Customs regulations for your trip to Belgium

Last modified: August 31, 2023
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Customs Regulations

Customs Classification

The Combined Nomenclature of the European Union integrates the HS nomenclature and supplements it with its own subheadings with an eight-digit code number and its own Legal Notes created for Community purposes. In order to get exhaustive regulations and custom tariffs rates regarding their products, exporters shall refer to the TARIC code and its database, which includes all applicable customs duties and all customs trade policy measures for all goods.

Import Procedures

Customs procedures include, apart from importing with payment of duties, the following tax exemption procedures: release for consumption, transit or temporary admission, customs warehousing, inward processing, processing under customs control.

As part of the “SAFE” standards set out by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the European Union has set up a system of import controls (Import Control System- ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system is part of the Community Programme eCustoms, which requires operators to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.

The Single Administrative Document (SAD) is the official model for written declarations to customs. The SAD describes goods and their movement around the world and is essential for trade outside the EU, or of non-EU goods. Goods brought into the EU customs territory are, from the time of their entry, subject to customs supervision until customs formalities are completed.
Since 1 July 2009, all companies established outside of the EU are required to have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if they wish to lodge a customs declaration or an Entry/Exit Summary declaration.

The TARIC (Tarif Intégré de la Communauté) is available to help determine if a licence is required for a specific product. Furthermore, the European Commission maintains a trade helpdesk with information regarding import restrictions of various products.

For more information please visit the European Commission Portal on Taxation and Customs Union.

Importing Samples

Samples are acceptable to Belgium and exempt from all Duty and VAT. A Certificate of Origin will not be required for import – only a standard Air Waybill or Bill of Lading and Commercial Invoice will be needed.
Belgium is part of the ATA Carnet convention.

Imported samples of commercial value owned by individuals abroad also may be granted exemption from customs charges. Security is required in the amount of duty and tax chargeable, plus an additional 10%. Samples are allowed to stay in Belgium for up to one year. Such samples are not permitted to be sold, put to normal use (except for demonstration purposes) or utilised in any manner for remuneration.

Dutiable Items

Tobacco products:

  • 800 cigarettes;
  • 400 cigarillos (max. 3g each);
  • 200 cigars;
  • 1kg smoking tobacco;

Alcoholic beverages:

  • 10 litres of spirits over 22%;
  • 20 litres of alcoholic beverages less than 22%;
  • 90 litres of wine (though no more than 60 litres of sparkling wine);
  • 110 litres of beer.

These quantities can be seized if customs are satisfied that they are of a commercial nature.

Free Import quantities when travelling from outside EU

Alcohol and alcoholic beverages

Over 17 years olds can bring (in personal luggage) the following quantities:

  • 1 litre of alcohol that does not exceed 22% volume of alcohol, or un-denatured ethyl alcohol 80% volume and over
  • 2 litres of alcohol that does not exceeds 22% volume of alcohol
  • 4 litres of still wine
  • 16 litres of beer.

The passengers can combine the first two types of alcohol as long the alcohol volume does not exceed 100%.

Over 17 years old that belong to the following categories:

  • persons residing in the frontier zone (region beyond the expanding borders of the European Union including: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro)
  • frontier-zone workers,
  • the crews of means of transport used between third countries and the Community, may bring (in your personal luggage) alcohol in the following quantities:
  • 0,5 litre of alcohol exceeding 22% volume, or un-denatured ethyl alcohol of 80% volume and over a total of 0,5 litre of alcohol and alcoholic beverages of an alcoholic strength not exceeding 22% volume
  • 0,5 litre of still wine
  • 2 litres of beer.

The passengers can combine the first two types of alcohol as long the alcohol volume does not exceed 100%.

Note that the consideration of what constitutes frontier countries lies entirely with EU and the list outlined above may change.

Tobacco products

When travelling by air or sea , over 17 years old can bring tobacco products for personal use only the following:

  • 200 cigarettes or
  • 100 cigarillos or
  • 50 cigars or
  • 250 g of smoking tobacco.

Each amount specified in above points will amount to 100% of the total allowance for tobacco products.

When travelling by land, over 17 years old can bring tobacco products for personal use only the following:

  • 40 cigarettes or
  • 20 cigarillos or
  • 10 cigars or
  • 50 grams of smoking tobacco.

