MOVING TO BRUSSELS
FIND A PLACE TO STAY
If you have to go through real estate agencies and you want to have a place on your own, be prepared that you will be asked to fill in a “formulaire de candidature”, and they will ask you to send them the copy of your employment contract and your ID.
We were told this on the administrative welcome:
According to the law in the Brussels Capital region (Brussels Housing Code), you can have a short term lease contract (for a period between 6 months and 3 years).
If you want to leave earlier, you have to give a notice of 3 months and pay 1 month rent extra as penalty (But this differs from contract to contract, for example I have the 3 month notice but not the 1 month extra rent.)
The notice has to be sent as courrier recommandé and it has to be sent the latest on the last day of the month preceding your notice (e.g. if you want to leave the apt after March, you will have to give notice until the end of December - again, this is what we were told on the administrative welcome session, it differs from contract to contract)
Also, be really careful and read the contract very thoroughly, have a French-speaking person check it for you! The real estate market is really scarce because of corona and there are lots of attempts to scam people in Brussels.
logement.brussels - you can find some info here on what is your responsibility as tenant
Apart from the rent, you usually have to pay the following charges:
private charges (your utilities - internet, water, electricity, etc)
common charges (for the maintenance of the common places in the building, e.g. elevator, cleaning)
provision or forfait
When you move into your new place, you will have to record an inventory or état des lieux. It’s usually done together with the landlord/landlady when you move in, but for me it was different, my contract included photos and descriptions of the equipment in the flat and
My advice is not to ever move into a non-furnished flat. I had a friend who did so to save some money. She bought furniture from IKEA (keep in mind that it’s closed on Sundays), but it is not possible to get most of the furniture upstairs since most buildings have very steep and narrow staircases. She had to call the commune to have the parking spot in front of her house reserved, then she had to arrange the delivery with this massive crane-like vehicle that could lift the furniture and get it inside her flat through the window.
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’s at Boulevard Anspach 6., 3rd floor)
You can book an appointment online here.
When you go to your appointment, you have to have:
your traineeship acceptance letter to prove you have a job/income here
25 euros fee for the registration (they make it sound like you have to have this in cash but in reality, it’s better if you pay by card)
2 photos (ID format, there are photomats in the main metro stations like Bruckere etc, 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’ve done this, in about 2-3-4 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 etc. It’s nothing to worry about, but make sure to put your name on the door and mailbox because they check it.
4 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.
For your traineeship allowance, you don’t have to pay taxes at all. However, you will be sent and will have to fill in a tax declaration form (for us, it will be in May 2021, I think it will be the same for you too), will have to sign it and send it back.
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 euro 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.
From other trainees’ recommendations, check this link.
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 can't 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's really 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 doesn't 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).
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