New to Belgium?
Are you a foreigner and would you like to become a long-time resident in Flanders? If so, there are a lot of things to consider and to organise. The Flemish government uses the term "newcomers" for those who have just arrived. As a newcomer you can register with the municipality or city where you live. Depending on your nationality, you may be obliged to attend an integration course. If you live in Flanders it is a good idea to learn Dutch.
“I am Romanian and have decided to stay in Flanders. What should I do now? Do I have to register and where can I learn Dutch?”
When should I register?
If you want to continue living in Flanders, you must register with the municipality or city where you live. Every municipality or city has a registration desk. In most cases, you must make an appointment first, either online or by telephone.
An official will check whether you meet the conditions and ask questions about your personal situation. You must prove that you have enough financial means.
Where do you register? If you live in Antwerp or Ghent, you can do this here:
After registering with the municipality, your neighbourhood police officer will pay you a visit at your new address to verify that you actually live there.
Please make sure that your name is clearly legible on the doorbell and letterbox!
“Is it true that as a window prostitute I can get a residence permit? If so, where do I apply?”
Can I obtain a Belgian residence permit?
There are various procedures for obtaining a Belgian residence permit. However, be aware that all these formalities take time, require the right documents and involve a lot of administration. Please contact the appropriate department of the city or municipality where you live for further information about your residency status.
Looking for formal work
Prostitution is not officially recognised as a job in Belgium. In other words, your employment contract is often not valid. However, if you want to obtain a residence permit, you need a formal employment contract.
If you have a formal employment contract and pay slips for your sex work, you can present these documents to the official of the municipal registration desk. He/she will check your contract and ensure it contains guarantees for long-term employment.
If you're looking for work, you should be able to show that you are really looking. You will be asked to submit documents that prove that you put in the necessary effort.
You can also choose to work freelance (self-employed). In that case, you must be able to demonstrate that you intend exercising this freelance activity long-term. If you are self-employed, you must register with Belgium's Crossroads Bank for Enterprises via the Enterprise Counter (Ondernemingsloket) in your place of residence.
Depending on your personal situation and if you can show the necessary supporting documents, the procedure for an electronic residence card will be initiated.
If you live in Flanders it is important that you learn to speak Dutch as soon as possible. Speaking Dutch is not only important for your integration, but imperative when looking for formal work. The city or municipality where you reside offers Dutch courses. If you live in Antwerp, you can go to Atlas. Do you live in Ghent? Please visit In-Gent.
The city or municipality where you live offers integration courses. Some newcomers are obliged to take such a course. Others have a choice. The official at the registration desk will inform you about what you need to do.
Do you live in Antwerp? Please visit Atlas. Do you live in Ghent? Go to In-Gent. Do you live in another municipality or city and want to know where you can find an integration course, please contact a Violett counsellor.
How can Violett help?
Do you need help with your personal situation? Do you live in another municipality or city and are unable to find the right information? A Violett counsellor is at hand to help with all your questions.