Moving to Belgium from US

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Introduction

Belgium is known for its superior public facilities and enhanced standard of living. This is the primary reason why people around the world aspire to move to this majestic country in search of new opportunities.

Your move to Belgium is an exciting opportunity for new beginnings, adventures, and endless possibilities. However, planning and executing a move to a foreign nation can be complicated, to say the least, as there are various factors and considerations that must be acknowledged by the concerned parties.

To make the overall aspect of moving to Belgium easier, this post highlights some of these factors that will help you to prepare for the move effectively.

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Cost of Moving to Belgium from the US

This cost can vary depending on several factors, such as the mode of transportation, the size of your shipment, the distance between your current location and Belgium, and the services you require. Here are some of the main expenses you should consider when planning your move:

International Shipping:

If you plan to bring your belongings, you must arrange for an international moving company to ship your goods to Belgium. The shipping cost can vary depending on the size of your shipment and the distance between your current location and Belgium.

Visa and immigration fees:

You could have to pay visa and immigration costs depending on the sort of visa you’re applying for. For example, a Schengen visa fee can be around $80, while a long-term visa fee can be around $250.

Travel expenses:

If you plan to fly to Belgium, you must consider the cost of airfare, transportation to and from the airport, and any necessary travel documents (e.g. passport, travel insurance).

Housing expenses:

The cost of housing in Belgium can vary depending on the location and the type of housing you choose. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in a central area of Brussels can cost around $1,000 to $1,500 per month while buying a home can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Living expenses:

The cost of living in Belgium can vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits. Generally, daily expenses such as food, transportation, and utilities can cost around $1,500 to $2,500 per month for a single person.

Cheapest Shipping Options

When it comes to shipping options, there are several types of services to consider:

International Drop-off:

This is a service offered by some shipping companies that allow you to drop off your package at a designated location, where it will be shipped to Belgium. This can be a cost-effective option if you are able to transport your goods to the drop-off location yourself.

International Standard Shipping:

This is a more traditional shipping option that involves shipping your package to Belgium through a moving or shipping company. This can be a good option if you have a larger shipment or if you are unable to transport your goods to a drop-off location.

Express Mail Service (EMS):

EMS is a faster shipping option that is offered by many shipping companies. It can be more expensive than standard shipping, but it may be worth considering if you need your goods to arrive in Belgium quickly.

Freight Shipping:

If you have a large shipment or bulky items, freight shipping may be a good option. This involves shipping your goods on pallets or in crates, and it can be more cost-effective than shipping individual items.

At Earth Relocation, we provide services for individuals and businesses who are moving overseas. We offer a wide range of relocation services, including international shipping, air freight, sea freight, storage, and packing and unpacking services.

The cost of living in the United States and Belgium can vary depending on the specific location and lifestyle of the individual. However, we can provide you with some general information-

Food 

According to Numbeo, the cost of groceries in Belgium is about 10-15% higher compared to the US.

Transportation: 

The cost of gasoline is significantly cheaper in the US, but the cost of public transportation is generally higher in the US. For example, the cost of a monthly public transportation pass in a major city in the US can be around $100-$200, while in Belgium, it can be around $60-$100.

Healthcare: 

The US has a complex healthcare system that can be expensive for those who do not have insurance, while Belgium has a universal healthcare system that provides affordable healthcare to its citizens.

Taxes: 

Taxes in Belgium are generally higher compared to the US, especially for those with higher incomes. However, the tax system in Belgium provides a higher level of social welfare and public services compared to the US.

Cost of Housing

Variables
US
BELGIUM
Internet Connection
$70
$50
1 Bedroom Apartment
$1450
$770
1 Bedroom Apartment in the periphery
$1170
$635
Utilities (includes water, gas, electricity, heating, etc.) *for 2
$135
$130

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Visa Process and Requirements

Several visa types are available for entry to Belgium, depending on the purpose and length of your stay. Here are some of the main visa categories:

  • Schengen Visa: This visa allows you to stay in Belgium and other Schengen Area countries for up to 90 days within 180 days for purposes such as tourism, business, or medical treatment.
  • Short-Term Visa: This visa allows you to stay in Belgium for up to 90 days for specific purposes, such as attending a conference or participating in a cultural event.
  • Long-Term Visa: This visa is for individuals planning to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days, such as for work, study, or family reunification.
  • Student Visa: This visa is for individuals who have been accepted to a Belgian university or college and plan to study in Belgium for over 90 days.
  • Work Visa: This visa is for individuals who have a job offer from a Belgian employer and plan to work in Belgium for more than 90 days.
  • Family Reunification Visa: This visa is for family members of Belgian citizens or residents who wish to join them in Belgium.

It’s important to note that each visa category has its requirements and application process. It’s recommended to check with your country’s Belgian embassy or consulate for more information and guidance on which visa category is appropriate for your situation.

