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Traveling to Belgium

Customs & Taxes

Duty and Tax Exemption as a General Rule
Legal Conditions for the Exemption of Personal Goods
Special Formalities for Private Vehicles

Duty and Tax exemption as a general rule

Provided legal conditions are met, exemption from all duties and/or taxes is the rule, for the clearance through Belgian Customs of the following goods, when destined to the household or personal use of newcomers and their family, at the exclusion of any commercial or economic use:

- Private goods : personal effects, furniture, household equipment and linen, provisions corresponding to the normal supply of a family (the exemption does not apply to alcoholic beverages and tobacco products), domestic animals, saddle horses, portable instruments for arts and crafts necessary for the practice of the applicant's profession, motor vehicles with a maximum speed of 40 km/h such as mopeds and other 2 to 4 wheels-vehicles with engine capacity of 50 cc or less, electric vehicles with maximum weight of 400 kilos, without batteries;
- Private vehicles : private cars including trailers, motor-homes, camping cars, caravans, motor-cycles with engine capacity above 50 cc, pleasure boats, sports aircraft.

For more information, please refer to,

Legal conditions for the exemption of personal goods

- The applicant must have has his "normal residence" in another country for at least 12 months.
- The applicant must be moving his normal residence to Belgium.
- Personal goods must have been bought in the country of origin or elsewhere, with payment of local duties and/or taxes. Duties and/or taxes must not have been refunded later
- Previous possession/use of the personal goods must have lasted for at least 6 months.
- The personal goods must be declared for consumption (in other words, cleared through Customs) within the 12 months that follow the newcomer's registration as resident in Belgium.
- The goods may be introduced in several shipments.
- For the 12 months that follow the granting of exemption, none of the personal goods can be disposed of in any manner (lent, rent, deposited as security, sold or given) unless Belgian Customs have been informed. Except in approved circumstances, duties and/or taxes will be payable.


Before the introduction of the personal goods or at the time of importing them, the applicant must submit to the Head of the local Customs office, the following documents, in French, Dutch or German, depending on the area :

- Declaration IM/EU 4 (Regime 40) if the goods originate from a country outside the european Union. The signature of the applicant is required on the declaration, which must refer only to the personal goods. Separate, provisional declarations must be submitted for private vehicles.
- Five (5) signed copies of a "complete list" which consists of an "introductory statement" of the actual list of all goods to be declared, including private vehicles and of a "concluding statement". It is often sufficient to make use of the plurilingual version of the standard list of household goods provided by international moving companies. The list must specify whether the goods are (will be) imported as one or as several shipments.
- Documents must be produced to satisfy Customs that the applicant has had his normal residence abroad for at least 12 months and has received or is in the process of receiving resident status in Belgium.
- The head of the local Customs office may also require proof of a) the address indicated, in the country of origin and in Belgium, b) the identity of applicant and c) the authenticity of the signature(s). In this respect, the applicant is advised to have his signature legalized in his country of origin by a local notary public or by a Belgian diplomatic mission.

Special formalities for private vehicles

Application for the exemption

The applicant will need

- An invoice or any other document supplying evidence that duties and/or VAT have been paid at the time of purchasing the vehicle(s) and that no refunds have subsequently been received by reason of the shipment to Belgium. In other words, that the vehicle has not been bought "in transit" in the country of origin.
- A document furnishing proof of compliance with the requirement of 6 months' possession and use in the country of origin, such as insurance policy, certificate of title, receipt for the payment of a circulation tax, etc...
- Any document giving evidence of compliance with legal conditions that he or she had his or her normal residence in another country for at least 12 months and that he or she is moving his or her normal residence to Belgium.

The applicant will have to submit the documents listed above to the local Customs office together with a "declaration" using Form IM/EU 4.

Pending the decision of the regional Customs office, the local Customs office will issue a "provisional release document 139B" together with a stamped copy of the declaration form IM/EU 4. Both documents should be carried in the vehicle at all times.

Customs clearance of permanently imported vehicles

After the exemption has been granted, formalities for the permanent clearance of the vehicle will have to be carried out at the local Customs office.

On the form IM/EU 4, the applicant must subscribe to the commitment not to dispose of the vehicle during 12 months.

If the vehicle is a motor vehicle destined for road traffic, one of the documents delivered to the applicant by the Customs office will be an "Attestation 705" which is a "vignette/kleefzegel" (self-adhesive label), proving that the vehicle is legally imported and may therefore be registered.


At this stage, the vehicle has been cleared through the Belgian Customs, but the owner is still using the former registration documents and plates.

The final steps are the following:

- Obtaining a certificate of conformity
- Undergoing technical inspection
- Subscribing to an insurance policy
- Obtaining the registration of the vehicle.

a. Certificate of conformity

After the vehicle has received the modifications needed so as to conform to Belgian specifications, the certificate must be issued by the manufacturer's subsidiary in Belgium; if this is impossible, it might also be delivered by one of the Technical inspection stations equipped to do so.

b. Technical inspection

Unless the certificate of conformity has been delivered by a technical inspection station, the privately imported vehicle, equipped with the certificate of conformity issued by the manufacturer's subsidiary, must still undergo the technical inspection, at the station nearest to the owner's residence.

The owner should bring the customs documents and the certificate of conformity.

At the technical inspection station, they will make sure that the car presents no safety or pollution problems (exhaust, rust, brakes, light, steering, ...), does not need a change of tires (depth of grooves must be 1.6 mm minimum), and possesses all accessories imposed by Belgian law, i.e. a sealed fire extinguisher (less than 5 years old) with the logo Benor V (Belgian norms) and with a capacity corresponding to the size of the vehicle, a triangular danger signal (for breakdowns or accidents) and a first-aid kit, of a legally approved model.

The technical inspection will then issue a certificate of inspection, whereby the vehicle is allowed for one year on the roads; they will also make the applicant fill in and sign a registration application form, of pink color, which they will stamp and which must be submitted within two months to the D.I.V. of the Ministry of Transportations.

c. Insurance

All vehicles in use in Belgian roads must at all times, be covered by an insurance policy against third party liability.

From the moment the vehicle is to be driven with Belgian registration plates, the policy must be issued by a Belgian based insurance company, and the driver must be in possession of a "green card", issued for the vehicle by the company. The official name of this documents is "international motor insurance card". It testifies that the vehicle complies with legal requirements in Belgium (and abroad).

With the stamped pink registration application form, the applicant must go to the insurance company and subscribe a policy covering the "third party liability".

d. Registration

Fiscal stamps must be affixed to the form by the applicant and the insurance company will add its stamp.

They will also deliver the application form and all the necessary supporting documents to the D.I.V. of the Ministry of Transportation.

The address is :

Direction pour l'Immatriculation des Véhicules
Direktie voor de Immatriculatie der Voertuigen
Cantersteen 12
1000 Bruxelles

- The officially stamped registration plate will be sent to the applicant along with the registration card (grey card).
- The stamped registration plate should be installed at the back of the vehicle. It is the applicant's responsibility to have a duplicate made for the front of the car.
- A draft giro money-order will be mailed to the applicant for payment of the circulation tax.
- The grey card and the insurance certificate should be in the vehicle at all times.
- If the owner leaves the country or ceases to drive, the stamped plate and the grey card should be returned to the D.I.V. within 4 months.
- The certificate of conformity stays with the vehicle, as it is transferred to successive owners.

source: Living in the Heart of europe


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