As a general rule, any Belgian citizen who wishes to change his or her main place of residence to another country must declare this move to his or her local municipal authorities at the latest the day before departure. At this point, he or she will be given a ‘model 8’ form stating that they have been struck from the population register.
When you provide this ‘model 8’ form, your Belgian identity card and proof that you have set up abroad – this proof could be a photocopy of your long-term visa abroad or your residence permit issued by the local authorities – you may then sign on to the population registers held by your Belgian embassy or consulate abroad. It is advised that you contact this embassy or consulate beforehand to find out which documents you must provide in order to register.
Please note: although registering with a Belgian embassy or consulate is not compulsory, it is strongly recommended for practical reasons. You may be able to obtain an identity card or consular certificates (e.g. residence certificate, certificate of nationality and so forth), more effective humanitarian aid in emergency, or renew a passport more easily, etc.
If you are not yet certain that you wish to live abroad permanently, you may also remain signed on to the population registers in Belgium as being ‘temporarily absent’. This temporary absence from your main residence in Belgium must however be notified to your local municipal authorities before you leave.
PLEASE NOTE: this is only possible for persons who, for a maximum period of one year and for professional reasons, perform specific duties or go on a specific assignment abroad or for persons who are absent for less than one year for the purposes of study abroad, business travel, tourism, holidays or on medical grounds . After a year, you must make a clear decision – either to return to Belgium and remain registered with your municipality, or be struck from the population registers in Belgium.
Persons who stay abroad for study purposes may also remain signed on as ‘temporarily absent’ in the population registers in Belgium, as long as they still have an existing address (e.g. family home) and that they are still supported financially by their household in Belgium. In this event, the period of temporary absence may be unlimited in length.
If you are ‘temporarily absent’ from Belgium, you will still probably be taxed for the main part in Belgium.
To obtain information on the tax consequences of being struck off the population register in Belgium, we advise you to contact your tax office of the Federal Public Service Finance:
For information on the conditions which must be met for residency (residency permit, work permit and so forth), please contact the embassy of your future country of residence in Brussels.
In terms of social security, a move abroad may also have certain consequences (some services may no longer be available, rules surrounding payment may be subject to change, etc.). For detailed information on this topic, please contact the relevant services in Belgium (your health insurance fund, the National Employment Office, the National Pension Office, etc.), or the Federal Public Service for Social Security:
For information on local social security coverage for foreigners in your new country of residence, please contact that country’s embassy.
You can also find information on moving or staying abroad on the federal portal site (website available in French or Dutch).