A Word of Advice for Expats

By - January 13, 2006 (Updated: November 30, 2014)

So, after six months of waiting, I think I have finally had my police visit.

I say ‘I think I had’ it, because I didn’t actually answer the door.

After a bad night, with little sleep, I was still in bed at 9:30 when the bell rang. Andrew, who had just gotten up, went to the door.

I was quite sure it was the police, although how I knew this after six months of racing to the door only to find my landlady, I’m not sure.

The police asked for me and Andrew told them I was in bed.

I was expecting to have to throw on a robe and stumble to the door with bed-head and morning breath, extract my passport and convince them that I really was who I said I was.

They pointed to my name on the doorbell and mailbox. That was good enough for them. They went off on their merry way.

While I am glad to have this part of the process finally over, I have to say that it would have been nice to know that’s all it took… especially when I was panicking about them visiting while I was in Helsinki and Canada (which is exactly what happened).

I think this little tidbit of info should be plastered on all of the commune walls – ‘Expats – Please insure that you have your name written on your doorbell and postbox, Thank You, the Belgians.’

Frankly, this would have saved me a lot of time and trouble.

So to all you expats waiting in limbo for your police check … Please insure that you have your name written on your doorbell and postbox, Thank You, CheeseWeb.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison Cornford-Matheson
- 13 hours ago

1 comment

  1. Comment by Di

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Di January 13, 2006 at 12:32

    So you’re off drinking wine this morning, explains why you haven’t come back to msn, even though it says you’re online.
    Hmmm,what do we do if you get processed faster than me. My police visit was a couple of months ago, and still NOTHING! I read angry, but no … it’s despair, that’s all.
    But anyway, congratulations on being home, and having your name on the door … yay yay yay!
    P.S. Your comment rules are draconian. I forgot a bit, had to go back, then do the new number … sometimes, I worry I’ve got dyslexia when I do that number thing, or the type the letters in the box thing. Once it asked me if I needed glasses! Perhaps I’ll just sign this, the dyed blonde creature with simplistic tendencies.

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