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Residence and registration

So many countries, so many rules. Getting a residence permit is often synonymous for a pile of paperwork. Fortunately that’s not too bad in Europe, but there still are a few things you need to know.

Residence for a period not exceeding three months

If you’re going to another country within the EEA, you can stay for a period of maximum three months without registering. You only need to bring a valid Belgian passport or ID card. If you are moving to Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Malta, Austria or Slovakia, you are obligated to report your presence upon arrival. For more information, contact local authorities.

Residence for a period exceeding three months

If you intend to stay longer than three months, a registration (at the commune, police or the immigration office) is mandatory. Upon registration, you will receive a statement confirming your right of residence. To register, a valid passport or ID card is insufficient. Depending on the situation, you will also need following:

  • (Seconded) employee:
    • Employment contract or assignment letter
  • Self-employed:
    • Proof of self-employment
  • Retired:
    • Proof of valid health insurance
    • Proof of solvability
  • Student:
    • Registration at a recognized educational institution
    • Proof of valid health insurance
    • Proof of solvability

Tip: Contact local authorities and check before departure when and how you need to register in your host country.

Tip: Have a look at our country pages, where you can find useful links for each country.

Permanent residence

If you have legally and uninterruptedly lived in a EEA country for the past 5 years, you are automatically entitled to permanently reside in that country. If this is the case, you can apply for a permanent residence document with local authorities. Unlike a registration document, a permanent residence document is not mandatory. It could however come in handy to deal with administrative formalities faster. If you live for more than two years in another country, you may lose your permanent right of residence.

Tip: Have a look at the website of the embassy of your country of destination. Apart from practical information, you can also often find very useful links and addresses.