8 Things to Consider Before You Move to Belgium
Belgium has much to offer, including over 800 beer brewers, thousands of chocolatiers and waffle houses on every street corner. What’s not to love? Of course, if you’re reading this you’ve probably made the best decision of your life, to move abroad and move to Belgium. Here, we’ll be going over all you need to know before packing your belongings (or having them packed for you), pocketing your passport and making the continent your new home.
Moving your belongings to Belgium
As long as you have owned your used household goods and personal effects for over 6 months, you can import them to any other EU country, duty-free. Any household goods must also be imported within 12 months of arriving and settling in Belgium. With regards to documentation, you will need your passport, a comprehensive inventory, a packing list in English and French (Google Translate will do) and a residence or work permit.
Customs prohibitions and restrictions
To make for smooth sailing, it’s advised not to bring large quantities of alcohol or tobacco into Belgium from another country. Generally, under 800 cigarettes and 10 litres of alcohol will be the maximum. If you exceed this you are tempting fate with customs, who will seize these items under suspicion of intended commercial use.
A further restriction applies to:
Ammunition and firearms
Narcotics, including some over the counter medications
Ivory, furs and materials pertaining to rare or endangered species
Moving your pets to Belgium
Relocating your pet to Belgium is a relatively easy affair nowadays. You’ll be happy to know that all they will need is:
A microchip or identity tattoo
Proof of tapeworm treatment (dogs only)
Proof of rabies vaccination
It is recommended that you travel with your pet to Belgium via car, ferry or both. But air travel with pets is common, too. It’s just that Belgium is a relatively near country to Britain, thus making car or ferry an ideal choice which allows you to tend to your pet throughout the journey.
Visas and Brexit
At the time of posting (March 2018), British citizens do not require a visa to live or work in France. However, with the Brexit negotiations (Britain’s exit from the European Union) still ongoing, the current visa status could change within the next few years. On the one hand, there could be tighter restrictions in place after a deal is struck, and on the other, it is likely that France and the UK will mutually agree to a system that’s similar to the current one. We highly recommend you keep up to date with the latest developments to stay ahead of the curve.
Languages in Belgium
The Kingdom of Belgium speaks three official languages and they are Dutch, French and German – in order of the highest number of speakers. Most Belgians speak multiple languages and English is a very common second (or rather third) language, especially in the larger cities. Over 55% speak a variation of Dutch known as Flemish, a further 36% speak French with minor variations over Parisian French and only 1% identify German as their first language. Naturally, these languages are most prevalent in the parts of the country which border their country of origin. Dutch is spoken most in Flanders (which borders the Netherlands), French in the southern regions (Willonia) and German in a small area on the eastern border.
Dutch is, therefore, an ideal language choice, especially if you are moving to the Flanders region where 59% of the population also speak English. If you are moving to Wallonia in the south, French will come in handy, especially since only approximately 18% of Walloons speak English.
Importing a vehicle to Belgium
Cars and vans can be imported to Belgium duty-free as long as they have less than 6,000km on the clock and have been owned for 6 months or fewer. An import will also be subject to compliance with vehicle emissions and other regulations which will depend upon the year and model of vehicle.
Chappell's Removals are the number one removals experts for commercial and domestic moves in Weybridge, Woking and the wider Surrey area. For over 40 years we’ve made international moves throughout the world that bit easier for every aspiring expat. Our services are comprehensive, so we take care of everything when moving abroad, from the initial packing of personal and valuable items to arranging shipment to your door, in the region and country of your choice. Don’t fret about logistics; make the move and do so with the right team for the job. For more information or to arrange a free quote, contact our friendly team today.