Moving from a non-EU country to Belgium

  • Introduction

    Are you moving from a non-EU country to the EU? Welcome! However, you should be aware that there are special rules concerning customs that you should take into account. Your personal property may be imported free of duty if certain conditions are met. The customs formalities for importation have to be completed during the opening days and hours of the offices for the movement of goods. In addition, a number of conditions and deadlines with regard to goods are applicable, and you too, shall meet a number of conditions.

  • What are the conditions goods have to meet in order to be transferred from a non-EU country to Belgium free of duties?

    The relief shall be limited to goods:

    • which have been in your possession at your former normal place of residence for a minimum of six months before the date on which you ceased to have your normal place of residence in the third country of departure;
    • which have been used by you at your former normal place of residence for a minimum of six months before the date on which you ceased to have your normal place of residence in the third country of departure; and
    • which are intended to be used for the same purpose at your new normal place of residence and will be kept by you for a period of twelve months following their importation into the Member State of residence.
  • What are the conditions you have to meet in order to transfer your goods from a non-EU country to Belgium free of duties?

    You should have had your normal place of residence outside the customs territory of the European Union for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

  • What is the period of importation of the goods if you are moving from a non-EU country to Belgium?

    The customs administration will only grant you the tax relief in respect of personal property which you permanently introduce within 12 months from the date on which you establish your normal place of residence in Belgium and declare the goods for consumption. This relief can also be granted before your establishment in Belgium. In that case, you must undertake to establish your normal place of residence here within a period of six months. This commitment requires the payment of a security deposit.

  • What are the obligations following the transfer of goods from a non-EU country to Belgium?

    After you have imported your personal property as described above, you should comply with a number of conditions. For example, you may not lend, pledge, rent out or transfer the goods (whether or not for a consideration) without notifying Customs in advance. If you do, without being able to justify this, the customs administration will revoke the relief and you will still have to pay the import duties.

    Those restrictions shall last for one year following the customs declaration of duty-free importation.

  • Who is competent to grant a relief for the transfer of personal property from a non-EU country to Belgium?

    As a rule, the local head of customs of the customs office of import may authorise the duty-free importation of the personal property other than motor vehicles. The Director of the local customs and excise centre is responsible for cars and their trailers, motorcycles with a cylinder capacity exceeding 50 CC, motor caravans, pleasure craft and aeroplanes, as well as for other personal property which require special import conditions. This is the director of the area of your establishment.