Visa questions - Logistics from USA to Belgium

We are (hopefully) going to be retiring to Belgium in May of 2021, and starting to get a timeline put together.

The thing I can't find out online is if there is any sort of time limit between getting the Visa approved and when one actually arrives in Belgium.  Our current plan is to schedule the interview/meeting with the Belgian Consulate in NYC beginning of September, 2020, so that the Visas will hopefully get approved and in our hands by the end of the year, and we can then start the year by making all the necessary arrangements, notification for work and lease, make the plane reservations to go out and look for a place, move, etc.

Is that logistically feasible?

Also, how long does it take to get the FBI report (as it has to be within a specific timeframe for the Consulate to accept it...)

Thanks for any help/advice!

I am living in US and planning to move to Belgium. I recently got my FBI clearance, it was done in about 2 weeks. FBI clearance is valid for 6 months so make sure not to do it too early.

Well, I don't remember about visa D (long stay), but for visa C (short stay) it is: date of approval by immigration + 3 months.
I'm pretty sure it's nearly similar for long stay, but it needs to be confirmed (embassy)

At some point, you don't really care as your visa will be valid for 1 year and it will be replaced by your Belgian foreigner ID card once you're here.
You'll need to renew it every year for 5 years, then you can request to be a permanent resident (D card renewable every 5 years / request double nationality).


Before going to Belgium, you must make sure that every single papers that will be used by administration to get your ID card, is no older than 6 months. (translation + apostile)
So, what I mean is that the embassy will ask for no older papers than 6 months while doing your visa, and if your visa is approved (visa D takes time!), you must make sure that your papers are not older than 6 months old when you arrive in Belgium to request your foreigner ID card at the commune, or you'll need to do new one before leaving USA. (some communes do accept 7 months maximum to avoid the cost of translation/legalization/apost, but you'll need to contact them to make sure if it's ok)

The main point of your visa is to show you'll have enough money to not be a burden to our government + insurance for you stay (first you need an international health insurance (30.000€ minimum in Schengen State), then you can switch to a Belgian one/mutuelle (way cheaper) once you've your ID card) + cover letter to give reasons why you want to retire in Belgium (tie, friends, several trip to Belgium before, ...)

The more money you can show (bank account, monthly retirement money, ownership, ...), the faster and smother your visa will go. You can ask further information to the embassy about that topic.
Non-EU retiring is 'not' common on this forum, and there's not much documentation online.
Few peoples will be able to really help you, so by default, I'd tell you to ask Belgian's embassy in Washington or any consulate in the US.

And don't forget to share your experience  :cheers:

Thanks for the info.  We hopefully have all the resources necessary for a speedy approval (checked with tax lawyer/accountant in Belgium over the summer and he was optimistic so...) and as we have family there they hopefully will write us a nice letter of recommendation :)

I'll give the consulate an email to get verification on when we should apply to have all documents by a date that will be valid (and still give us time to do all that needs to be done). The 'joy' is the necessity of working backwards. We have an exact date our lease is up here and work can end. Need to let our apartment here know by a certain date we won't be renewing lease. Need to let various work aspects know. and need to get plane tickets for move and apartment hunt. Wheee! (and the FBI and Medical Certificate requirements have a narrow window of acceptance so timing is everything there too).

Question on the insurance you mentioned.  I had thought that we'd be having to get insurance through a company like Cigna or Alliance a we hadn't been paying into the system. Are you saying we start with that and once we get our ID card we can apply for a local insurance plan in Antwerp that will be cheaper?  If so where would we look into that (as I've been budgeting for Alliance/Cigna...which while a lot cheaper than here in the US, is still a nice chunk of change :)

Thanks for all your help. Yeah retiring in Belgium isn't the norm (even people in Antwerp were asking why we were doing this...it's a lot cheaper than NYC....so....). But it's feeling like a really good fit.

Yes, this is exactly what I mean.


You need a Schengen insurance that cover you for at least 30.000€ (which is not much...) to travel to Belgium: this is one of the mandatory step to cross the border (even with a visa-free access as a tourist).
==> This is a health insurance for foreigners that come in Europe.
It can be any international health care in the world that cover you in any Schengen State for your stay.


Once, you're in Belgium and you are a resident, you can switch to a Belgian/European insurance which are way cheaper and with a way better cover than any international one.
==> This is a health insurance for resident in Europe and valid everywhere in Europe.
That can be done once you'll receive your id number (and so, your belgian id card)


Once you're in Belgium, you'll have to go to a "mutuelle/ziekenfonds" of your choice to register (social security - "obama care" but way better) and you can also pick a complementary insurance such as Axa, DKV, ... that pay back what the mutualite will not refund if you need health care.
DKV is most probably the best health care in Belgium (with Axa and very few others), but also one of the most expensive (but never as much as you pay in the US... +/- 500/700€ per year depending on the options you take / age / )
And as you know, Belgium has one of the best health care in the world. You don't need to go to private and expensive hospital like in the US. Still, some hospitals are better than others...!


So, you just need a Schengen insurance for something like 2-3 months (ask the embassy to know the timeframe to get the ID card - administration, verification by the cops of your address, ...) and then switch to the european health care.

Wow. Since I was thinking Cigna and alliance was a deal for us at 600 for the two of us...per month... that’s good to know!

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