending country, living as residents in the receiving country, who may well or rather should know the local immigration policies. It is recommended, but by no means obliged, for South African citizens living abroad to register with their local embassy. However, I elected not to, as based on experience with my country of birth, this would have been pointless, the SA embassy in Brussels is always off. But now that I'm a Belgian citizen, even more pointless. Should I move on one day, I'll consider the benefits of notifying my local embassy. Who knows, maybe I'm running and hiding from something.....and I don't want the local embassy to know that I'm sipping Piña Colada's on some isolated tropical beach.....

Completely agree. Your suggestion makes sense and yes we all are making suggestions based on our expat and travel experience. Appreciate your time helping others.

I used to give suggestions based on practical experience but like in this case, was often countered with such negative and offensive responses (particularly from one member) that I stopped doing it anymore. I don't feel like. Like you say we have better things to utilise our time on.

Cheers !!

Hi everybody,

Expat.com is not the right place for arguments.  :sick
We are on a friendly website where all members are invited to share their personal expat experiences and their knowledge with other members. Everyone is welcome and should feel welcomed to share here.

It is obvious that each experience is different but this is not a viable reason to criticize or to be rude with other members.  :nothappy:

If you think that there are some misleading information on the forum, please share the source of the real information so that it can clear doubts of everyone on the forum.
But again this is not a reason to be rude, we should all respect each other and exchange information politely.

Thank you,

Priscilla

Don't let the rude "trolls" of the internet withhold you from helping those in need of some friendly advice.

ClaireSto :

Don't let the rude "trolls" of the internet withhold you from helping those in need of some friendly advice.

Don't worry, I'm still around, but I am busy with other things at the moment.

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