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How to Ship a Car to Belgium

How to Ship a Car to Belgium

When it comes to shipping a car abroad, people will often say that Canada is the easiest, with Europe coming a close second. However, not all European nations are similar to England when it comes to importation rules and policies. Take, for example, the country of Belgium. As part of the EU’s common trade agreement, cars imported from other EU nations experience fewer regulations.

However, the country’s approach to car importation is different for non-EU members and other foreign countries like the US. If you want to take an extended vacation to Belgium or consider settling down permanently in the country, you need to study each step of the importation process. This way, you don’t find yourself stranded in a foreign port for hours due to incomplete requirements and non-compliance with the law. 

In this guide, we'll show you the ropes of shipping cars to Belgium.


Familiarize Yourself With Belgium’s Laws

One great thing about Belgium’s importation laws is that it is more favorable towards immigrants than people who import cars for profit. If you declare your vehicle as part of your household goods, you can save money on taxes and duties. To be eligible for this exemption, you need to fit the following requirements:

  • You must have lived outside the EU for at least a year before you process your car transport.
  • The car’s origin must be outside the EU and has been driven for at least six months before its arrival in Belgium.
  • After importing the vehicle, the owner must promise not to dispose of, give away, or sell the car for at least 12 months.
  • You must have already paid the VAT or any equivalent fees before your car arrives in Belgium.

If even one of these conditions doesn’t apply to you, your exemption will be voided, and you need to pay additional taxes and duties for your imported car.


Explore All Shipping Methods Available

When it comes to available shipping methods, you have two main choices: open-air transport or enclosed transport.

For open-air transport, your car will be picked up from your home or place of work and loaded onto an open vehicle trailer. Your vehicle will be secured in place and covered with a tarp. The trailer will then transport your vehicle to the nearest port, where it will be unloaded from the trailer and rolled into the ship’s cargo hold, which is why this method is also called the roll-on/roll-off method.

One of the most significant advantages of this method is that it’s cheap. Because you are sharing the open-air trailer with other cars, you’re only paying for whatever space your car takes up. Also, no extra machinery or technology is used when loading your car onto the ship. The moving crew usually moves the car manually by pushing it to its proper spot. However, keep in mind that your car is vulnerable to the elements because it is out in the open. Also, because the crew will touch your car directly while moving it from the trailer to the ship, your car may get damaged in the process.

The other method is the enclosed method, which uses a shipping container instead of an open trailer. Your car is rolled into the shipping container or is driven in by the crew if you are present during loading. The car is then secured in place and taken to the nearest port. The shipping container is uncoupled from the truck and is carried into the ship’s hold using machines. The use of more technology plus the added cost of the shipping container makes this method more expensive. However, because it provides additional protection for your vehicle, the extra cost might be worth it.

You can order an FTL shipment if you want to give your vehicle more protection against potential damage. FTL means full truckload, and this gives you ownership of the entire shipping container. You don’t have to share the container with other cars, which means there’s less risk of other cars scratching yours during loading and unloading. With LTL or less than truckload, you share the shipping container or the open-air transport with other cars.


Use An Auto Transport Company

Use An Auto Transport Company

People who are trying to save money will always try to ship their cars on their own, without the help of an auto transport company. However, because Belgium has strict importation rules, it’s essential to find professionals who can ensure an easier shipping and clearance process for you. Sure, it’s an added cost, but you’ll spend more money in the long run if you decide to do the process on your own and you encounter several problems along the way.

When searching for an auto transport company, here are some questions you want answering:

  • Are they licensed and registered?
  • Do they have experience with shipping cars to Belgium?
  • What is included in their list of services? Do they simply take your car to Belgium, or do they offer clearance and registration assistance as well?
  • Will the company guide you through the process?
  • Do they offer insurance coverage for your car?

This is also the best time to ask for an estimate. Auto transport companies give quotes or estimates for free, so it’s best to ask around for several quotes so you can choose the best one for your budget and needs.


Calculate the Costs of Shipping Your Car

Once you’ve gathered several quotes, you will get a good idea of how much car shipping to Belgium costs. Keep in mind that your total shipping costs will differ based on the following factors:

  • The distance between the destination port and your place of origin
  • The insurance coverage you purchased for your car
  • The shipping method used (Open-air versus enclosed transport)
  • You can save money if you are eligible for tax and duties exemption.

Shipping costs usually go from $1,300 to $3,200, excluding duties, taxes, and other fees. Remember that penalties may be imposed if you lack documentation or did not follow the procedure correctly.


Collect The Necessary Documents

While waiting for the shipping date, it’s time to start collecting all the documents needed for your migration to Belgium and your car’s importation into the country. Here are the necessary documents you need to procure:

  • If you are eligible for tax and duties exemption, you need to request an exemption letter.
  • Your car’s bill of sale
  • Your car’s original title
  • Proof of payment of VAT or its equivalent
  • Proof of vehicle insurance. The insurance must have taken effect at least six months before car importation.
  • Proof of residency outside the EU. You must have spent at least 12 months outside the EU before initiating the importation process.
  • Shipping documents for any personal items or belongings, if applicable.

While waiting for the shipping date, you have to start processing your Belgian citizenship. You must include your name in the Belgian national register, and you must secure your Belgian identity card, as this will be necessary for your car’s registration.


Prepare Your Car For Shipping

Prepare Your Car For Shipping

Aside from collecting the necessary paperwork, your car also needs to be prepared for its entry into Belgium. Here are the things that need to be done before the big day:

  • Take your car in for servicing. Once you’re in Belgium, you need to register your car. As part of the registration process, your car will be inspected to see if it conforms to Belgium’s environmental and safety standards.
  • Remove all personal belongings or valuables from your car. Most people place personal items in the trunk of their car or inside the glove compartment to save on shipping costs. However, remember that your insurance may not cover personal belongings and that you need to file additional paperwork to declare all personal belongings inside your car.
  • Fill your gas up to a quarter of its full capacity. This will allow you to drive your car as soon as you reach Belgium, but it won’t become a hazard during the trip.
  • Take note of your car’s condition before the shipping date. Take pictures and videos of your car to use as a reference once it arrives in Belgium.


Pick Your Car Up From The Port

Shipping to Belgium takes around 40 days, which gives you enough time to prepare for your car’s clearance process. Once your car arrives at the port, you can now take it through clearance. If you have the necessary paperwork with you, there’s no reason why your car should be held or detained pending further investigation.

Once your car enters the country, you need to complete the registration process in two months. To register your vehicle, here are the steps you need to take:

  • You have to clear customs successfully.
  • You need to secure a certificate of conformity. This certificate proves that your car conforms to the country’s safety and environmental standards.
  • You need to set up an insurance policy for your car with a Belgian insurance company.
  • If you are importing a used car, your car also needs to pass tests proving its roadworthiness.
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
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We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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