Are you returning to Belgium with goods from a non-European member state?

  • What can I bring into Belgium from a non-EU member state (1)?

    A lot, but certainly not everything, and moreover, it is not always free of charge or allowed in unlimited quantities.

    If you are carrying goods in your personal luggage having no commercial character, you will be granted, within certain limits, an exemption from import duties (viz.  table (PDF, 23.99 KB)).

    You will be granted an exemption in the following cases:

    • you purchased goods in these countries under domestic market conditions;

    • you purchased goods in these countries with reimbursement or relief from taxes based on their export (for instance: purchases in a duty-free shop or an airport);

    • you were offered goods as a gift.


    (1) The Member States of the EU are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

    During the Brexit transitional period, the rules for European Member States temporarily apply to traffic with the United Kingdom. At the time of publication, this exception will cease to apply on 1 January 2021.

    The territories with special tax status include the Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, etc.), the Canary Islands (Gran Canaria, Tenerife, etc.), the overseas departments (French Guiana, Réunion, Guadeloupe and Martinique), the Aland Islands and Mount Athos... Exemptions for imports from a territory with special tax status of the EU are limited to those granted to travellers coming from non-EU countries.

  • Which exit should I take when returning from a non-EU member state?

    When you return home from a country that is not a member of the European Union (1) or from a territory with a special tax status (2) you can always be submitted to a Customs check

    If you have something to declare :

    • You can choose between 2 exits to leave the airport:

    • the red lane (or ‘Goods to declare’): if you have something to declare

    • the green lane (or ‘Nothing to declare’): if you are certain that you have nothing to declare or if you do not exceed the statutory exemptions set out in this  table (PDF, 23.99 KB).

    The choice of which exit you take constitutes a declaration. When Customs notices that you are importing forbidden goods or quantities exceeding the exemptions, you will not only have to pay the import duties and taxes due, but also a fine in addition to that.

    Pay attention:

    If you return by plane from a country outside the European Union via an airport within the European Union, you will only have to declare the goods you are carrying in your hand luggage at this transfer airport.


    (1) The Member States of the EU are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

    During the Brexit transitional period, the rules for European Member States temporarily apply to traffic with the United Kingdom. At the time of publication, this exception will cease to apply on 1 January 2021.

    The territories with special tax status include the Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, etc.), the Canary Islands (Gran Canaria, Tenerife, etc.), the overseas departments (French Guiana, Réunion, Guadeloupe and Martinique), the Aland Islands and Mount Athos...  Exemptions for imports from a territory with special tax status of the EU are limited to those granted to travellers coming from non-EU countries.

  • When do I have to declare my goods to Customs anyway upon return from a non-European country?

    Certain goods are excluded from the exemption:

    • goods needed for professional purposes;

    • goods intended for resale;

    • goods imported in far greater quantities than those commonly acquired at once by private individuals.

      These goods have to be declared as they require payment of import duties and taxes. If you fail to do so, you might have to pay a fine in addition to the duties and taxes due if the Customs authorities carry out a check.

  • What if I carry greater quantities than those for which exemption is granted upon return from a non-European country?

    If you import goods in greater quantities than those for which exemption is granted, you must declare them to Customs in order to avoid the

    The goods have to be declared to Customs. This way you will avoid the payment of a fine in addition to the taxes due.

    • Customs will only tax those quantities that exceed the maximum (quantities) of tobacco products and/or alcoholic beverages.

    • Customs will collect taxes on the total value of the imported object from the category ‘other goods’ viz.  table (PDF, 23.99 KB)).
  • What can I buy in tax-free shops when I travel to or from a non-European country?
    • Your purchases are tax-free (and unlimited) if you travel on a direct flight or a flight with a stopover (without rechecking in your luggage) from an EU Member State to a non-EU country. 

    • As a general rule, those purchases are intended to be used or consumed only in the non-EU country and are not intended to be re-imported into the EU.

    • However, when returning to the EU, you will only enjoy the exemptions mentioned in this table. You must pay import duties and taxes on purchases exceeding the exemptions.

  • What should I do if I carry valuables when I travel to or from a non-European country?

    When you travel to non-EU Member States and take valuables in your luggage, please ask for information from Customs so that you can re-import them with exemption upon your return.