TABLE OF CONTENTS
Family Reunion Checklist – Items to Do and Bring for Legal Cohabitation or Marriage
Are you moving to Belgium to be with your loved ones for a family reunion? Be it for marriage or legal cohabitation, relocating overseas is always an extremely stressful affair for anyone. This checklist for moving to Belgium will help to lower your stress mentally.
The online checklist targets those who move to Belgium permanently for forming a family reunion. Eventually, you will get your residence permit and make Belgium your home. Since the checklist is meant to apply for a family reunion in Belgium, there will be a list of specific documents to prepare for submission to the Belgian Immigration later. You can tick each item off the moment you get one document ready.
The online checklist is my precious baby for the past three months before coming to Belgium. I have deleted quite a number of items. So far, being an organised person, I have not forgotten to bring any document with me to Belgium. Other than the relevant documents to bring, you may find some other reminders useful and applicable to you.
Download the Checklist for Moving to Belgium from Google Drive
If you like to print out or save the online checklist for moving to Belgium, you can download the copy in Excel (Window) format which I have uploaded to Google Drive. That is without the introduction text and explanations below. It is simply a checklist. You can make changes to the checklist to customise into your own. I appreciate the fact that my checklist for moving to Belgium is helpful to you! 🙂
PS: If there is a compatibility issue with the checklist and you are not able to see or download, please leave me a comment below.
Legal Cohabitation Documents
◯ Certificate of Celibacy
The Certificate of Celibacy is the first thing to pass to the commune on the day of declaring the legal cohabitation. Produce within 6 months from the issue date. May require legalisation and sworn translation.
◯ Birth Certificate Extract
Do not laminate the Birth Certificate copy. You need to legalise it later. On a side note, many people were not asked to submit this copy. I believe it has to do with your nationality. Those who do not need to apply for a tourist visa to enter Belgium are usually exempted.
◯ Legalisation of Document
Birth Certificate Extract, Certificate of Celibacy or other marital status related documents require legalisation. Legalise first from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then Belgium Embassy. €20/copy from Embassy of Belgium plus the legalisation cost from your authority.
◯ Sworn Translation of Official Documents
If your documents are not in Dutch, French, German and English language, you need a sworn translator. Do the translation after legalising the documents.
◯ Certificate of No Criminal Record
Ask for a ‘Letter of Introduction’ from the Belgium Embassy in your country. Subsequently, introduce your request for the Certificate of Good Conduct to the State Police. Present within six months to the authority from the date of issue.
◯ Biljage/Annexe 3bis
Annexe/Bijlage 3 bis is a Pledge of Financial Support applied by the partner in Belgium. After the commune endorses, your partner can send it by registered mail to you. This form will come handy if you encounter a customs check at the arrival airport. Subsequently, you can show it to the customs officer if they ask for it. Hence, hold it with you in your hand-carried bag. Valid for 6 months from the date of issue.
◯ Purchase Travel Health Insurance
It is compulsory to buy and then submit the health travel insurance to apply for the cohabitation visa. Minimum coverage amount is €30,000. You can get it from IMG Hopper from Pacific Prime because it offers the lowest insurance after some research.
◯ Medical Certificate
If you do not need to apply a Schengen visa to enter Belgium, it is not necessary to get the medical certificate before going to Belgium. You can opt not to bring it over to Belgium first and read my experience.
◯ Passport with Valid Travel Visa (if applicable)
The passport should have more than 6 months of validity before going to Belgium. It is even better to have more than a year of validity. You are going to be grounded in Belgium for more than six months while holding your Orange Card.
Things to Bring
▢ Academic Qualifications Paper
Bring all your original copies of academic certificates, transcripts, professional working diplomas for the sake of the employment in future. You can ask for the Equivalence of Diploma from the Ministry of Education and Training in Belgium. An ‘Equivalence Statement’ is a document which equalises the overseas academic certificates to the grade similar to the Belgian education system.
▢ Medical Record History of Health Screening and Vaccination
It is always critical to bring along all the records of medical history or vaccination that you have done over the years. The doctors in Belgium can assess quickly on your existing medical conditions better when the need arises
▢ Medication Prescription
Although the health care system in Belgium is one of the best in the world, it is beyond the reach for most of us at a subsidised rate as a newcomer. Seeing a doctor as a tourist or foreigner status in any country is always costly. Furthermore, the clinic or hospitals may not have a particular brand of medicine that the patient is currently using. Therefore, bring your medication or top up the supply before coming over to Belgium. I prepared my medical need for one year.
