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Do you intend to realize before long your international dreams ? Then it is possible that you will be confronted to the following question : ‘Can I benefit both inside and outside Europe from the Belgian social security ?’

Social protection abroad

Generally speaking you are always subject to the local legislation of the country where you are residing and working – this could imply that in this country you are without social security cover.

However within the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and the United Kingdom specific rules exist that guarantee that there is always a social security system applicable to you.

If you are going to work in another country, this does not mean that Belgium totally escapes the attention.

Working in Europe

Local legislation

When you are going to work in the European Economic Area or in Switzerland, you are automatically subject to the social security system of one of this Member State (27 EU countries, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland).

The legislation of the affiliated countries determines the way in which you will be insured, the benefits linked to this insurance and the conditions under which these are granted.

In order to preserve your social rights, you thus have to pay social contributions in your new country of employment. In that way you can avoid that you completely or partially lose your rights if you are moving within the EEA and Switzerland.


If your Belgian employer sends you abroad for a temporary assignment, you can file a posting request at the National Social Security Office (NSSO). This will allow you to be kept insured under the Belgian social security system.

In order to be eligible, you have to fulfill a number of specific rules for posted workers (in French)(New window).

Once you have requested for a posting permit, the NSSO will examine whether you qualify for this.

The security from home … also outside Europe

If you will be working outside the EEA, Switzerland or the United Kingdom as a Belgian or European national, there are several options to safeguard your social protection.

On the one hand you can be subject to the social security system of the country concerned. On the other hand however you can affiliate with the Overseas Social Security (OSS), even though the local social security system is applicable.

As branch of the NSSO, the OSS offers similar insurances as those you are accustomed to in Belgium. This anchorage in the Belgian social security also guarantees that the OSS can offer a continuity both upon departure and return.

You can affiliate under certain conditions as an individual, as employer or as self-employed person:

  • You are working outside the EEA, Switzerland or the United Kingdom and
  • You are a Belgian or a national of a Member State of the EEA or Switzerland, or
  • You are a national of another country where you are working as employee on behalf of the Belgian State, regions or communities or on behalf of an enterprise with registered office in Belgium

As employer you can affiliate a minimum number of 5 expats. If you affiliate less expats, this is also possible under certain conditions.

By means of the insurance policies of the OSS, you are insured for all medical costs (recognized by the NIHDI/RIZIV/INAMI), against an occupational accident or an accident in private life, against illness or pregnancy, your years of service abroad are counting for your Belgian pension and your dependents are – under certain circumstances – also protected.

If you wish more information, you can always apply to the Frontline of the Overseas Social Security at the address overseas@onss.fgov.be or by dialing the number +32 2 509 90 99.

Would you like to share your travel experiences?

Are you an expat or do you know someone with an inspiring experience abroad? Please don't hesitate to contact us at overseas-expat@onssrszlss.fgov.be. And who knows, you might inspire future expats with your story.

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