Moving to Brussels
FIND A PLACE TO STAY
Accommodation can be found, and if you are prepared to look for it and to compromise a little along the way, you will definitely find something worthwhile. On Facebook pages such as BXL A LOUER – de bouches à oreilles, Bxl à Louer – de bouche à oreille (II), and Flat board for EU stagiaires, you can also find several housing options, some of which are advertised by former trainees. You can also ask or search in Facebook groups with people from your country living in Brussels (ex. BRITS in Brussels, Greeks in Brussels etc) or for EXPATS in general (ex. Expats in Brussels). We also have a partnership with Housing Anywhere especially for incoming trainees, check out the partners section for more information.
Disclaimer: The Liaison Committee and Trainees' Committee actively advertise housing options in the Facebook and Telegram groups, upon request from landlords. However, we are not responsible for the housing deals that trainees agree to with landlords.
⚠️ Please be weary of scammers ⚠️
REGISTER WITH YOUR COMMUNE
You have to register yourself as an EU citizen with your local commune (depending on where you live in the 29 municipalities in Brussels - if you live in Brussels 1000, it is at Boulevard Anspach 6, 3rd floor)
When you go to your appointment, you have to have:
your traineeship acceptance letter to prove you have a job/income here
depending of the commune, 20-50 euros fee for the registration (they make it sound like you have to have this in cash but in reality, it is better if you pay by card)
2 photos (ID format, there are photomats in the main metro stations (e.g., Porte de Namur), it costs around 5-6 euros, but there is one in the administration office as well)
You will immediately get your national number here with an official paper (appendix 19), which you will have to give to the doctor etc
After you have done this, in about 2-4 weeks the police will pay you a visit to check whether you really live in that apartment, live with as many people as you claimed, etc. It is nothing to worry about, but make sure to put your name on the door and mailbox because they check it.
Four months after your first visit you can get your e-ID card, for which you have to get another appointment at the commune. You have to bring the document from your registration with your national number, ~25 euros (can be paid by card as well) and 1 photo. After this, they will send you a letter with a pin code to your official registered address in Belgium, with that, you will have to go back to get you ID.
If you want to leave Brussels after your traineeship, you will have to deregister from the commune.
These are the main service providers, and most of them have cheap (15 euros per month) SIM card options with 4 GB:
Here is an article that will maybe provide some more info on this.
For buying a phone with a plan you have to have a Belgian ID and your last payslip with you.
But you can use your phone from your home country and communicate with colleagues via Signal.
There are two different ticket machines. With the blue ones, you can only top up your MOBIB card, with the red ones you can buy normal tickets as well. One ticket costs 2.10 euros.
You can also pay with contactless bank card on the metro, trams and buses. More info on this here.
MoBIB cards can be used for all transportation provided by all four Belgian public transport operators (SNCB, STIB, De Lijn, TEC).
The personal MoBIB can only be used by the person whose name it is registered for, while MoBIB Basic can be used by more than one person. However, the personal MoBIB can be used to load a wider range of transport tickets including passes, single journey and multiple journey tickets, while the MoBIB Basic cannot be used for passes or discounted tickets. Here is a store locator for where you can buy both types of MoBIB cards.
You can find more info on the MoBIB cards here.
The Belgian railway system is operated by SNCB, tickets are of course available at the counters and machines at the stations, but you can also download the SNCB app and buy e-tickets there. There is a discount for people under 26 and for weekend tickets. Only return ticket options are available with the weekend ticket discount, you can return anytime by Sunday, and it is cheap (for example a standard return ticket to Ghent is 18.20 euros, while the weekend option is 10.20. Just a tip, the Youth ticket for people under 26 does not have the weekend option and for example for Ghent it is 13.20 for a return ticket on both weekdays and weekends, so you are better off buying a weekend ticket instead of using your discount).