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When preparing for a short or a long term stay at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and in order to allow for a smooth adjustment in Brussels, many items are to be considered and/or brought along.

Documents

Required:

  • A valid passport (or ID card for EEA citizens)
  • visa if applicable
  • The letter of invitation/acceptance from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Health insurance valid in Belgium*
  • Student card from the home university, or other proof of registration**
  • The original learning agreement**
  • In officially authenticated copy of the diploma and of the transcripts of academic records (mark sheets), if the acceptance letter received was conditional on obtaining a degree which was not yet completed at the time of application***
  • For stays longer than 3 months, students must register at the local administration in Belgium. Requirements for registration vary from one area to another in Brussels, but may include:
    • A long term address in Brussels (rental contract or other proof of long term accommodation)
    • A copy of proof of sufficient financial means (the financial warranty form used to obtain the visa at the Belgian diplomatic representation or scholarship attestation)
    • An official copy of one’s birth certificate
    • Proof of legal status (if applicable in the student or scholar’s home country)

*Except for non-EEA students, who will be assisted upon arrival to obtain valid insurance in Belgium.
** Only applicable to exchange students.
*** An officially authenticated copy is a copy of the student or scholar’s academic degree or diploma/transcript of records, which has been duly signed and stamped by the home university and verified by the Belgian diplomatic representation. If these documents are not in English, French or Dutch, official translations, performed by a sworn translator, in one of these 3 languages must be presented at the time of registration.

Recommended:

  • To be kept at hand while travelling: name and contact information of an emergency contact person, contact data at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, directions to housing/lodging and official documents
  • Contact data of the home country’s diplomatic representation in Belgium
  • Medical history if presenting specific medical conditions
  • Other insurance if available, such as life insurance
  • Driver’s license, if planning on driving in Belgium
  • 6 passport photographs for diverse documents (white background, 3.5 x 4.5 cm)
  • Copies of the documents listed above

Finances

Students and scholars must ensure having sufficient funds in cash in the local currency euro (€ / EUR) to cover the expenses of the first few days. Money exchange bureaus and cash dispensers are available within Brussels International Airport premises, and in the main train station Brussel Zuid/Gare du Midi and in the city itself.

Average personal expenses are estimated at about 900 euro per month, including accommodation, meals and study materials. During the first month, however, exceptional costs for registration, copies of documents and a warranty or deposit concerning accommodation should be expected.

Usual requirements to open a bank account are:

  • A minimum stay of 3 months
  • A valid passport (or an identity card for EU citizens)
  • An address of residence in Belgium
  • Proof of registration at the local administration
  • A student card or proof of registration at the university may also be requested

Hence, for stays shorter than 3 months a higher amount of cash is needed or alternatively, a credit card and/or a foreign bank account must be available to the student in order to make and receive payments. 

Luggage

Over or under packing is to be avoided. International students and scholars are encouraged to check the luggage restrictions imposed by their airline carrier. An umbrella and waterproof shoes will be useful throughout the year. Warm clothes suitable for the winter season (between -5°C and 10°C from November to March) are necessary. Average summer temperatures are 13°C (night) and 22°C (day).

Frequent use items, including small household appliances, are readily available in Brussels at standard worldwide prices. Chain supermarkets and specialty stores in the city offer a wide range of food ingredients and dishes from all continents.

Students and scholars with specific medical needs are encouraged to take the necessary precautions as indicated by their physician to allow for treatment continuity upon arrival.

If needed upon arrival, the international airport and main train stations offer baggage lockers within their premises.

If you have a lot of luggage to move, in order to avoid excess baggage rates, you might contact a specialized company to help you move. They also provide free boxes and packing materials.

EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway.

EU: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Holland, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Sweden Cyprus, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic. 
New EU member states with restrictions: Romania and Bulgaria.
Switzerland is neither EU nor EEA, but has bilateral agreements with the EU which means that Swiss citizens do not require a visa to travel within the EEA.

EEA: EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway.

EU: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Holland, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Sweden Cyprus, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic. 
New EU member states with restrictions: Romania and Bulgaria.
Switzerland is neither EU nor EEA, but has bilateral agreements with the EU which means that Swiss citizens do not require a visa to travel within the EEA.

The local administration is the whole of public services and departments managing the communication between the local authorities (city, town or village) and the citizen, usually the local town hall, which is in charge of issuing residence permits, building permits, driving licences, registration of births and deaths, etc.

Embassy, Consulate, or other local official representation.

Commune: town, city or village. Brussels consists of 19 communes, these are: Anderlecht, Brussel Centrum (Bruxelles centre), Elsene (Ixelles), Etterbeek, Evere, Ganshoren, Jette, Koekelberg, Oudergem (Auderghem), Schaarbeek (Schaerbeek), Sint-Agatha Berchem (Berchem Saint-Agathe), Sint-Gillis (Saint-Gilles), Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Molenbeek Saint-Jean), Sint-Joost ten Noode (Saint-Josse ten Noode), Sint-Lambrechts Woluwe (Woluwe Saint-Lambert), Sint-Pieters Woluwe (Woluwe Saint-Pierre), Ukkel (Uccle), Vorst (Forrest), Watermaal-Bosvoorde (Watermael-Boitsfort).

EU: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Greece, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland Slovakia, Slovenia

Schengen non-EU : Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Ireland and UK are EU but NOT part of the Schengen area.

Special rules may apply to students from specific countries. Students from China need to deposit an amount of €6000 on a blocked account in China. They also need to pass a selection procedure called APS.

Non-EEA students are not allowed to use their own financial means through money on a bank account and always need a third person, to act as their financial guarantor. The latter will be responsible for the student’s living, study and medical costs as well as repatriation. (Annex 32 – also see “Scholarship certificate or a financial guarantee form”)
Are also accepted: proof of a regular income such as a scholarship, grant, student loan or salary (leave with pay) and money, blocked on an account provided by the University.

Type D visa for entire families are only delivered in the framework of economic migration. Under the student status the family can only travel after the student has obtained his ID card, has arranged medical insurance for the family and can present proof of suitable accommodation (registered rental contract).

charter awarded by the European Commission. The Charter sets out the fundamental principles and the minimum requirements with which the higher education institution must comply when implementing its ERASMUS activities.