During your stay


Partner career support

Moving to Belgium will often even have a bigger impact on the family. Finding professional and social opportunities for partners is an important part of ensuring the entire family feels settled in Ghent.
Upon request the DPO Welcome Team can contact the public employment service, ‘Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding’ or VDAB (Flemish Service for Employment and Vocational Training) in order to help the partner find a job. The official language is Dutch. There are three other public employment services:

  • Actiris, responsible for the Brussels-Capital Region, official language: Dutch and French
  • Forem, responsible for the Walloon Region, official language: French
  • ADG, responsible for the German Community, official language: German

More information for partners who wish to work in Belgium


Partners who want to get involved in the local community and meet people might consider volunteering. In Flanders, 1 person in 5 is active as a volunteer. Although volunteering is unpaid, some opportunities offer skills training or managerial experience which can be valuable on your CV.

More information about volunteer work in Ghent.

Residence situation of family members

In certain cases, family members of Ghent University employees who already live in Belgium can also be granted a right of residence. This may relate to existing families (family reunification), but may also relate to employees who want to form a family (e.g. by marriage).

Childcare and schooling

Belgium tops rankings of global education systems (number 2 or 3 depending on the survey). Education enjoys high priority and the largest share of the regional governments’ annual budget in Belgium. Complete systems of public and private schools are available to all children between the ages of 4 and 18, at little or no cost.

Health and safety

You are legally obliged to have a health insurance during your stay in Belgium (for yourself and for the family members staying in Belgium).

Both offer the same basic health insurance (refund of medical costs for general practitioner, dentist, physiotherapist and pharmacy).
The mutual healthcare funds add some extra advantages which you can check via their website (for example: bonus for the birth of a child, marriage, reduction on sports facilities, rental of medical equipment, etc...).

If you register at a mutual healthcare fund, you need to pay the premium yourself. Membership at the Public health insurance is free.  
You can register with the healthcare fund of your choice and change membership after one year of registration.

If you are hospitalized as a result of illness or accident, some costs remain unpaid within the framework of the national health service. A hospitalisation insurance policy is an optional insurance that covers these costs. You can register via your healthcare fund or via the insurance of UGent.

Networking and leisure time

Both Ghent University and the city of Ghent offer various activities for and with other expats.

Driving licence

Driving licence issued by an EU country

If your driving licence is issued by an EU country, it's recognised throughout the EU. So if you move to another EU country, you won't usually have to exchange your licence.

Non-EU driving licences

After moving to Belgium you must exchange your non-EU driving licence immediately.

Extension of residence permits

To stay in Belgium for a longer period, the residence permit must be extended. Contact the town hall or municipality administration of the place of residence. For further information, you can always contact the DPO Welcome team.

Extension of work permits

DPO is responsible for the application of the work permit and for extensions. The work permit B is awarded for a maximum period of 12 months. In principle, it can be extended for a maximum period of 12 months each time, as long as the conditions have been and continue to be complied with.

Change of address

A change of address, even within the same municipality, must be reported.


Double taxation

In the case of employment in an international context, it may happen that a particular source of income is liable to be taxed in several countries at the same time. This results from the tax sovereignty of the states: each state may, at its own discretion and according to its own objectives, work out arrangements.

From a Belgian tax perspective, a resident in Belgium is taxable on all his or her Belgian and foreign remuneration.

Conversely, a resident of another country (who is therefore not a Belgian resident) is usually subject to tax in that country on his or her worldwide income, while the income from Belgian sources is also subject to tax in Belgium (non-residents' tax).

Double-taxation treaties

Consequently, there is always the risk of double taxation in cross-border employment. In that case, a distinction must be made according to whether or not a double-taxation treaty applies between Belgium and the other country. Indeed, Belgium has treaties for the avoidance of double taxation, in short “double-taxation treaties”, concluded with the majority of the countries in the world.

Inform DPO

  • Provide DPO with complete information at the time of appointment or during employment at Ghent University.
  • Always keep the file managers informed of any changes to your family situation. This allows the possible tax implications to be checked.
  • Always keep the file managers informed of any change in your employment (outside of Ghent University). In this case too, this allows the possible tax implications to be checked.

More information

Social security

The question that most applies to cross-border employment is the country in which social-security contributions must be paid.

Social security provides sickness insurance, retirement rest and survivors’ pensions, unemployment benefit, occupational accident insurance, occupational health insurance, family benefits and annual leave.

If you’re employed full-time at Ghent University, you’re required to be covered under Belgian social security.

Note that if you’re employed with fellowship status and come from a country with which Belgium has not concluded a bilateral agreement, then you are only partially subject to NSSO. There is therefore no build-up of rights to pension and unemployment benefit.

It is also possible that an employee is employed at the same time at Ghent University and at another foreign entity. Alternatively, you can work at Ghent University but reside abroad.

To determine the applicable regulations, various parameters are required.

Regulation (EC) 883/2004 determines which social security an employee is subject to in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

The general principle here is that an employee can only be subject to social security in one Member State. In contrast to what is possible for tax purposes, an employee cannot, in principle, be subject to social security in several Member States simultaneously.

In the case of employment at Ghent University, Belgian social security will apply in almost all cases.

Outside the EEA, there are no general treaties; we are therefore dependent on the bilateral treaties that Belgium has concluded with other countries.
This includes:

  • The applicable social-security legislation.
  • The extent of the rights in the field of social security.

Related information


Teaching language

The Higher Education Codex imposes a language requirement for CEFR level C1 on educators for the teaching language used:

  • For teaching in English, a language requirement level C1 for English is imposed.

Administrative language

The Higher Education Codex imposes a language requirement for Dutch CEFR level B2 on each member of the teaching staff and academic staff who is charged with a teaching assignment, which does not teach course units in Dutch.

Ghent University offers a process aimed at:

  • mastering the Dutch language at CEFR level A2 after two years
  • more information about the social integration programme at the Flemish level (in Dutch)
    and achieving the required mastery level B2 within five years after appointment or nomination.