Belgium Country Profile

Passport Ranking
23/198
Passport Score
176.3
Visa-free Countries
160
Show More
Region
Europe
Capital City
Brussels

Largest City
Brussels
Currency
Euro

Languages
Dutch, French, German
Population
11.7 million

Life Expectancy
81.9 years
GDP (nominal)
$589.5 billion

GDP/Capita
$50,506
Cost of Living
Climate
Safety
Pollution
English Proficiency
Expensive (5/7)
Comfortable (2/5)
Safe (3/7)
Average (3/5)
High (2/5)

Taxation Type: Residence-based

Sovereign Research's take:

Belgium is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), allowing its citizens to live and work in any other EEA country, plus Switzerland. (The EEA consists of 27 European Union countries plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.)
Several years ago, a friend of Sovereign Research – let's call him John – decided to renounce his US citizenship and moved to Belgium after obtaining residency there. He eventually became a Belgian citizen.

Belgium used to be one of the easiest places to get a European passport, and certainly the fastest – after just three years of residency, one could qualify for the Belgian passport. 

Unfortunately, the rules have since changed, and obtaining a Belgian passport is not as quick and easy a thing to do today. It now takes at least five years of residency. 

John capitalized on what we always say at Sovereign Research: If you see a great opportunity, take action now, before it goes away. And these opportunities usually disappear without warning.

John absolutely loves Belgium, and there are good reasons for this. 

The country is situated in the heart of Europe, close to France and The Netherlands, and you can take a train to London from there. 

If you have kids, the quality of the schools is superb. And depending on what area of Belgium you live in, your children will learn Dutch, French, and German at school (and sometimes all three languages). Given its size and central location, it’s no surprise that its population is highly international and cultured. 

Yes, Brussels is inundated with EU bureaucrats, but aside from that, it's a nice place to be. It is a large, magnificent city with excellent restaurants, bookstores, lectures, arts and events.

(Having said that, recently, a friend living in Brussels complained about how littered it has become, and how visible the refugee/immigrant crisis is there.)

Washington D.C. in the US is similar in that regard.

Being one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, Belgium boasts a surprisingly reasonable cost of living. When you contrast the cost of living in Brussels to that of Paris, London, or even Milan, you see that Brussels is a bargain.

Belgium is generally not a great place to start a business or save on taxes, however. The level of regulation and taxation there is high.

And while it doesn't get too cold in Belgium, be ready for overall gloomy weather, with little sunshine all year around..

Service Providers available in Belgium in Sovereign Research's Rolodex:

  • Immigration (residency, citizenship)
  • Tax advice (attorneys and/or accountants)
  • Corporate services (company formation, etc.)
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