How hard is it to immigrate to Belgium?
It may be quite difficult to obtain a residence permit in Belgium, due to the strict immigration policies, in contrast with other European countries.
High living standards and excellent public facilities are two of the things that have made Belgium a popular destination for expats. According to the OECD Better Life Index, Belgium offers a high quality of housing, income, employment, and education.
But expat life in Belgium can be wonderful. Public facilities and living standards are of high quality. Crime rates are low in general, especially outside Brussels and Antwerp. The country is home to an outstanding healthcare system with some of the lowest private healthcare costs in the European Union (EU).
To move to Belgium from the USA, you must apply for the right residence permit and a long-stay visa to enter the country. These are the most common types of permits to live in Belgium as an American: Student Residence Card. Internship Permit.
- administrative staff.
- electricians, plumbers, joiners and plasterers.
- engineers, technicians and mechanics.
- IT staff.
- nurses and midwives.
- project managers.
What make Portugal the easiest country in Europe to gain citizenship is that there are no physical presence requirements. Meaning you only need to hold your resident permit in order to qualify for naturalization. You don't need to spend most of the year in the country like most other countries.
Knowing the official language of the Belgian city where you live will make you feel more comfortable, integrated and at home. But of course, if you live in an international city like Brussels and have a job in your pocket or you're staying for a relatively short time, you can get by just speaking English.
Living costs in Belgium usually vary between 700 – 950 EUR/month. In big cities, you might need a larger budget, but this largely depends on accommodation type and your spending habits. Here are a few examples of average living costs in some Belgian student cities: Antwerp: between 780 – 1,230 EUR/month.
There are 3 ways to become a Belgian citizen on application: Acquiring: you are at least 18 years old. Granting: you are under 18 years old. Naturalisation: an exceptional favour granted to people over 18 years old or to emancipated people who submit a request for naturalisation to the Chamber of Representatives.
A good salary would be the one that's enough to sustain your lifestyle and leave room for savings. A good net salary in Brussels is around €2,450/month or €45,600 annually before taxes. Providing for a family of 4 means your household should make around €4,500/month net or €108,000 gross annually in total.
Does Belgium have a lot of immigrants?
Table 1. Total Population by Nationality in Belgium.
|Brussels Capital Region|
|Total Foreign Population||352,344|
Working in Belgium offers a great salary and benefits
With a minimum wage of €1,842.28 and a gross median salary of €3,321 per month, Belgium's among the countries with the highest salaries in Europe.
Life in Belgium for expats with children is not difficult at all. On the contrary: the country offers good quality services that are generally very appreciated by families. However, it is important to take into account the issue of schooling for your kids. It is possible to use the Belgian school system.
Though the cost of living in Belgium is far from cheap, it's generally not as expensive as other prominent European destinations. Brussels ranked 39th out of 227 countries in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2022.
The municipal authority forwards the application for permanent residence of an EU citizen who has resided in Belgium for at least five years from the date of registration in the waiting list register to the Immigration Office.
- Petrochemical Industry. The petrochemical industry offers an average salary of €5,282. ...
- Management Consultancy. ...
- Computer Programming. ...
- Financial Services. ...
- Pharmaceutical Industry. ...
- Scientific Research. ...
- Chemical Product Manufacturing. ...
- Air Transportation.
Speaking English only is indeed possible, at work but also in your day-to-day life. Belgium being a small, northern European country split between two languages, English is quite widely accepted. It isn't uncommon for native French speakers to communicate with native Dutch speakers in English (or vice versa).
After analysing the salaries across Belgium's economic sectors, national statistics office Statbel has found that the lowest paid employees in Belgium are waiters and bartenders while the highest paid employees are directors of large companies.
Malta. Malta has one of the speediest routes to citizenship of the country and by extension the EU, with a fast-track program enabling citizenship within one year in return for an investment of at least 750,000 Euros into government programs, government bonds or donation to an approved organisation.
The fastest way of getting a second passport is participating in the St Kitts and Nevis or Vanuatu citizenship by investment program. The obtaining period is 2 months. In Vanuatu, it's easier to pass the Due Diligence check, but a St Kitts and Nevis passport provides more benefits.
Which European country is a hardest to immigrate to?
Switzerland. Foreign-born residents in Switzerland who wish to become citizens must have a C permit, which allows a person to live and work in Switzerland. The permit requires five years of continuous residence in Switzerland for E.U.
The Cost of Living
The city enjoys the second highest salaries in Europe. The drawback is that you'll also experience very high taxes (20% – 50%). The tax collected is invested in the healthcare system, education and social security. Belgium also levies a high rate on VAT – 21%.
For ex-pats moving to Brussels long-term, it is highly recommended to learn at least one of the local languages. The official languages in Belgium are Dutch (Flemish), French and German.
Visa for retirement in Belgium
If you're looking to retire to Belgium from a non-EU/EFTA country, you must first apply for a type D (long-stay) visa at your local Belgian embassy or consulate. One of the main requirements will be to show that you can support yourself without working.
Living in Liege is cheaper than living in Brussels, Antwerp or Ghent. Especially thanks to the lower rental prices, which are about 29.22% lower than in Ghent. On average, you'd spend around €900 per month living in Liege alone.