Relocating employees

Appointing an international employee? In certain cases, employers are eligible for relocation assistance provided by the city of Antwerp.

Registering with the immigration authorities

  • Non-Belgian citizens wanting to settle in Antwerp must register with the local immigration office.
  • The relocation office of the city of Antwerp processes residency applications for international employees submitted by a relocation partner.
    For more info about the relocation office, please send an e-mail to

How to submit an application to the relocation office?

  • As relocation partner you complete the entire application.
  • Verify that the international employee holds a long-term residency visa (type D visa).
    Adresses of Belgian embassies and consulates.
  • Family members of the international employee who also hold a long-term residency visa (type D visa) can be registered at the same time.

Processing of applications

  • After the application has been submitted, a residency check will be conducted by a community police officer.
  • Afterwards, you can make an appointment with the relocation office for the finalisation of the registration process.


Depending on the nationality of the employee, he or she must pay a federal fee. This fee covers administrative expenses in relation to the processing of the application and will not be refunded in the event that the application is unsuccessful.

Applying for a work permit

Most international employees need a work permit to be able to work in Belgium. Some employees are exempt from the work permit obligation based on their nationality, status, and nature or duration of their employment.

Work permit types

  • Work permit type A: the international employee may be employed by any employer in any occupation for an unlimited duration.  
  • Work permit type B: the international employee may be employed by a specific employer for a maximum duration of 12 months.
  • Work permit type C: the international employee may be employed by any employer in any occupation for a limited duration only.  

Who must submit the work permit application?

The application for a type A or C work permit must be submitted by the international employee at the Flemish Government.

The application for a type B work permit must be submitted by the employer on behalf of the international employee. If the application is approved, the employee will automatically receive his or her type B work permit.

How to apply for a type B work permit?

How to collect a type B work permit?

Provided your application is approved, the Provincial Department will send the work permit to

  • The municipality of the place of business if the employee is still residing abroad.  
  • The municipality of the employee’s place of residence if he/she is already residing in Belgium.

If the work permit is sent to the city of Antwerp, then you can collect it from the relocation office in person or by proxy.


Electronic residence card or residency title

International employees with a residency permit can apply for an electronic residence card for foreign nationals. The residence card for foreign nationals does not serve as valid ID; it merely confirms that the employee complies with Belgian legislation. In addition to their residence card, non-Belgian citizens will need to be able to produce their ID card or passport upon request.

Your employee will need to submit the application for an electronic residence card in person via the local immigration office. Applying for the electronic residence card by proxy is not permitted.

How to apply for an extension?

International employees residing in the city of Antwerp must report to the local authorities between the 45th and the 30th day prior to the expiry date of their residence card. A new card will then be prepared and will be ready for collection two to three weeks later.

Is your employee going abroad? Then he/she can apply for an extension 6 months prior to departure at the earliest.

  • Non-Belgian citizens who reside in Antwerp and hold a type C/D/E/E+/F/F+ residence card can apply for an extension via the local immigration office.
  • Non-Belgian citizens who reside in Antwerp and hold a type A residence card, a type B residence card, a certificate of matriculation, or an annex 35, can make an appointment with the relocation office.

As a relocation partner, you can e-mail all the documents required for the extension application to the relocation office. The relocation office will then forward all documents to the immigration department in Brussels and will keep you updated via e-mail.

Collecting a residence card for foreign nationals

The international employee must collect the residence card in person from the local immigration office during opening hours after receiving his/her PIN (personal identification number). Collecting the residence card by proxy is not permitted.

In exceptional cases, the electronic residence card may be collected by appointment.

Registering a European driver’s license

A European driver’s license is an official driver’s license from any of the member states of the European Economic Area (EEA). These include the member states of the European Union, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

  • International employees who hold a European driver’s license but not a Belgian driver’s license and who wish to settle in Belgium must register their European driver’s license with the local authorities.
  • The registration process is free of charge.
  • By registering the European driver’s license, the employee will be able to apply for a Belgian driver’s license in the event of loss or theft of their European driver’s license, without the need to request supporting documents from the nation where the original driver’s license was issued.

Want to register the European driver’s license of your international employee? You can do this at the same time as registering your employee with the immigration authorities.


European driver’s licenses cannot be registered in the following cases:

  • The driver’s license has expired.
  • Category C/D driver’s licenses (professional drivers).

In these cases, the employee must make an appointment with the municipal services.


Overview of relocation agencies

Expat service

The City of Antwerp helps investors who send expats to Antwerp with all the formalities, and it helps the foreign employees settle in the city.

Which services are provided?

  • Applying for visa
  • Finding a house
  • Finding the right school for the children
  • Giving guidance in culture and customs
Last year, innovation hub The Beacon made international fame in the field of the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence applications, proving that technology can provide the answer to complex urban issues. Top technological talent from 22 nationalities is active there in 64 companies and research institutions, and during 106 events, a good 4,000 experts in digital innovation were reached at home and abroad. In order to respond even better to the rapid developments in the technological landscape, and to confirm their commitment, the founding partners have now joined forces in vzw The Beacon. This new structure allows them to further grow into a European reference point for the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence applications.
Future talent feels at a home in Antwerp. The city welcomes more than 50,000 students annually to its numerous institutions of higher education. Talent that is preparing itself for international careers in diverse, often unique, domains of Antwerp's economy, including logistics, fashion and technology. It is no wonder then that Antwerp has been the fastest growing student city and talent pool in Flanders for several years now.
The University of Antwerp is joining forces with seven other universities from as many different European countries to launch the first European University. Together they form the YUFE alliance, Young Universities for the Future of Europe.