Arrival in Antwerp

Find more information here about travelling to Antwerp and getting around the city. We will also provide you with some practical information about your residence permit, opening a bank account in Belgium and why you might need a Belgium SIM card for your phone.

Getting to Antwerp

Antwerp is very well connected to several major international traffic hubs.

By plane

  • Brussels national airport in Zaventem is 45 kilometres from Antwerp, and the airport in Deurne is only 15 mins from the city center. Brussels South Charleroi Airport and Eindhoven Airport (in the Netherlands) are also nearby.
  • From these airports, you can take a train to Antwerp's central train station.
  • Alternatively, the Antwerp-Brussels Airport Express Bus is arguably the most convenient way to get to Antwerp from Brussels airport. It reaches the centre of Antwerp in approximately 45 minutes.

By train

  • Antwerp has two main stations: Antwerp Central Station and Berchem station.
  • International railway lines link Brussels and Antwerp to several other major European cities in France, the Netherlands and Germany.
  • Antwerp is connected to the European high-speed train projects: Thalys, Eurostar and Eurotunnel.

Residence Permit

The residence permit applies to most students from outside Belgium who will remain living in Belgium for 3 months or more.


  • You need a permanent address in Antwerp to start your application for a residence permit. If you are temporarily staying in a hostel or with friends, you can’t start your application yet.
  • If you have accommodation outside of Antwerp (Antwerp, Berchem, Borgerhout, Deurne, Ekeren, Merksem, Hoboken, Wilrijk, Berendrecht-Zandvliet-Lillo), you will need to contact your local municipality yourself to apply for a residence permit.
  • If you are an EEA+ national and only stay for one semester, you don’t need a residence permit. Getting a permit can take a very long time and you might only receive it by the time you are almost leaving again. Please contact Student Services if you think you still need a residence permit.
  • Start your application as soon as possible (when you are in Belgium and have suitable accommodation). The process takes around 2 months, so you don’t want to wait too long after arriving.
  • As a resident of the province of Antwerp you are subject to an annual provincial tax of around 40 euros and you will have to fill out a tax letter. This does not apply to students with an ‘annex 33’.

1. Submit your documents

To register you need to submit the required documents. Label each document separately and scan them in colour to Only complete files are accepted by the immigration office.

There is a special block on the information sheet to provide useful information for the police officer, such as your class hours/days, the times/days you are at home.

You can also provide other specific details: e.g. that there is only one doorbell or mailbox for several residents, etc. The information you enter may simplify and therefore speed up the residence check procedure in step 2.

Students from neighbouring countries (France, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany)

  • You can apply for a registration document called Bijlage 33 (annex 33), which is a limited registration for one year. You will need to renew this every year. You retain your main residence in your home country.

  • If you are only staying for one semester, you don’t need a residence permit.

  • Required documents: 

EEA+ students

  • You need to register on the national register using your accommodation address in Antwerp. You are given a national register number and an electronic residence card which is valid for 5 years.

  • If you are an EEA+ student staying for only one semester, you don’t have to apply for a residence permit.

  • Required documents: 

NON-EEA students with visa type D

  • You will need a visa type D to study in Belgium. Contact us if you have any questions.

  • You will receive a residence permit for one year and need to renew this every year

  • Required documents:

    • Completed information sheet (pdf)

    • Valid ID card or passport (front & back)

    • Certificate of enrolment with KdG

    • Proof of sufficient resources

    • Proof of health insurance coverage

    • Valid D visa with entry stamp

After submitting your documents

We send them to the Immigration Office at Gate 15 (STAN).

  • Students from neighbouring countries don't have to do anything else, we will send you your electronic residence permit (annex 33) by email.
  • We will let you know when the immigration office has approved your application and send you a temporary document you have to carry a (digital) copy of until you receive your residence card.

2. Residence check

As a next step, the police will check your address. This is a standard procedure and you don’t need to worry about it. Please make sure your full name is on both your mailbox and bell.

If you are not home at the time they come to check, they will come by at a later time. You don’t need to worry about missing them.

Please let us know when the police have checked your address. We will then make an appointment for you at GATE15 (STAN).

