11 October 2018263

Cost of living in Belgium - Information for those who are interested in business immigration to Belgium.

How to get Belgian citizenship to Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusians, Kazakhs or Azeris? The easiest way to can be called naturalization after registration of the residence permit of Belgium. Making a residence in this country quickly, simply and profitably, in turn, allows business immigration to Belgium. It should be remembered that naturalization implies life in Belgium most of the year for 5 years. So moving to Belgium is a must. In this context, it is important to pre-examine prices in Belgium in 2019 so that the cost of living in Belgium does not become an unpleasant surprise for you.

Belgium is a developed European country, moving to which many people from the post-Soviet space are interested. They should be told that the cost of living in Belgium, including the cost of living in Brussels, is relatively high, but this country is still considered affordable compared to some of its neighbors.

How to go to Belgium from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan. To legally arrange a move to Belgium, you will need a residence permit (permit) in Belgium. How to get a residence permit in Belgium in 2019? If you have an entrepreneur, we recommend you to pay attention to such a process as business immigration to Belgium.

After that, you can proceed to registration of a Belgian passport. How to get Belgian citizenship to Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusians, Kazakhs or Azeris? Belgian citizenship for investments is not available to them due to the absence in the given country of a relevant immigration program like those in other EU countries: Malta and Cyprus.

But no one bothers to apply for Belgian citizenship through 5-year naturalization, and even speed up the process through marriage.

You can further simplify the naturalization process by applying for Belgian citizenship for EU citizens, after receiving a European passport for investments in Malta or Cyprus, where many interesting investment options are available. For example, citizenship for real estate.

Belgian legislation does not prohibit dual citizenship, so that you can retain citizenship of the historic homeland. In addition, you can pass on Belgian citizenship to your children by birth, as well as use a Belgium passport to travel around the planet.

It should be remembered that during the naturalization period you will need rented or purchased real estate in Belgium. Simplify the selection of such an asset for the subsequent purchase will help our guide for investors.

It is also important to take into account the peculiarities of life in Belgium. And since moving to Belgium is an obligatory step to begin the process of naturalization, it is recommended to study prices in Belgium in 2018 in advance so that the cost of living in Belgium does not become an unpleasant surprise for you.

Cost of living in Belgium in general - general information.

Belgium’s strategic location in the European Union makes it an important country both economically and politically. Most of the Belgian economy depends on the export of industrial goods to the rest of the EU, as well as on the supply of raw materials from neighboring countries. This allowed the Belgians to use high-quality goods and services, which, in turn, contributed to the achievement of a very high standard of living in the country.

Moreover, due to the geographical proximity of a number of other popular European destinations, such as Germany, France and Austria, residents of Belgium can regularly go to neighboring countries for shopping.

This guide will help you navigate the cost of the most diverse areas of life in Belgium, including information about the cost of housing in Belgium, the cost of utilities in Belgium, the cost of public transport in Belgium, the cost of studying in Belgium, the cost of caring for children in Belgium, the cost of health care in Belgium, the cost of food and clothing in Belgium, the cost of food in restaurants in Belgium, tax costs in Belgium, the cost of living in different cities of Belgium, as well as social security and retirement expenses bespechenii in Belgium.

Cost of living in different cities of Belgium.

Being a relatively small country, Belgium is considered to be a real paradise for expats, offering a close intertwining of history with modernity, picturesque landscapes of the Ardennes mountains, sandy beaches of the North Sea, rich national cuisine and a variety of shopping.

Such a variety of advantages makes choosing a place to live in a country a daunting task. It is possible to come to its solution more quickly by comparing the cost of living in different cities of Belgium relative to the megalopolises of other developed countries of the West, where expats also rush.

Cost of living in Brussels.

Brussels took the 27th place in the quality of life rating according to researchers from the international consulting company Mercer for 2016, having lost six places due to recent terrorist attacks. However, the standard of living in Brussels has not decreased, and the cost of housing and public transport, as a rule, is lower than in neighboring European cities. Total cost of living in Brussels:

  • 14 percent higher than in Madrid.

  • 4 percent higher than in Munich and Rome.

  • 6 percent lower than in Paris.

  • 10 percent lower than in London.

  • 24 percent lower than in New York.

Cost of living in Bruges.

Bruges is the famous capital of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish part of Belgium. The standard of living in Bruges is not as high as in Brussels, but the relatively low cost of living in Bruges makes this place more accessible for expats. Rental housing, food and transportation are some of the things that the people of Bruges spend the most on. Total cost of living in Bruges:

  • 14 percent higher than in Madrid.

