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Registering in Ghent General FAQs

Registering in GhentWe recommend that wherever you’re coming from and whatever you plan to do while you’re in Ghent, you always start by describing your situation to the Infopunt Migratie. You can email them at They will recommend where you should make an appointment and which documents you need to bring with you when registering in Ghent. You can also call them or drop by in person, but the opening times aren’t that flexible. It’s also better to have a written copy of what you have been advised.

What do I get at the end?

The result of this registering in Ghent process is that you will be issued with a 5-year ‘verblijfskaart’ (residence permit). It works using a chip and PIN system, and contains your details plus a picture of you (like in a passport).

How much does registering in Ghent cost?

The cost of the card is €22.50 in Ghent but it can differ for other authorities around the city. You may also be asked to pay for a translation (into Dutch) of a legal document (like a birth certificate). You can either find a translator yourself (which you will need to pay for yourself). Or use the translation services of the Migratie department (see Where will I need to go? for where to go to set this up).

How long does it take to register in Ghent?

The process from making your first appointment to receiving your card can take up to 6 months. It’s possible that after 2-3 months you will have already received your rijksregisternummer through the post or on a form. This means you can proceed with setting other things up. At this point, you have completed registration and receiving the card is just a formality.

Who makes the decisions?

It can be frustrating, but the civil servants you meet during the process to register in Ghent may come across as not very helpful. It’s important to remember that unfortunately it’s out of their hands to make decisions about your status. They are merely there to process your application. Expect lots of appointments and paperwork to fill out.p1020798

Do I need to speak Dutch to register in Ghent?

It is easier to register in Ghent if you have some knowledge of Dutch. Most correspondence (forms/letters) are written only in Dutch. However the people you will come face to face with will (in most cases) be able to discuss your situation in English. Or find a Dutch-speaking friend/colleague who is prepared to help you out.

Where will I need to go?

If you are registering in the city of Ghent, most of the appointments you will have will take place in the main building of the offices on Woodrow Wilsonplein. 

What do I bring when registering in Ghent?

The individual pages under the Registering to live in Ghent section contain examples of the kind of documents you will be asked to present. But as with many things, it can differ from person to person. Our advice is to take everything you have brought with you to Ghent. So even if they haven’t said you need to bring your driver’s licence, birth certificate etc, take it with you anyway. It is not unheard of that they might ask you for something that they hadn’t mentioned before.

Other than paperwork, are there any other checks I should know about?

Yes, the most important check is about where you’re living. At some point during your registration process, the police will call around to the address you have provided to verify you actually live there. So be careful when picking a place to live. You must check (with the landlord/estate agent) that you will be able to ‘take domicilie’ there. And make sure your name is clearly visible on the post box/bell. For more information about this, see our guide to finding somewhere to live.

Author: Heather Sills

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Guest authors are expats and Gentenaars who enjoy spreading the word about Gent to the world. If you'd like to join us, contact us at

4 thoughts on “Registering in Ghent General FAQs

  1. Hi.. This is a very informative post. I am however curious to know if apostilled marksheets can be used in case birth certificate cannot be produced.?

    1. Hi Priyanka

      I think that the best thing to do is to ask when you start the process. If you already know that you won’t be able to produce a birth certificate (for whatever reason), it’s best to tell the authorities upfront and get them to advise.

      Good luck!

  2. Do the authorities expect you to have a long term address upon arrival? I am coming on a working holiday visa and may be in temporary accommodation for the first month or so

    1. Hi Jacob

      You shouldn’t need to have a long term address to enter the country – your visa takes care of that. But once you arrive you will need one if you want to get moving on getting domicile. But because you mention you have a working holiday visa, I think it’s worth checking how the process will look for your particular case. I recommend making an appointment to talk to someone from the migration department. You can set that up over email via

      Good luck!

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