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By No owner — last modified May 01, 2013 03:03 PM

 Belgium - Formalities

Clearance

As a member of the European Union, EU regulations apply.

As Belgium is a signatory of the Schengen Agreement, boats having on board nationals of EU countries which are not signatories of the Schengen Agreement, (such as the UK), must clear immigration at the point of entry into Belgium.

All visiting yachts must report to Maritime Police Control at a Port of Entry, and submit a completed form. This form can either be obtained in advance or from the Harbour Master on arrival.

A example of this form can be downloaded here.

Spot checks are often made by Immigration or Customs and boats found not to be complying with the regulations can be fined 75 euros.

This form must also be stamped on departure.

See the Customs section below regarding marked (red) diesel.

Last updated March 2018.

Immigration

Visitors must have a passport valid at least three months beyond their proposed departure date.

Visas are not required for EU citizens for stays up to 3 months.

Belgium is a member of the Schengen Agreement Area. See Noonsite' Schengen page for more details on the immigration rules and a link to the Schengen Visa application form..

Last updated March 2018.

Customs

The importation of hunting and sporting firearms is possible but prior authorisation and licences must be obtained prior to arrival. They must be declared to Customs on arrival.

Foreign yachts remaining more than two months in Belgium must obtain a registration plate, as all Belgian yachts have, and pay navigation dues. Further details can be obtained from the Bureau de Perception des Droits de Navigation. The registration plate allows a vessel to stop on navigable waterways or to use their tributaries.

EU regulations apply concerning temporary importation. See EU VAT page for more information.

Notes on Red (marked) Diesel:-

As will be seen from the information below, the situation regarding red diesel is not always consistantly applied.

The official policy for the use of Red Diesel in the Netherlands remains as follows:

"You can fill up your tanks with red diesel, but not take more fuel with you then the amount [capacity] of your tanks. You have to be able to show the receipt, which can’t be older than 1 year old. On the receipt should be written that “the difference in tax between white and red diesel is paid by [to] the UK Government (the 60/40 notice)”. According to the Dutch Customs this should be on the receipt automatically [we take this to mean it must be printed not hand written]. If you keep to these points and can show the above mentioned papers and notes the Dutch Customs cannot fine you.

"The National Office Customs Administration of the Netherlands is aware that the Regional Custom Offices are not always dealing in according to this policy and have made the National Policy clear, once again, to all the Regional Offices. The National Office has made it clear to us that if you still get get a Fine, they only can investigate this on an individual basis and advise that in that case you keep all the paperwork."

It is strongly advised that foreign yachts which have any red diesel, and only in their main tank, to have receipts (no more than a year old) showing that the tax on it has been paid.

Last updated March 2018.

Documents

Yachts must carry their original registration document, insurance policy and ship's radio licence. One member of the crew must have a radio operator’s certificate of competence. For EU boats, proof of VAT status is also required. A copy of International ColRegs must also be carried and the current tide tables for the area.

On inland waterways, if a boat is over 15m or capable of more than 11 knots, then the skipper must have an International Certificate of Competence (ICC) endorsed for inland waterways.

Restrictions

Red Diesel: Since 26/04/2018 there will now be no fining or penalties for UK vessels visiting Belgium which have marine red diesel in their tanks. However, the 100% fuel duty must still be paid on all red diesel which is purchased prior to the trip to Belgium. The full advice details are contained in the RATS note which can be seen on this document.

The yacht must be equipped with adequate safety equipment including:- coloured rockets, safety harnesses, compass, lifejackets, fire extinguishers, first aid kit, navigation lights, bilge pump, anchor, tools for the engine.

The name and home port must be clearly marked on the stern.

Navigation: When motorsailing, a black cone with its apex down must be hoisted in the rigging. Port entry signals must be obeyed, due to the very heavy shipping traffic in and out of ports.

Inland waterways: Navigation is freely allowed on the Belgian waterways, although there are regulations one should be aware of. There are maximum speed limits on many of the canals and rivers. Vessels must not sail within 60 ft (20 m) of the banks of the River Meuse and the Ghent-Terneuzen canal, and within 25 ft (8 m) on the Lys and the Brussels - Charleroi canal. Full details of the regulations can be obtained in the booklet "Dispositions reglementant la police et la navigation", available from the offices at the locks. Information is also obtainable from the Ministère des Travaux Publics.

Foreign yachts arriving in Belgium by one of the canals must report to the first navigation tax office, to complete an entry declaration. On departure an exit declaration must also be signed at a navigation tax office. These offices are situated at the locks.

Pets

Animals are accepted from within the EU and which have an   EU pet Passport.

All cats and dogs must be micro chipped and have an anti-rabies vaccination certificate (dated at least 30 days in advance and for it to have been administered at least 21 days after the micochip was inserted), as specified in the PETS travel scheme.

For additional EU regulations regarding pets coming from some countries, see https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/pet-movement/ms-websites_en

Rabies vaccinations administered by a veterinary practitioner not authorised by an EU country will render the EU Pet Passport invalid for travel.

If entering from outside the EU and from a country on the 'High risk' list, then a Health Certificate from a veterinarian and other requirements must be complied with.

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