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    Before your arrival

    Have you received your letter of acceptance? Congratulations! We look forward to welcoming you along with students from all over the world!

    We have some useful tips on what, when and how to prepare for your journey.

    Searching for the perfect accomodation

    Student housing

    Your first steps towards Brussels

    Visa requirements

    What about money?

    Blocked account

    Managing your time

    Your to-do list

    By air or by land

    Planning your journey

    Fueling your first steps

    First expenses

    Packing your bags?

    What to bring

    Get to know us

    Studying abroad means facing many unknowns, especially during the first few weeks. Here's what you should know to get you started.

    Enrol at the VUB

    Find out when to enrol, where to go and what documents you need on our enrolment page. If you have questions or encounter problems, contact the Education and Student Administration.

    After enrolling, you will receive your student card and your NetID so that you can register your courses online. You can find out more at our registration helpdesk.

    Orientation Week: A week just for you

    Want to know the campus better and get a taste of Brussels as well? Get a head start by signing up for our events on Orientation Week! Participation is free of charge. Just don't forget to register so we know how many goodies to bring!

    Orientation Week starts on Monday, September 16 2019.

    =>The full deck of slides (with extra information regarding healthcare from Partena) from General Info Session on Tuesday 17 September can be downloaded here (PDF)

    =>The full deck of slides from the exchange info session on Thursday 19 September can be downloaded here (PDF)


    How to reach us

    The VUB has several campuses around Brussels. Maps and other useful pamphlets can be found for free at the student information hubs. You can find the locations of our campuses and the means to travel between them on our mobility page.

    Still feel a bit lost? We are here to help!

    • Not sure where to go, or have questions about what paperwork you need? You should visit or call the Student Information Hub.
    • Having trouble with your application? Is there a problem with a certificate? Are there issues with your invoice or student card? It's time to contact the Education and Student Administration.
    • If you have a scholarship and there's trouble with the procedures, or if you want to know what activities are open for international students, check the International Relations and Mobility Office.

    Course materials

    You can purchase any book required for your courses at our book shop. Even if a book is out of stock, you can still place an order and receive it later. If it's needed for your studies, we can get it!

    Our library also has an extensive collection of printed or electronic journals, books and newspapers. You can check the online databases and our catalogue to find the sources you need for your studies.

    Your first days in Brussels

    Welcome to the heart of the European Union and, more recently, your new home! Before you know it, you'll walk the streets like a true Belgian.

    Registration at your local town hall (aka, 'commune')

    All international students and scholars planning to stay for a period that exceeds 90 days must apply for a residence permit (Belgian ID card) at the commune in which they will reside. For more information, check out our page on visas and registrations.

    The paperwork required to apply for the residence permit is slightly different from 'commune' to 'commune', so be sure to check their requirements. You can find more information and links to the webpages of each 'commune' in our infofile.

    There are now new requirements for the renewal of residence permits for students:

    • In the past a certificate of participation in exams was mandatory but also sufficient for the renewal of the residence permit. This has now changed: from now on students must also prove to have passed a minimum number of credits. The certificate to prove this can be obtained at OWSA.
    • Identity cards can no longer be renewed once they have expired. Theoretically, the extension must be requested at least two weeks before the expiration date of the old one and, if incomplete, all documents must be in the possession of the town hall services on the day the old identity (ID) card expires.
    • Municipalities will therefore no longer be able to issue renewal agreements after the student's identity card has expired.
    • A certificate of valid health insurance must be presented (health insurance, aka 'mutualit√©'/'mutualiteit').



    Money exchange bureaus and cash dispensers are available within the Brussels International Airport premises, as well as in the main train station Brussel-Zuid/Bruxelles-Midi and in the city itself. There are numerous foreign exchange offices located around the Grand Place.

    You can find out more about opening a bank account in Belgium and how to transfer money for payments in our infofile.

    Health insurance

    Health insurance is compulsory for registration at the VUB. Depending on your nationality, there are different ways to make sure you are covered by the Belgian health insurance system. Students from certain countries can prepare a valid insurance while in their home country. You can find out more about insurance requirements on this page.

    The International Relationships and Mobility Office can help international students arrange their health insurance for their stay.

    Calling in and out of Belgium

    Belgium’s country code is +32 and Brussels’ city code is 2. When calling a Belgian number always dial (0) + city code + number. For international information call 1304.

    If you are planning to buy a Belgian SIM-card, there are many different mobile companies that offer their services at competitive rates. Don’t hesitate to compare prices before buying one.

    Living to the fullest

    Student life is just around the corner! Make the most out of your stay and explore what it means to live in Brussels!

    Transport in and out of Brussels


    Get to know our facilities

    Discover the campus

    Around the center of the European Union

    Discover Brussels

    Expanding your horizons

    Beyond the city

    Long-term finances

    What's the best way to pay rent? Thinking about opening a bank account and managing your money during your stay? To find out more about financial matters, visit the section on student financing.  

    A student job can add some welcome change to your pocket, though you should not rely on it to cover all your living expenses. If you feel up to it, the Student Job Service can help you apply for jobs in and around the university. To see under which conditions a student can work and where, check out our student job page.

    I received a tax form...

    Around April or May, international students that have registered at the commune will receive a tax form from the Federal Public Service of Finance.

    Only incomes above a certain threshold are subjected to the income tax, so most students are exempt from paying it. Regardless of that, filling in the papers is mandatory. The deadline for sending in the form is usually at the end of June. You can find more information on social and legal contributions on this page.

    Watch this video and learn how to fill in a simple tax form.

    If you want to make sure you fill in your tax form correctly, the International Relations and Mobility Office is always willing to help.

    Before you head home

    Finished studying and heading back home? Moving out is just as emotional and draining as moving in. To make sure you tie all the loose ends, check the following.

    Moving out: a checklist

    • Hand in your ID card at the commune in Brussels where you are registered. You need to de-register so the commune knows you will be leaving/have left.
    • Be sure to check with the proprietor of your accommodation that all is sorted, closed off and the last bills have been settled.
    • Go to the bank to close your accounts and transfer any money back to your home account.
    • If you are registered with Partena or another health insurance organisation, make sure that you de-register. Otherwise you will still be charged after you leave the country. 

    If you have questions or you encountered problems with these steps, make sure to contact the International Relations and Mobility Office.

    • Those who are obtaining degrees must check with the Education and Student Administration that your home address is in the system so your degree certificates can be mailed to you. Make sure to leave them a forwarding address.
    • If you were at the VUB on a scholarship, check what paperwork is involved before you leave (e.g. Erasmus+ and Erasmus Mundus notice of departure). Especially if you were on an Erasmus+ scholarship, since the Education and Student Administration needs to sign your certificate of departure before you go!

    For matters concerning the end of your studies in Brussels, do not hesitate to contact the Education and Student Administration.