Arranging a long term leave

Less than two weeks. That’s all I have left here in Belgium with my Belgian family. After that, I will be staying with my other family. My Filipino family. It’s getting really close now, so let me inform you about the things I’ve been taking care of to arrange my departure, away from Belgium.

Quiting my job
• in June, I’ve informed my boss that I was going to leave the company. Well, actually I was gonna get ‘fired’ or placed somewhere else. There was not enough work coming in and they had to cut in the budget of salaries. I was the last to arrive, I was the first who had to leave. Of course the company didn’t really want to keep me in service for 3 more months and they didn’t want to pay these 3 months. So they’ve looked already for a solution for me, so I could start somewhere else. A sister company needed someone for a nice job. Because I didn’t want to waste the time of both of the companies I thought that was the perfect moment to explain my plans of leaving and moving. We agreed that I would just quit. I wouldn’t have to finish 1,5 months of resignation time and they wouldn’t pay any ‘firing fee’. On that way I could just search for some temporary job in 2 shifts, so I had time to arrange the necessary papers for my leaving.

Finding a temporary job
• in July, I started looking immediately for a new, temporary job. I found one within 1 week. I started looking on Monday and on Friday I could already start. A boring factory-job but at least I was earning and I had time to go to Brussels for the important papers.
I have worked for 4 weeks in that company until the summer holidays started to bring less work to the company. All the temporary workers didn’t have to come back for at least 2 weeks. In Belgium, the government provides an unemployment allowance when you have worked at least 3 weeks and didn’t quit yourself. Well, no worries there. I arranged my papers and so I still earn something while I’m not working.

Cancel my renting contact for apartment
• also in July I cancelled the rent for my apartment. Too late actually. You need to cancel your renting contract at least 3 months before you want to stop renting it. Unless you find someone else who wants to move in earlier. Lucky for us, we had a new renter somewhere around August 17. Our schedule to leave was no problem. Pfwew.

Selling my car
• I had a car in Belgium. My precious Seat Ibiza. We’ve done so many trips in Europe together. Paris (3 times), London, Berlin, Amsterdam and almost everywhere in Belgium. But I couldn’t bring her to the Philippines. Importing a car is almost as expensive as a new car and then you still have to arrange the transport. So I sold her, paid the rest of my loan to my parents and I’ve put the rest on my account as some starting money for in the Philippines.

Apply for a visa
• a visa? What visa? When you’re married to a Filipina, you can go to the Philippines for a year without having to apply for a visa. It’s called ‘Balikbayan’. All you need are your wedding papers. Once you’re in the Philippines, you can see if you can adjust to your new life. If so, you can apply for a resident visa for a permanent stay. Again no worries there, not much papers to arrange, just had the wedding papers translated so we’re good there. At least, that’s what we hope for. We’ll see soon enough if the immigration service will let us pass 😉

Closing bank accounts
• at the bank, I still have my normal bank account and my savings account. Of course I won’t need the savings account anymore, but my normal bank account I will still need. At least for a while. I still have to receive back from or pay for the taxes. (I hope I’ll get something back, I paid enough last time) Also, in Belgium you never know when something will come up that still has to be paid. So I’m leaving my account open with some money and I gave someone the permission to manage it. After 1 year she will be able to close the account and bring me the money that’s left when she comes over to visit me.

Fill out taxes
• because I worked this year, I also have to fill out my taxes. I went to the tax office and asked for a paper to fill out. In all the companies I’ve worked I asked for the correct papers and amounts I’ve earned so I could fill out the taxes. Now I’m just waiting for the last numbers to fill out.

Ship your stuff to the Philippines
• we had a lot of stuff to take to the Philippines. But I didn’t want to pay the super expensive rates for over weighed luggage. We found a company that ships every month a shipping container to the Philippines. You can fill our your boxes and have it shipped for very reasonable priced. The company is ELJO Balikbayan Box and is run by a Belgian and a Filipino in Belgium. They have contacts in the Philippines who are there to unload the container at arrival and they send it to your desired destination. We filled 3 boxes with books, albums, etc.

Buying your flight ticket
• of course a crucial step in moving to the Philippines … buying the flight ticket. We wanted to fly as cheap as possible and some stop overs were no problem, for as long as we don’t have to wait for 10 hours in an airport. (I’ve done that once, that was enough). We found some ok rates on cheaptickets.be. Qatar airways showed us one of the cheapest tickets. But when we checked on the website of Qatar Airways itself, it was even cheaper. So we bought direct from their website. We have stop in Rome (too bad we can not visit the city in the waiting time), then we fly to Doha, Qatar and finally to Manilla. We were supposed to fly on a weekday because that’s cheaper, but I’d like to have my family at the airport and they too want to be there for my last goodbye and so we chise for a weekend flight.

Qatar Airways at Doha International Airport.

Qatar Airways at Doha International Airport. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So these are some points you might want to arrange if you’re in that same situation. Other things I might have forgotten to mention, feel free to ask if I did them and how I arranged them.