3. Appointment at STAN

  • Go to your appointment and bring your passport or identity card, a recent passport photograph (size 3.5 x 4.5cm on a white background), which you can get in a photo booth at the train stations Antwerpen-Centraal and Berchem, and approx. 21 euros for your residence card (card only, cash is not accepted).
  • There is also an urgent procedure where you pay 124,60 euros and receive your permit in 2 days.
  • Approximately two weeks after your appointment, you will receive a letter with a pin code by regular mail. Now you can collect your electronic residence card at STAN at the appointed date and time.
    • Make sure to take your passport, the pin code letter and temporary document with you.
    • If you have not received your pin codes by the time of your appointment, send an email to and let us know.

Getting around Antwerp

And once you’re here, getting around the city is very simple whether it be on foot, by bike or by public transport.

Joining us in September?

On Saturday 9th and Saturday 16th September from 9am to 6pm, you’ll find a dedicated Welcome desk at Antwerp’s central train station.

There you can get information about Antwerp in general and learn all about your transport options for getting around the city including ticket info about De Lijn for buses and trams. Plus, you’ll get your very own plan of Antwerp.

You can also do your research right here. Read on for more info!

On foot

  • Antwerp is especially good for walking. It is not too big and there’s so much to take in, so just follow Google maps to get from A to B and off you go!
  • To give you an idea of distance, to get from Antwerp Central Station to the river Scheldt, via the main shopping street 'Meir', the 'Groenplaats' and the Town Hall only takes about 20 minutes.
  • There are 3 ways to get from one side of the river to the other in Antwerp: 2 tunnels both accessible by bike or on foot, and the ferry, which can be a nice alternative if you’re exploring the city.

By bike

  • Buying your own second-hand bike in Antwerp is a worthwhile investment. Wielredders and 2dehands are two sites to check out. There are also a few second-hand bike stores in Antwerp.
  • Velo: You will notice the small red-and-white Velo bicycles as soon as you arrive in Antwerp. They have stations all over the city and it’s a really easy to use system. Want to fit in like a real local? A pass for a week is 12 euros, for a full year you’ll pay 58 euros.
  • Swapfiets: Get a Swapfiets bicycle for a fixed price per month. Swapfiets ensures a bicycle that always works.
  • Blue-bike: With Blue-bike you can easily get from the train station to your final destination and back. You can rent a bike in every big train station for as long as you need it. You pay 12 euros per year for your membership card and pay 3,5 euros for every first 24 hours.

Shared scooters

Bird, Lime, and Poppy provide shared scooters in Antwerp through a free-floating system: they have no fixed parking space, but you can locate them with an app. Use your smartphone to unlock the scooter and depart immediately. At the end of your journey, you must leave the scooter behind in a drop-off zone or in a place where it will not inconvenience anyone.

Scooters can only be ridden on bicycle lanes and you should wear a helmet.

By public transport

  • De Lijn (buses and trams)
    • Tram rides above and underground
    • Trams are ideal to get around between the neighbourhoods of Antwerp. The moment you want to travel outside those, then the bus is your best option.
  • Antwerp city card travel as much as you want, without the hassle of getting tickets. With this card, all transportation with trams and buses is included
  • NMBS (train)

More useful links

  • Slim naar Antwerpen (Smart ways to Antwerp) will give you all the different options to get from point A to point B with updated maps, and warns you when and where it will be crowded due to traffic or events.
  • Visit Antwerp is the website of the tourist office in Antwerp. They can provide you with loads of information and advice on transportation.
  • De Waterbus is a fast and cheap boat on the river Scheldt for if you want to explore more.
  • Airport Express is a fast and cheap bus to get to and back from Brussels Airport Zaventem.
  • Flixbus offers cheap bus rides all through Europe.
  • b-Europe is the platform for international trains that pass through Belgium.
KdG Antwerp (photo by Frederik Beyens)

Opening a bank account

If you are a non-EEA student you are advised to open a Belgian account to reduce your international transaction costs. For EEA students this is not necessary but you may choose to do so.

If you would like to open a bank account in Belgium, a popular choice is BNP Paribas Fortis. Some other options for you are:

For more specific questions around banking contact

What kind of SIM card should you get?

If you are joining us from outside the EEA, you are advised to get a Belgian SIM card. EEA students can continue using an existing European SIM. Roaming charges may apply.

To get a Belgian SIM, choose between a prepaid account (short-term) or a subscription(long-term). You will need a Belgian bank account for a full subscription.

The most popular providers are: