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Coming for 5 months, bringing car crazy idea?


Hi, my wife and I are coming to Brussels for 5 months (possible extended after this initial period).

We cannot decide to leave the car and fly or drive and keep our car with us.

If we are working as long as we stay under 5 months we won't have any issues with keeping the car on foreign plates?

Our major concern is parking, we don't need to living in central Brussels, but still close enough for public transport or bike.

The car maybe sitting for a week without use, and only used on weekends for trips out of the city/country.

Can I please get a bit of local input, street parking in outer suburbs (free? safe?) Paid parking (safe?)

I'd be happy to leave it out of the city and go and get when needed if there are good options, as long as I'm confident it would still be there in one piece when I got to it.

Cheers in Advance.


I'd sell the car before you come.

You're supposed to register, as you're planning on staying for longer than 3 months. If anyone registered in Belgium drives a private car, then that car becomes liable for Belgian road tax, regardless of the plates. If you can't prove you're importing it, the car can be seized until you pay the tax + fine. Insurance is another problem.

If you're not registered as resident, that pretty much rules out getting a resident's parking permit, which is a must for some streets and communues.

You don't actually state where (in Brussels) you need to be. That would help.

Finding a short-term let (less than 3 years) with a parking space where you can leave the car safely for long periods of time could be expensive. Places a bit further out with parking (on street or otherwise) are unlikely to be an option for 5 months.

Leaving the car "out of town" is a bad idea.

There are good carshare schemes in Brussels, but as non-residents, I don't think you'll be able to join them. Ad-hoc car hire, however, is a realistic prospect.

Feb 12, 2015 22:52

Even if you start the registration process within the statutory 8 days, it actually takes several months for the process to get to the point where you would be able to register a car here, so if you are coming here for "just 5 months" and can arrange to extend your current car insurance (and road tax and "control technique") to cover you in Belgium, you could just bring your car here.

Nevertheless, J's conclusions are correct, unless you have a real need for a car here and can live somewhere with off-street parking, you will be better off not bringing the car.

Feb 13, 2015 09:57
Aussie Guy

The car is coming from Poland, and my wife has EU citizenship also, if it makes any difference.

Will be commuting to Brussels, to just on the East side of Brussels Park. So looking at apartments on the East, South East side of Brussels, some have parking usually between 50 and 100 Euro/month, most don't.

Sounding like will be more trouble than its worth, don't want any run in's with local police. Thought we could get away with it being under 6 months.

Feb 13, 2015 10:33

If you are staying under 6 Months, are you going to register as living here? If not, I would not bother registering the car. In fact, you don't have to.

Feb 13, 2015 11:01
Aussie Guy

I am under the impression that because we are coming for work we have to register, because its over 3 months stay?

Feb 13, 2015 11:06

If you come to Belgium to work, you have to register at the local commune within eight days of arrival. After that, you have six months to register your car in Belgium.

So if you really are going to stay only five months, you will get be able to keep the car with its Polish number plates. You should prepare yourself for the fact that during this time you will be stopped by the police who want to check the registration papers and how long you have been in the country. Especially in Brussels the police are getting increasingly strict about the rules and have more checks.

However, if you then after five months decide, at short notice, that you will indeed be staying longer, you may run into a problem, as the registration process is likely to take longer than a month.

If the police catch you driving a car registered in Poland, when you yourself have already been legally registered in Belgium for more than six months, you will face a hefty fine.

Feb 13, 2015 11:25

> because we are coming for work we have to register

Yes, you will. Otherwise, you'll have no way of claiming your tax refund when you leave after 6 months.

Feb 13, 2015 11:52

You should be sure to check with your insurers.
Will you be maintaining an address in Poland?
If not, it is unlikely that your insurers will give you cover.
If you are, will they be happy with the reality that you will be living in Belgium.
The fact that you have an apparently valid 'green card' will be irrelevant if you have not informed them of your change of circumstances.

Feb 13, 2015 12:06

So, if you come for five months it's all good, but if you get your job extended than you get in big trouble through no fault of your own? I don't know if that is correct or not but it would not surprise me if it was.

Incidentally and this is not meant as advice of any sort, there are cars here that have been of foreign plates for years, mainly UK plates. One house I used to pass on my very early morning run to work always had two UK cars in the drive, that was four years.

Yes you in the Boslaan in Moorsel. Probably avoiding Belgian road tax as well as income tax via a commission job while singing the praises of life in Belgium.

Another factor to consider is the local habit of placing no parking signs around your car and towing it 24 hours later. I would not dare leave my car anywhere for a week at a time.

The local advice if you complain about this is that you should "find somewhere to put it" if it's longer that 48 hours.

Feb 13, 2015 17:02

Some place parking is very difficult, some it's charged unless you have a residents permits and I imagine they will ask your paper to get that. Some places car are fine left parked. If you get a garage or off road places it would easier.
If it's a temporary stay you might get away with not registering your car but the police do have spot check sometimes and then you'd need to show it's a temporary visit and that way you'd be ok. They do fine people who register cars elsewhere and reside here.
However you do need insurance in case of an accident and should you have one the cross borders might make any claim hard.

Feb 14, 2015 10:33