Our monthly newsletter contains health and financial news, expat articles, social media recommendations and more.
Brussels - Registration, Permits & Other Documentation
In order to apply for an employee residency visa to work and live in Brussels, you must fulfill the following requests: a valid passport, two visa application forms (located at http://www.diplobel.us/Forms/pdf/ResidenceVisa.pdf) that are signed, dated, and completed, and three passport sized photographs. In addition, you must have an original and two duplicates of the following documents; your work permit, a nationwide criminal history record going back five years and dated within six months of your visa application (this can be obtained by going to http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm), a worker’s medical certificate (http://www.diplobel.us/Forms/doc/Med_Cert_Worker.doc ), and the visa application fee payable by cash or money order. A personal appearance to the consulate is required, even if you send your forms to your local consulate by mail. You can find your local consulate by visiting http://www.diplobel.us/Representatives/Consular.asp and selecting the state in which you reside.
Belgian ID cards are cards with chips inside that hold all of your identification data. Your information is not written on the card, which helps ensure privacy. Only institutions with special card readers are able to see your data. In Brussels, and Belgium as a whole, you are required to carry an official Belgian ID on you at all times. These cards are obtained as part of your residency application, and serve as proof of your right to reside in Belgium. To apply for a Belgian ID card, go to http://eid.belgium.be
Tourists and temporary residents in Brussels are allowed to drive with a valid US driving license. Many rental companies, however, require that you have an international driver’s license. You do not have to pass a test to obtain an international license, only to download and application from the American Automobile Association, or AAA at http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html within the United States and return it to your local AAA office. If you are already in Europe, simply mail your completed application to AAA at:
1000 AAA Dr.
Attn: Mailstop #28
There is also a program where, within your first year of living in Belgium, you can exchange your license for a Belgian license. For more information on this program, you should contact the Ministry of Communications Driving License Department at 02 287 44 36 or
Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 155
The majority of parking in Brussels and Belgium as a whole is on a fee-basis. There are parking meters at most spots, and the cities use what is known as a Blue-Zone parking system. The blue-zone system entails the use of a cardboard clock that you can buy at gas stations police stations, and newsstands that is set to the time you arrive at your destination.
If you have a child while in Brussels, you must register the birth with the Belgian authorities. You can do so by calling (+32) (0)2 508 2196 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If your child has claim to be a US citizen, you must also contact your local consulate to report a birth abroad.
There are two ways for US citizens to vote while living abroad in Brussels. The first is to visit the American consulate in Brussels Monday through Thursday or to visit http://www.fvap.gov to obtain an absentee ballot.
The address for the American Consulate in Brussels is as follows:
Boulevard du Regent 25
It is important to note that when filling out any official paperwork needed by the city of Brussels or the country of Belgium, you must fill it out entirely in French or Dutch, as those are the two official languages within the country. Most social services offices have interpreters on hand to help you with this task.
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.