Depending on how comfortable you are with French, moving to Belgium can be a breeze for Canadians. France is one of the two main languages spoken in Belgium, along with Dutch. In fact, in Southern Belgium, due in part to its proximity to France, French is the predominant language spoken.
Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, and Belgium is one of the smallest countries in all of Europe. Thus, Canadians moving to Belgium will quickly learn how easy it can be to visit other countries in the region, particularly by traveling by rail. Belgium is centrally located close to major weekend destinations such as London and Amsterdam. Canadians share a border with just one country, the United States.
Making a move across the ocean is a big deal. There are a lot of details to remember. You likely have a lot of questions about what you can move and how. This guide is intended to provide you with the basics.
Am I allowed to import my household goods to Belgium?
Yes. Your household goods and personal effects can be imported to Belgium duty free within 12 months of your arrival in the country. There are requirements that must be met, however, for your imports to be received in country without taxes and duty. First, you must have owned and used the goods being imported for at least six months prior to your move, and second, you must move your goods into Belgium within 12 months of your arrival.
If you are moving your belongings yourself, contact the Belgian Consulate in your home country to get a certificate confirming your transfer. If you hire a company to move you, you will need to get a signed and stamped declaration from your employer in Belgium. Be prepared to show customs officials a Certificate of Residence to avoid having to pay substantial taxes. (If you don’t have your Certificate of Residence on hand to present at customs, you will be forced to pay taxes and duty which can be refunded within six months of you present the appropriate documentation.)
- Valid passport
- Residence permit or work permit
- Proof of your residency outside of the country of Belgium for a minimum of one year
- Bill of lading/air waybill
- Comprehensive valued inventory
- Detailed packing list
- Power of Attorney (to give the customs agent authority to arrange customs clearance)
- Certificate of Residence (from officials in Belgium)
- Certificate of Residence Cancellation (from Canada)
- Declaration of Customer
How can I import my vehicle to Belgium?
You are welcome to import your vehicle to Belgium, provided that you do so within six months of becoming a resident. This part is really important. If you procrastinate and try to handle the paperwork for importing your vehicle after you have been in the country for six months or longer, you may face fines and penalties.
There are several steps to the import process, so it may be beneficial to work with professionals. If you feel confident you can handle it on your own, read on for a quick explainer.
The first thing you must do to import your vehicle to Belgium is contact the local Douane, or customs officials. You will need to provide the Douane with some documentation, including your car registration, proof of your application for car insurance (this document is called an Aanvraag aan Verzekering), and finally, proof that you are a registered Belgian resident (aka the Bewijs van Inschriving).
Presenting these documents to the local Douane will earn you the coveted ‘pink form’ that will help you avoid import charges for your vehicle. Well done, but not done yet. Next you will need to obtain two more documents.
Certificate of Conformity – You will need to visit the nearest dealer for your make of vehicle. The dealer will need to certify that your vehicle meets and conforms to EU standards. This process can take a lot of time, particularly if modifications are needed. Be prepared for delays and make extra copies of all documents in case they get lost in the shuffle.
Certificate of Roadworthiness – You will also need to visit a local Belgian keuring center to receive a certificate of roadworthiness (locally known as a keuringsbewijs). This process is also rather time-consuming. You will likely need to wait in line for your certificate. Make sure to set aside sufficient time.
Once you have all these steps completed, your ‘pink form’ will be stamped, which you send in to receive your registration plate. You will receive one plate to mount on the back of your vehicle, and your garage can create a duplicate for the front.
What if I need help with my move?
Importing goods overseas can be scary and complicated. At A1 Auto Transport, we have the expertise and industry connections to facilitate your move. Our international shipping experts are ready to provide you with the support you need for a fast and flawless move.
Written By:Joe Webster
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.