▢ Eyes Related Products
You might find it strange on the mention of these items here. The optical products in Belgium are expensive as compared to what I can get in my country. Especially the contact lens and the saline solution. I made a pair of new spectacles, purchase a few boxes of the contact lens before moving to Belgium. As for the saline solution, due to its weight and size restriction for the luggage space, I did not bring many bottles.
▢ Air Ticket
Start monitoring the airfares to Belgium 3 months before your departure. CheapAir conducted a study based on 1.5 billion sold airfares and nearly 5 million trips made, the best period to buy the cheapest airfare is on average 47 days. Take it as a guideline. From my personal travelling experience on long-haul flights, the best time to buy the cheapest air ticket is 30 – 45 days. When the departure date draws closer, the airfare will go up again. I usually monitor the airfares of three airports in Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam to compare the air ticket prices.
▢ Train Ticket
When I travelled from Singapore to Antwerp to visit my boyfriend for the past 6 years, I landed at Brussels Airport 20% to 30% of the time only. The rest of the time was arriving in Paris or Amsterdam airports. For me, the airfares direct to Brussels Airport is usually more expensive. Consequently, I need a train ticket from the airport to Antwerp. I would recommend getting the tickets online be it a domestic or an international train journey to avoid the long queue while moving around with a heavy suitcase.
Things to Do
▢ Change of Address Overseas
In some countries such as Singapore, it is obligatory to inform the Immigration Department about relocation. Also, to provide them with an overseas address as a record. After notifying the Immigration Department, in future, you can receive the official documents at your registered address in Belgium too. Check with your Immigration Department to see whether your country has such a law.
▢ Online Banking
Do you use any online banking system so that it is convenient to check the bank account even when residing overseas? You can check with your bank and set up one if you do not have.
▢ Update New Particulars with Your Bank
Since you will be living with your partner in Belgium, you can already provide your Belgian address to your bank. Likewise, if you already have a Belgian SIM card, update the mobile number in your online profile database or change it personally at the counter.
▢ Closing of Additional Bank Account
Any inactive bank account that you would like to close so as to concentrate the resources in one or two banks. The good news is that you can bring more cash to Belgium.
▢ Renew the Credit Cards
Check the expiry dates of all your credit cards. They should have at least one year of validity. Renew the terms of the credit cards before leaving the country. The banks would likely replace them even when the cards have several months left to their expiry dates. Or, terminate some credit cards if you do not use them often to avoid annual subscription payment. For security reasons, many credit cards are deactivated for overseas use unless you activate them intentionally.
▢ Redemption of Reward Points
Redeem the rewards points from the credit cards, phone bills or from pumping petrol accumulated over the years. Don’t let it go to waste.
▢ Selling Vehicle
Give yourself more time to get the best offer in the market from potential buyers. If you sell the car last minute, you might be forced to accept a low price that someone offers. After selling your car, check with the insurance company whether it is possible to get a partial refund back of the car insurance.
▢ Cancel Vehicle Speedpass
If you are using some form of contactless payments for pumping petrol or gas for your vehicle, terminate it if necessary.
▢ Termination of Long-Term Subscription
Do you have any long-term financial obligation that you would like to cancel? Eg. Insurance plan, financial investment, subscription plan, monthly donation, mobile subscription plan, fixed expense. For a start, you might not be able to find a job so soon to support those financial commitments for an indefinite period in Belgium.
▢ Cancel or Renew Mobile Plan
Some people want to terminate their mobile plan permanently in their home country. On the other hand, some wish to keep their number. You can consider changing your SIM card from a postpaid to a prepaid plan to avoid paying every month. Terminate the phone line earlier to allow the final bill to reach you in time and make payment before you move to Belgium. Check with the operator to ensure that the roaming is activated for your local SIM card.
Or, simply get one prepaid SIM card in Belgium. Curious to know more about various prepaid SIM card plans in Belgium? Check out this article on various prepaid SIM card plans in Belgium to make a smart choice. Finally, are you ready to move to Belgium with the checklist?
What are the other relevant items that I miss out on relocating overseas? Any other pointers to share?