My child is going abroad
Always notify your Child Benefit fund if your child is going abroad. Your KidsLife adviser will be happy to discuss the various options and inform you of any steps you need to take.
Within or outside the EEA or Switzerland?
As a general principle, you are entitled to the Growth Package or Child Benefit, supplemented with any allowances, if your child is staying in a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
- EEA countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom and Sweden.
If your child is staying in a country outside the EEA or Switzerland, or in a country with which Belgium has no bilateral agreement, then you will still be entitled to the Growth Package or Child Benefit under certain conditions. Please see below for the specific circumstances.
We are moving abroad
Is your Belgian employer (temporarily) sending you abroad on a work assignment? And is your family coming with you?
- If you are moving to a country within the EEA, then you will still receive your Growth Package or Child Benefit payments.
- Even if you move to a country outside the EEA, you remain subject to Belgian Social Security. This means that you are entitled to the Growth Package or Child Benefit for a maximum of 1 year. The maximum 1-year limit does not apply to children of government personnel.
What if you have a baby while working abroad?
Temporary stay abroad
Will your child be staying abroad for no more than 2 months per calendar year? Then nothing changes: you will still receive your Growth Package or Child Benefit payments. The same applies to a baby that is born while the mother is abroad.
Is your child abroad for medical reasons?
It could be that your child is staying abroad for medical reasons, in order to undergo a specific treatment for example. Is this stay for a maximum of three years? And for medical reasons on the part of your child, you (as a parent) or your partner? Then you will continue to be entitled to the Growth Package or Child Benefit.
Please note: you must be able to demonstrate (by means of a medical certificate) that returning to Belgium is not an option.
Is your child enjoying a school (summer, Christmas or Easter) holiday with grandma and grandpa abroad? Or a visit to other family members? You will continue to be entitled to the Growth Package or Child Benefit in this situation.
Want your child to enjoy a carefree holiday? And to have complete peace of mind? Then make sure to take out adequate travel insurance.
Is your child planning a 1-year Erasmus exchange? Or going on a secondary school foreign exchange? This will undoubtedly be an exciting and valuable experience for your child. As well as a significant adjustment for you as a parent.
The Growth Package or Child Benefit can be time-limited:
- for non-higher education: you are entitled to the Growth Package or Child Benefit for 1 school year.
- for higher education: you are entitled to the Growth Package or Child Benefit throughout the entire period during which your child is pursuing higher education.
The Growth Package or Child Benefit is not time-limited:
- if your child receives a national or foreign education allowance.
- if your child is pursuing an education in a neighbouring country and returns home to Belgium each day.
Please note: parents need not make any additional arrangements if their child is planning a 1-year Erasmus exchange or an internship abroad organised by a Belgian school. However, if your child is moving abroad and planning to enrol in a foreign school under their own initiative, then you will need to make special arrangements. Please contact your KidsLife adviser in this instance. They will be happy to assist you!
Volunteer work or an internship abroad
Is your child setting off for an internship or volunteer work abroad? You will still receive your Growth Package or Child Benefit payments in this scenario. However, you must possess a certificate from the National Employment Office, Flemish Employment Agency or Le Forem, or the voluntary organisation concerned.
Does your child want to take some time out after studying, to explore the world before starting a job? You will still receive your Growth Package or Child Benefit payments, providing they don’t spend more than 2 months abroad.
Countries with child benefit treaties
Belgium has concluded child benefit treaties with a number of countries outside the EEA or Switzerland. As a consequence, you will still receive your Growth Package or Child Benefit payments from Belgium if your child is being raised in one of these countries.
These countries are: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and the non-EU republics of the former Yugoslavia.
Please note: different amounts apply to each country and you will only receive child benefit for a maximum of 4 children.
Still have questions related to your child's stay in a non-EEA country or Switzerland? We will be happy to assist you. Contact KidsLife for more information.
Tips for students planning a foreign adventure
Studying or doing an internship abroad is an unforgettable adventure. But one that also requires a certain amount of preparation.
- Choose the country
First things first: choose the country where you want to study. In the case of an Erasmus exchange or internship, your Belgian school will usually make the necessary arrangements for you. However, if you are planning a full study program abroad, then you must enrol in your chosen school yourself. Make sure that it’s a recognised education and institution.
- Find a place to stay
Finding a suitable place to stay from a distance requires some preparation. Whilst some host countries and schools will be happy to arrange this for you, you usually have to make your own plans. Most students opt for student housing, but you can also share an apartment with other local or foreign exchange students. Ask your educational institution for information on the various accommodation options. And consider planning a short city trip to explore in advance. Make as many arrangements as possible prior to leaving!
- Brush up on the local language
It helps if you can speak a smattering of the national tongue, particularly in those first few overwhelming days in a new country. It will also help to kick-start your social life. Most students get off to a flying start in English-speaking countries. For other countries, however, a preparatory language course is highly recommended.
- Make sure that you have the correct documents at your disposal
If you’re going to study in a European country, then your identity card is usually sufficient. For other countries, you will need an international passport. Keep in mind that you will also need a student visa for some countries outside of Europe. Find out what’s required well ahead of time, so that you can make all the necessary arrangements before you leave.
- Take out adequate insurance cover
If you’re still domiciled with your parents, then you’re likely covered under their insurance policy. But always verify this with your insurer and check that you have adequate travel insurance, fire insurance (for your foreign accommodation), home insurance, accident insurance and theft insurance.
- Consider your banking requirements
If you’re going abroad for a considerable period of time, then it’s probably best to open a local bank account. In fact, for some universities this is mandatory. Make sure that you bring the correct documents (identity papers, proof of address etc.) with you.
If you’re only going for a few weeks/months, then your Belgian bank card (Maestro) will usually suffice. But be careful: withdrawing money outside Europe incurs costs.
A prepaid card, which works as a pre-loaded credit card, is also a convenient option.
- Explore your mobile phone options
Explore whether it’s worth purchasing a foreign SIM card. Check the roaming costs with your provider in advance, and determine whether it’s possible to take out a (temporary) phone subscription abroad. The last thing that you want is to return home to an unexpectedly high phone bill.
- Notify your health insurance provider
Planning to stay abroad for more than 1 year? Then notify your health insurance provider.