  • 4 percent higher than in Munich.

  • 3 percent higher than in Rome.

  • 7 percent lower than in Paris.

  • 10 percent lower than in London.

  • 24 percent lower than in New York.

Cost of living in Antwerp.

Antwerp is the largest city in the north in the Flemish part of Belgium. It is also the largest Belgian city in terms of population. This place is the center of business and fashion. As a result, prices are relatively high there, but the standard of living in Antwerp is far from low. The total cost of living in Antwerp:

  • 17 percent higher than in Madrid.

  • 7 percent higher than in Munich.

  • 6 percent higher than Rome.

  • 4 percent lower than in Paris.

  • 7 percent lower than in London.

  • 21 percent lower than in New York.

Cost of living in Ghent.

Ghent is the capital of the province of East Flanders. As in Bruges, the standard of living there is not as high as in Brussels and Antwerp. But, being a port and a university city, Ghent offers a number of advantages in the field of transport and education, which Brussels cannot offer. Total cost of living in Ghent:

- 16 percent higher than in Madrid.

- 6 percent higher than in Munich.

- 5 percent higher than in Rome.

- 5 percent lower than in Paris.

- 8 percent lower than in London.

- 22 percent lower than in New York.

The cost of housing in Belgium.

A foreigner can relatively easily and quickly buy property in Belgium, although most expats rent property in Belgium. If we compare the average rental prices with the average salary in Belgium, we can conclude that for this money it is possible to rent a house with two bathrooms and three bedrooms.

Naturally, being the capital of Belgium, Brussels has higher rental rates and is characterized by higher competition for rental housing - especially among foreigners. In the center of Brussels, the rental price on average is about 1,500 euros per month for a three-room apartment. Although the total cost of living in Antwerp is higher, the rent for an apartment of the same class will be less - 1,200 euros per month.

Of the four main Belgian cities, Bruges is the cheapest in terms of renting a three-room apartment in the city center. There you will spend only about 1000 euros per month on such housing, although the cost of living in Bruges is only slightly lower than the cost of living in Brussels.

Considering rental housing in Belgium, it is important to note that most contracts are for nine years. This does not mean that you have to stay in the country for nine years and enter into an appropriate lease, but sometimes it can be cheaper than concluding a short-term rental contract in Belgium.

If you want to buy real estate in Belgium, please note that prices in the center of Brussels are about 3.2 thousand euros per square meter. In the center of Antwerp, apartments cost an average of 2.7 thousand euros per square meter. Ghent is the most expensive place to buy a home. Real estate in the center there costs about 3.7 thousand euros per square meter.

The cost of utilities in Belgium.

In the case of an apartment of about 85 square meters. meters in Brussels you can pay about 125 euros per month for utilities, which usually include electricity, water, heating and garbage collection. Depending on the area of the city price tag can grow, but not much.

The cost of public transport in Belgium.

Most Belgian cities are characterized by well-developed public transport that connects different parts of Belgium. In major Belgian cities, a transport pass for a month costs from 35 to 50 euros. These travel cards can be used on all types of public transport. The cost of one fare on a standard ticket is usually 2-3 euros.

In the case of a taxi, fares in Brussels start from about 4 euros per landing and about 2 euros per kilometer. In other large cities, the landing rate varies and may be higher, but the rate per kilometer is usually in the same price range. Driving in Belgium is another way to travel around the country, which is relatively affordable: gas prices range from 1.2 to 1.4 euros per liter.

The cost of training in Belgium.

The structure of the public school system in Belgium may seem complicated at first, but keep in mind that the Belgian school system has a number of advantages. For example, it works in the same country as the headquarters of the European Union.

Depending on where you live in Belgium, various curriculum subjects will be taught to your children in Dutch, French or German. It should also be remembered that there are many international schools in Belgium where instruction is in English and there are many other advantages.

In a private or international school, parents have more control over what and how their children learn. Some schools are bilingual, and in some, instruction is exclusively in English. The cost of education in international schools in Belgium varies from 6,000 to 30,000 euros per year (depending on the particular school).

Education in public schools in Belgium is also much cheaper than in the USA and many other developed countries of the West. Students from EU countries pay an annual fee of about 500-600 euros, while students from abroad pay significantly higher fees.

The cost of childcare in Belgium.

Crèches in Belgium is a great option for working parents. There are both public and private Belgian child care centers. At the same time, tax deductions are available to users of both types of institutions. Places there are distributed fairly quickly, although it is recommended to begin the application process at an early stage of pregnancy.

