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Importing and exporting weapons

  • How can I import or export a weapon?

    The arms trade in Belgium is regionalised. For the import, export or transit of:

    • weapons
    • ammunition
    • equipment for military or law enforcement use, and
    • the technology related to it

    you need a licence from the region in which you or the registered office of your company is located:

    Flemish Region:

    Vlaamse Overheid - Herman Teirlinckgebouw
    Departement Buitenlandse Zaken
    Dienst Controle Strategische Goederen
    Havenlaan 88 bus 80
    1000 Brussels

    Walloon Region:

    SPW DGO6
    Direction Licences Armes
    Chaussée de Louvain, 14
    5000 NAMUR

    Brussels Capital Region:

    Gewestelijke Overheidsdienst Brussel - Brussel International
    Cel vergunningen wapens en dual-use goederen
    City Center (6de verdiep - Bu 6.226)
    Kruidtuinlaan 20

    When importing, exporting or transiting these goods, the Belgian customs authorities will check whether the required licence is available.

  • What are the exceptions to the licence requirement for the import or export of weapons?

    ‘Non-firearms', such as air rifles and side arms (knives and other cutting arms) are not subject to the licensing regime. This is even the case when the 2006 Arms Act does make it compulsory to obtain a licence for possession and use within Belgium.

    Some side arms are classified under the category of prohibited weapons. As is the case for all other prohibited weapons, the Regions do not issue licences for this category. Only a limited number of exceptions provided for in the Arms Act 2006 allow the import of prohibited weapons under licence.

    Traffic within the Benelux does not require a licence either.

  • When do you need a prior authorisation to import or export weapons?

    The Walloon and Brussels Capital Region will only issue a licence after you have applied for a so-called prior authorisation to the FPS Justice. This authorisation shall not be issued until a background check has been carried out.

    More information (in Dutch or French) can be found on the website of the FPS Justice.

    The Flemish Region applies a similar system of prior authorisation but issues the authorisations itself.

  • What do you have to take into account when possessing weapons in Belgium?

    Possession of weapons is subject to the 2006 Arms Act. It is important to know to which of the following three categories the weapon belongs:

    • prohibited weapons;
    • controlled weapons (subject to a licence);
    • arms on free sale.

    Firearms are generally not allowed in Belgium, but goods such as switchblades and pepper spray are also considered a prohibited weapon. Belgian Customs supervises the application of this act.

    In addition to the Arms Act, you should also take into account the regional decrees on hunting, the community decrees on recreational target shooting and the regulations on the export of weapons, which has been regionalised (see above).

    More detailed information and examples (in Dutch or French) can be found on the  website of the FPS Justice.