You are about to move abroad to start working or studying in Belgium? How exciting! Do you already see yourself wandering the Grand Place with new friends and colleagues with a beer in hand? Have you read up everything there is to know about Belgium; its culture, educational system, taxation system, the labour market and the housing market? Sounds like you are ready to tackle the challenge! But wait, before you jump on a plane, have you thought about opening a bank account in Belgium? You do not need to wait until your arrival to do so. Many banks offer the ability to open an account online, even from abroad. So what are you waiting for? Check out our guide to opening a bank account before moving and simplify your life today!

My bank account in Belgium

Opening a bank account in Belgium is a crucial step. Often even a necessary one. It allows you to receive your salary, perform your daily banking but also to deposit a rental guarantee or subscribe to an insurance for your accommodation. All these things are important, and if possible, you should make sure they are done before your arrival.

And there are good news! Belgium is one of the countries in the EU with the most attractive rates for banking, and the lowest costs associated with opening a bank account.

In Belgium, most banks offer different types of "packages" that include a current account, online services and a credit card or prepaid card. For a surcharge, it is possible to add other products. The cost of these different "packages" varies depending on the options you choose. A small number of banks, such as BNP Paribas Fortis, make it their mission to make life easier for you and offer you the possibility to open an account before your arrival. What do you need to order an account? All you need is to have your identity card or passport and proof of address ready when you visit the bank's website, and you can take the first steps. You can open your account instantly online and order your bank card. That way, your card will be available for pick up in your branch once you arrive in Belgium, where you can finalise any administrative formalities. Keep in mind that if your identity document is issued in a non-official language or foreign characters, it might be that you need to provide a certified translation. There is no need to open your account more than 30 days prior to your arrival in Belgium, as you will need to finalise the process in person within that time.

A savings account for my rental guarantee

If you want to rent accommodation, you will need to deposit a rental guarantee. This amount cannot exceed two months' rent and is blocked on a traditional savings account in your name in order to protect the landlord if you do not meet your obligations. The amount will be returned with the consent of the lessor at the end of the lease. BNP Paribas Fortis is one of the few banks that makes things easier for you by opening a savings account for your rental guarantee from abroad. If you wish to subscribe to this option, simply select it when opening your current account online.

It is important to spend sufficient time preparing such practicalities before you leave. This way, you have more time to relax and discover all the attractions that Belgium has to offer from the very beginning of your stay!