First steps after moving from England to Belgium

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Moving to Belgium is fairly straightforward, as long as you follow the rules outlined in this article about the first steps after moving from England to Belgium.

Before moving from England to Belgium

A little preparation before your move will make your arrival much easier. Learning at least the basics of the local language, Dutch, will be extremely helpful. It is important to collect all the necessary documents.

Moving from England to Belgium, identity card and other documents

The first stop is the town hall to obtain an identity card. For this you need:

Three good quality photographs,

Proof of identity – passport,

Proof of residence – even if only temporary,

Proof of financial capacity – a letter from your employer or, in the case of a pension, bank statements for the last three months,

Fee – about 15 euros.

You will receive a document confirming registration and payment, but not a card (document). Before you receive it, the service will visit you to verify your address. Then you can get a temporary permit for three months, followed by an identity card valid for 5 years. Unlike in the UK, you must carry it at all times, and the police can fine you if you do not have the document with you at any inspection.

You also have to register with a doctor, e.g. a dentist, find a hairdresser, join one or two clubs, socialise. In short, to start a life.

Again, you can get your driving licence at the town hall. Although your UK licence is recognised in Belgium, it is a good idea to get a Belgian/European driving licence. Ending validity at 70 (looking at the UK) is not a problem, and your document will be renewed for 10 years. You will need for this:

Two good quality photographs – passport size,

A UK driving licence,

Your new identity card,

Cash – about €25.

Insurance

You will need medical insurance, car insurance and home and property insurance.

Car insurance is essential as Belgium has more than twice as many deaths per 100,000 population as the UK. Some roads are very busy; some are narrow, winding and hilly, plus weather conditions can increase the risk. It is also expensive, as are repairs.

Banking

You will need to find a bank and open a new account. Online banking is easy, but make sure you speak the language well enough to get through the paperwork. If you are not comfortable with this – ask a friend.

Wills

Belgian law can differ from UK law when it comes to inheritance, so it would be wise to invest in proper advice.

Medical matters

You need to register with a local GP, as you would in England, and find a dentist, for example.