Buying a car in Belgium

new car
Updated 2023-09-29 13:59

Some formalities apply when buying a vehicle in Belgium, both before and after the sale. Here's what to expect.

Buying a new car in Belgium

If you want to buy a new car at a retailer, there are many dealerships across Belgium you can go to. What's excellent is negotiating a lower price is acceptable and common practice, so don't be afraid to ask for a better price.

Once you decide on a car, you'll receive a purchase order (''bestelbon'' in Dutch and ''le bon de commande'' in French). The order indicates all the information about the car and the sale; we recommend reading it carefully. It mentions the brand and car model, year of manufacture, options, color, price, discount, delivery date, loan subscription, and trade-in value for your previous vehicle, if applicable. Both parties sign the purchase order: the vendor and the buyer.

When you pick up the car, check that everything displayed on the purchase order is up-to-date. The vendor will give you an invoice and a certificate of conformity (''gelijkvormigheidsattest'' in Dutch and ''certificat de conformité'' in French), guaranteeing the car is up-to-date with any mandatory technical specifications on the road. Finally, you'll get a form to register for a new license plate. The invoice needs to display:

  • The car details (make, model, and year);
  • Engine size;
  • Sale date;
  • Price (VAT not included);
  • Rate and amount of VAT;
  • Price including VAT.

If you buy a new car at a dealership, you'll have to pay a fee if you change your mind; the time and exact price will vary by each dealership. But if you buy it at the Auto Salon or another auto market (not a dealership), you get 14 days to change your mind without any consequences.

Buying a second-hand car in Belgium

When buying a second-hand car from an individual in Belgium, we recommend you check the vehicle at a mechanic's shop. You should also check the registration documents (''inschrijvingsbewijs'' in Dutch and ''certificat d'immatriculation in French). You can also buy a second-hand car from a professional retailer. In that case, the vehicle has to be guaranteed for at least one year.

As for the formalities, here are the documents you should receive from the vendor or seller:

  • Invoice or bill of sale;
  • Registration certificate (pink form);
  • Request for registration (''inschrijving van voertuigen'' in Dutch and ''demande d'immatriculation - formulaire rose'' in French);
  • Roadworthiness certificate (''technische controle'' in Dutch and ''contrôle technique'' in French), done less than two months before the sale;
  • Car-Pass (the roadworthiness test center can create one for you), no older than two months;
  • Report on the condition of the car (''gelijkvormigheidsattest'' in Dutch and ''rapport d'occasion'' in French);
  • Certificate of conformity;
  • Certificate for the LPG installation (liquified petroleum gas) if the car has one.

The invoice has to correspond with the original sale's one. If you buy from a retailer, it has to indicate the retailer's name, address, and VAT number. The invoice must clearly show the sale's date, names and contacts of previous vendors and buyers, prices, payment conditions, car specificities, guarantee, and the trade-in value for a prior vehicle, if applicable.

Vehicle taxation in Belgium

If you buy second-hand cars from individuals, no VAT applies. However, professional vendors are subject to VAT. As for you, you'll have to pay the annual tax for circulation, applicable when buying a new car too.

Do note that if you buy an eco-friendly or electric car, you'll get a cut on road tax (''verkeersbelasting'' in Dutch and ''taxe de circulation'' in French). You can also get up to 15% discount from vendors for low-emission vehicles.

Car insurance in Belgium

The insurance disc is mandatory in Belgium to ask for a plate. You can ask for it from your insurance provider. You have to stick it on the pink form requesting a license plate.

Getting a license plate when buying a vehicle in Belgium

The pink form, dedicated to the request, is usually given by vendors. If not, you can ask for it from your insurance provider or at the DIV (Direction for Vehicle Matriculation). This document is the one requesting a license plate for your new car. The license plate allows you to circulate legally.

Buyers have to fill out the form. The document lets you choose between X1, X2, PX3, and P3 plates. More details are included on the form.

If your car is new, besides the pink form, you need a certificate from the vendor or car manufacturer. This certificate has to include the names, address, VAT number or BCE (Banque-Carrefour des Entreprises), date, and a signature by the vendor or manufacturer.

License plates: Prices

You can keep the same number if you have an existing European license plate. This will cost you €26. Otherwise, a new registration will cost €30. You can pay it directly to Bpost, the Belgian postal bank.

What's next?

When receiving the license plate, verify that the reference indicated corresponds to the matriculation certificate delivered by the DIV; if it doesn't, contact the DIV on 32 277 30 50.

If everything is equivalent, you can fix your plate on the back of the car and drive. A second license plate has to be made for the front of the car (not applicable for motorcycles). You can then legally drive.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.