Documents Required

The required documents for each type of visa in Belgium can vary depending on the individual’s circumstances and the specific visa category. However, here is a general list of documents that may be required for each type of visa:

Schengen Visa:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Passport or travel document valid for at least 3 months after the intended stay
  • Two recent passport-sized photos
  • Travel medical insurance
    Proof of accommodation in Belgium
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the cost of the stay
  • Proof of purpose of the visit (e.g. invitation letter, travel itinerary)

Short-Term Visa:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Passport or travel document valid for at least 3 months after the intended stay
  • Two recent passport-sized photos
  • Proof of purpose of the visit (e.g., conference invitation, cultural event registration)

Long-Term Visa:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Passport or travel document valid for at least 3 months after the intended stay
  • Two recent passport-sized photos
  • Proof of purpose of the stay (e.g., university acceptance letter, job offer)
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the cost of the stay
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Health certificate
    Proof of accommodation in Belgium
  • Proof of health insurance

Student Visa:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Passport or travel document valid for at least 3 months after the intended stay
  • Two recent passport-sized photos
  • University acceptance letter
  • Proof of financial means to cover the cost of living and tuition fees in Belgium
  • Proof of accommodation in Belgium
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Health certificate
  • Proof of health insurance

Work Visa:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Passport or travel document valid for at least 3 months after the intended stay
  • Two recent passport-sized photos
  • Job offer letter
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the cost of living in Belgium
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Health certificate
  • Proof of accommodation in Belgium
  • Proof of health insurance

Family Reunification Visa:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Passport or travel document valid for at least 3 months after the intended stay
  • Two recent passport-sized photos
  • Proof of family relationship to Belgian citizen or resident
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the cost of living in Belgium
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Health certificate
  • Proof of accommodation in Belgium
  • Proof of health insurance

It’s important to note that the above list is not exhaustive, and additional documents may be required depending on the individual’s specific circumstances. We recommend you to check with the Belgian embassy or consulate in your country for more information on the required documents for your visa application.

Healthcare Options in Belgium

Belgium has a universal healthcare system that is funded by a combination of government funding and contributions from employers and employees. The healthcare system in Belgium is known for its high quality of care and accessibility, and it provides coverage for a wide range of medical services.

Access to healthcare:

All residents of Belgium are required to have health insurance, and the majority of healthcare services are covered by the national health insurance system. This includes medical consultations, hospital care, and prescription drugs. In addition, there are no waiting lists for essential medical treatments in Belgium.

Cost of healthcare:

While healthcare costs can vary depending on the specific service, the overall cost of healthcare in Belgium is generally considered to be lower than in other Western European countries. Patients are typically responsible for a copay or deductible for certain services, but these costs are generally low.

Dental care:

While basic dental care is covered by the national health insurance system in Belgium, many dental services are not covered, such as cosmetic procedures. Patients are typically required to pay out of pocket for these services.

Jobs for Americans in Belgium

Belgium has a diverse and dynamic job market, with opportunities in a range of sectors, including finance, technology, healthcare, engineering, and more. The country is home to a number of multinational corporations and is a hub for international trade and commerce, making it an attractive destination for job seekers from around the world.

Here are some key features of the job market in Belgium:

Multilingualism:
Belgium is a multilingual country with three official languages – Dutch, French, and German. This makes knowledge of one or more of these languages a valuable asset in the job market.

High standard of living:
Belgium has a high standard of living and a strong social welfare system, which can make it an attractive destination for job seekers who value work-life balance and social benefits.

Strong economy:
Belgium has a diverse and robust economy with a strong focus on technology, research, and innovation. The country is home to a number of international companies and organizations, including the European Union and NATO.

Education and training:
Belgium has a well-developed education and training system, with a number of universities, technical schools, and vocational training centers throughout the country.

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Banks & Taxes

Belgium has a well-developed banking sector with a range of domestic and international banks operating in the country. The banking system is regulated by the National Bank of Belgium and offers a wide range of financial services, including savings accounts, loans, and credit cards.

Belgium has a progressive tax system, which means that individuals with higher incomes pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. The country also has a value-added tax (VAT) system, which applies to most goods and services. Additionally, there is a range of other taxes in Belgium, including property taxes, social security contributions, and local taxes.

Best Places to Live in Belgium as an American

The best place to live in Belgium depends on individual preferences, lifestyle, and personal circumstances. However, here are some popular and highly recommended places to live in Belgium:

Brussels:
Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and the administrative center of the European Union. It is a multicultural and cosmopolitan city with excellent transportation links, great food, and a vibrant cultural scene. Brussels is also home to numerous international organizations, making it a great place for professionals.

Bruges:
Bruges is a charming medieval city known for its picturesque canals, cobblestone streets, and historic buildings. It is a popular tourist destination and an excellent place to live for those who enjoy a relaxed pace of life and appreciate history and architecture.

Ghent:
Ghent is a vibrant city with a rich history and cultural scene. It has a large student population, giving it a youthful and dynamic atmosphere. Ghent is also known for its excellent food, especially its local specialties such as Flemish stew and waffles.

Leuven:
Leuven is a small city located east of Brussels, known for its prestigious university and beautiful Gothic architecture. It has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and is home to many parks and green spaces, making it an excellent place to live for those who enjoy a quieter lifestyle.

Antwerp:
Antwerp is a bustling port city located in the north of Belgium. It is known for its fashion industry, art scene, and historical landmarks. Antwerp has a diverse population and is home to many expats, making it an excellent place to live for those who want to experience different cultures.

FAQs

1.How do I find a job in Belgium?

There are many online job search websites available in Belgium, such as StepStone and Indeed. You can also check with recruitment agencies or reach out to companies directly to inquire about job openings. Networking can also be an effective way to find job opportunities in Belgium.

2. Do I need to learn French or Dutch to live in Belgium?

Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. The language(s) you need to learn will depend on the region of Belgium where you plan to live. In Brussels, for example, both French and Dutch are widely spoken. However, many people in Belgium also speak English, especially in urban areas and in the expat community.

3. How does the work-life balance in Belgium compare to the US?

Belgium is known for having a better work-life balance than the US, with shorter workweeks, more paid vacation time, and a greater emphasis on leisure time. This can be seen as both a benefit and a downside, depending on your work and lifestyle preferences.

Conclusion

If you are planning to move to Belgium from the US, working with a relocation company like Earth Relocation can be a good option to help you with relocating your goods from the US to Belgium.

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