The following information describes how to register to live in Ghent city centre if you will be an employee here. If you are living in a house/apartment with postcode 9000 you will need to follow this process. It is colloquially known as the ‘Zuid process’ because most appointments take place at offices based near Zuid park. This is the busiest and longest process because it handles the largest number of people. If your postcode is not 9000 you will register with a different authority. While the main process will be the same, there will be some differences.
- Make an appointment with the Migratie office. Be aware that you may have to wait as long as 2 months for a free slot.
- You will not need to queue at the reception desk. Walk around to the front of the queue and take a ticket. Then take a seat right in front of you in the waiting area.
- Your ticket number will be shown on a screen when it’s your turn. Go up to the counter you are called to.
- You will likely need to present the following documents:
- Work contract (if you are working for a Belgian employer)
- A Limosa agreement and A1 form if you are employed by a company based in another EU country. This applies if you will be working temporarily (up to 2 years is allowed) from the company’s Belgian office (posted worker).
- The Limosa agreement is just a form that the HR department of your company based in Ghent can provide.
- The A1 form should be provided by your HR department of the country where you are employed. It confirms that you are paying taxes and social security still in the country where you are coming from
- They’ll make copies of everything and also ask you where you are living, so you will need to have an address already in Ghent that allows you to take domicilie. This is because a police officer will need to come around and check that you are indeed living there.
- They will also give you a form called bijlage 19 (see image). This is proof that you have started the registration process.
- Around 2-3 weeks after your first appointment, a police officer will call at your home to check that you are actually living there.
- Unfortunately you can’t just answer the door and that’s that. They will need to come inside and sometimes they may even ask if they can look around. This is so that they can be satisfied that you’re not just staying with a friend, for example. If you were asked whether you are living with a partner (samenwonend) you may also have to prove at this point that you are indeed a couple. For example, they might ask for photos of you together.
- They will probably ask you to confirm what you do for a living, for you to show your passport, and sign a form. Otherwise there are no new forms for you to fill in or show.
- They will fill out a form while they are there and then send confirmation back to the authorities that you are living at the address provided.
Invitation to a second appointment
- A few weeks after the police have called around, you will receive a letter through the post confirming whether your registration application has been accepted.
- Assuming it has, the letter (written in both Dutch and English) will invite you to an appointment back at the Migratie office at a specific time and date. However this appointment could be a month or so away.
- The letter will likely include your rijksregisternumer (NN) which is what you need to start setting other things up. However, it might not be obvious that they are providing you with your number and it may be tucked away at the top of the letter, so read the whole piece of paper carefully. It always follows this format: your birth date followed by 5 random digits (e.g. YY.MM.DD-123.45)
- The letter will also include a list of the things you will need to bring with you to that appointment, which may include the following:
- Drivers’ licence
- Work contract
- Your bijlage 19 form you were given at the first appointment
- 4 passport photos
- Money to pay for the card – it is useful if you have the exact money (€22.50)
- Birth certificate – both the original and a translated (into Dutch) and court certified version
- With the letter you will also be invited to sign up for a Dutch language course and ‘inburgering’ course (a course to integrate you into Belgian society) via In-Gent. These are optional, but highly recommended.
- Attend your second appointment with all the documentation you have been asked to provide. You will most likely be told to go straight to counters 11, 12 or 13 which means you do not need to queue at the main reception desk.
- You will probably be asked some more questions at this point – to confirm what you do for a living, where you were born, where you live now etc.
- You’ll also need to sign several documents and pay for your verblijfskaart (residence permit). They’ll give you a ticket with a bar code, and you scan this at a machine near the counters, then pay. Only cash is accepted, not cards. You will receive a receipt which is important to keep so you can prove you have already paid.
- At the end of this appointment you’ll receive a new form – a bijlage 8. This is confirmation that you have been permitted to stay and that you are just waiting for your card.
- They will also tell you that within 2-3 weeks you’ll receive an invitation by post to come and collect your card.
Final appointment – card collection
- Once you have received confirmation that your card is ready to collect (which will also contain the PIN number for your card), your best bet is to call into the snelloket at the Migratie office.
- You do not need to make an appointment for this. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9am-12.30pm and 2-4pm. Tuesday is the most useful day, open 9am-12.30pm but also from 2-7pm so you can call around after work. Expect extended periods of closure during the summertime Gentse Feesten and Christmas/New Year, amongst others.
- When you arrive at the Migratie office, present your letter to the reception desk who will give you a ticket.
- Take a seat and wait for your number to be called.
- You’ll need to present both the letter you received by post and your bijlage 8 (plus confirmation you already paid for the card).
- They will keep hold of your bijlage 8 for your file, and give you the opportunity to change the PIN on the card to something more memorable (but this is optional).
- They’ll hand you your card and you’re done.
Note: the information on this page is based on the information found on official government and local websites, and on the experience of the authors. While we have done our best to make sure it is accurate, rules and regulations change and each individual situation might be different, so it is always a good idea to check with appropriate authorities for the latest information. Consequently, the authors do not assume any responsibility or liability for any issues or damages stemming from the use of the information found on this website.
Last updated: September, 2018