The cost of childcare in Belgium varies depending on which part of the country you are in, and also on your personal income. In the Flemish region, be prepared to pay from 1.3 euros to 23 euros per day per child, while in French-speaking Belgium the prices are slightly higher (about 2-28 euros per day).

Keep in mind that pricing is based on household income, while due to deductions that are commensurate with the cost of child care in Belgium, it is possible to reduce the overall tax burden to some degree.

Every expat who lives in Belgium is entitled to child support. Monthly payments are formed as follows: first child: EUR 87, second child: EUR 161, any subsequent child: EUR 240. Additional age benefits are added after the child reaches six years.

The cost of health care services in Belgium.

Every person in Belgium must have a Belgian health insurance, issued either through the public health insurance system, or in private, or through a combination of both.

Health care services in Belgium are paid through social insurance and health insurance funds, which allows patients to choose Belgian doctors and hospitals. Although patients usually pay in advance for medical services, a significant portion of their health care costs are subsequently reimbursed. Those expats who take out insurance through the state insurance system can choose additional private insurance to return all money for treatment.

If you work for a company in Belgium, expect that about 13 percent of your salary will go to pay for health insurance every year, deducted automatically. Your employer will pay another 25 percent to pay all fees due in full.

The cost of food and clothing in Belgium, the cost of entertainment and sports.

The cost of food in Belgium is difficult to measure from the point of view of the need to analyze associated variables, such as household size, dietary needs, and favorite brands.

On average, a Belgian family spends about 150 euros per person on food per month. But this figure varies depending on which stores the expats and Belgians make purchases.

The cost of clothing and footwear in Belgium is not much higher than the cost of similar positions in the countries of the post-Soviet space. At the same time, Belgian light industry products offer a much higher level of quality.

If you are interested in obtaining a residence permit in Belgium when buying property and opening a business to move to this country, including to improve physical fitness, please note that the costs of using sports infrastructure are several times higher than in the post-Soviet countries.

The cost of lunch in Belgium when visiting catering establishments.

Chefs from Belgium in general and its capital Brussels in particular are known for their culinary skills. Many compare Brussels with cities such as New York, Hong Kong and even Paris, because of the high quality and variety of restaurants that it has to offer. But the prices for food in restaurants there also fully correspond to the gourmet cuisine, at times surpassing the offers of average Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakhstan, Belarusian and Azerbaijani restaurateurs.

But if you wish, you can easily find cheaper options. Therefore, those who love to eat will not have to limit themselves. The cost of a dish for one person in an inexpensive institution varies from 10 to 15 euros. For comparison, the cost of the set in McDonalds is about 8 euros, and a cappuccino there costs about 2.7 euros.

The average dinner in a restaurant with three dishes for two, as a rule, costs about 60 euros. In the best restaurants in Belgium will have to spend 100 euros per person or more. Tips in the amount of 10-15 percent will be automatically added to your account, so you do not need to pay additional tips if you do not want to.

Tax Costs in Belgium.

Belgium is famous for one of the highest tax rates in all of Europe. Those with the highest incomes pay the tax authorities up to half of their income, compared with 45 percent in other European countries. Although in the future the situation may change due to government reforms that are aimed at reducing the tax burden in Belgium. In addition, physical persons may use numerous deductions for Belgian taxes.

The income tax rate for individuals starts from 25 percent for income up to 10,860 euros per year, with the highest tax rate being a whopping 50 percent for income of 38,080 euros or more. Some expats may apply for tax non-resident status, under which they must pay tax only on income earned in Belgium.

Social security and pension benefits in Belgium.

Everyone who lives and works in Belgium must send a portion of their money to the accounts of the Belgian social security system. Employers usually arrange such payments for workers. As a rule, this is 13 percent of the salary, while your employer pays another 24 percent. If you are employed, you can also get social protection, but must register for this.

Social security in Belgium consists of seven different areas: medical care in the form of reimbursement, retirement benefits, family benefits, accident assistance, vacation financing, assistance in obtaining work-related injuries and unemployment benefits.

Those who live and work in Belgium are also entitled to a pension. The size of a pension in Belgium is usually based on how much you earned, and also on the number of years you have worked in the Belgian jurisdiction.

Instead of a conclusion.

If you are concerned about the relatively high cost of living in Belgium, keep in mind that the Belgian social security, transport and public service systems offer very high quality service.

At the same time, revenues in the country are quite high. Ultimately, the higher cost of living in Belgium than in the countries of the post-Soviet space guarantees an improved standard of living. According to the OECD, Belgium is among the top ten countries in terms of living standards.