Each amount specified in all the points will amount to 100% of the total allowance for tobacco products.

Personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to 430 euro when travelling by air or sea

Personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to 300 euro when travelling by land

Personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to 150 euro for travellers under 15 years of age.

Restricted

  • pets need to be identifiable (tattoo or an electronic identification system), vaccinated against rabies and have a health certificate. For more information please refer to the nearest embassy.
  • maximum of 10 kg of meat, milk and dairy products coming from Croatia, Færøer Islands, Greenland and Iceland
  • powdered milk for babies, food for children and special medical food (including pets food) may be allowed if they need not to be refrigerated prior opening and that it is brand packaged food and the packaging has original seal (unless in use at the time) and its quantity must not exceed the weight of 10 kg originating from Croatia, Færøer Islands, Greenland and Iceland, and of 2 kg if originating in other countries.
  • fish only if it is disembowelled and does not exceed the weight of 20 kg,
  • currency – no restrictions if coming from EU country. Declarable for all travelling outside EU when the amount exceeds 10.000 euro or equivalent in another currency.
  • coats, fur and leather shoes made of protected animals will need special authorization

Prohibited Items

  • Meat and milk and any items thereof from non-EU countries with the exception of limited amounts from Andorra, Croatia, the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and small amounts of specific products from other countries
  • Protected species and products thereof as listed by the CITES (Washington Convention) for example ivory, tortoise shell, coral, reptile skin, wood from Amazonian forests

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

  • Medication – for personal use only

Non-commercial item are of an occasional nature and consist exclusively of goods for the personal or family use of the traveller, or of goods intended as presents. The nature and quantity of the goods must not be such as to indicate that they are being imported for commercial reasons.

Motor

Anyone wishing to import their vehicle in to Belgium will be asked to provide the following documentation to the customs authorities :

  • Residency permit showing a permanent address in Belgium
  • Proof of purchase for the vehicle to be imported
  • Previous registration document

No import tax will be payable if these conditions are met.

Registration of the vehicle is then handled by the DIV. It records the vehicle as on the road in Belgium and also issues the number plate (plaque d’immatriculation/inschrijvingsplaat). In Belgium, the licence plate remains the property of the owner and can be transferred to another vehicle in the event of a sale/purchase. Again, this process is handled by the DIV. In order to register a vehicle in Belgium, and therefore to receive a licence plate, the following documentation must be presented to the DIV:

  • Proof of residency
  • A certificate of conformity for the vehicle (attestation de conformité/attest van conformite). This is usually supplied by the vehicle manufacturer or local agent. Many will ask for a copy of the registration documents
  • The invoice/proof of purchase for the vehicle
  • The vehicle’s original registration certificate (certificat d’immatriculation/inschrijvingsbewijs)
  • Evidence of insurance cover, provided by a Belgian insurer
  • Customs clearance forms, provided by the Customs department
  • A vehicle-roadworthiness certificate (controle technique/Autokeuring). To find a local testing centre: Test Centres
  • The registration application form. This is available from the DIV, from roadworthiness test centres, or from insurance companies. It must have the customs and insurance stickers attached. There is just one application form, which covers all types of vehicle (cars, scooters) and all situations (new, second hand and imported).
  • The required fees. This will include a one-off introduction tax (taxe de mise en circulation/belasting op de inverkeerstelling) and an annual road tax (taxe de circulation/verkeersbelasting), dependent on the size of the vehicle’s engine
  • Fiscal tax stamps (available from Post Offices)

Note: Copies of documents are not accepted. As long as all these documents are in order, the licence plate will be issued within a few days, and will be sent in the post if a postal application has been made. If application is in person then the licence plate can be issued on the spot by the DIV office. The plate then needs to be attached to the rear of the vehicle, and a second one needs to be made up for the front, at the owner’s cost. It is also possible to fill in the application on Internet, on WebDIV. It then needs to be printed out and brought to the insurance company, who will finalise the registration online. The number plates and certificate will then arrive quickly by mail.

Other Vehicles

Scooters and mopeds also need to be imported and registered correctly. The DIV needs the same documentation as for cars, including customs clearance, VAT clearance, original registration documents and a certificate of conformity.

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