Guidance

Belgium: providing services and travelling for business

Guidance for UK businesses on rules for selling services to Belgium.

Read this page in combination with the general guidance for EU,Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The authoritative source for Belgian market regulations is the Belgian government. This guidance links to official Belgian sources wherever possible.

Trade and services regulations in Belgium

If you’re a UK business providing services in Belgium, you need to follow Belgian regulations about:

  • getting authorisations or licences to provide a service
  • complying with specific local business regulations
  • EEA nationality requirements which could prevent you from providing services in some sectors

The Belgian e-government portal for service providers can help you to:

  • find out what you need to know about providing services in Belgium
  • understand local regulations
  • complete the relevant administrative procedures online

Consider appointing an English-speaking lawyer in Belgium to help you comply with specific regulations.

Belgium may have regulated sectors where European Economic Area (EEA) nationality requirements could prevent you from providing services. The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

To find out if this applies to you, contact the appropriate competent authority.

Trade reservations

To sell or provide services to customers in Belgium, you must follow local laws. If in doubt, you should get professional advice.

Reservations are part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. They reserve the right of each party to keep or make new laws restricting investment, or the sale of services, in ways that would otherwise breach the rules in the agreement.

Check which reservations apply to the sale of services from the UK to Belgium. This includes an interactive tool to find reservations that are already in place.

VAT on sales of digital services

To use the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to declare sales of digital services to EU consumers, businesses need to register for MOSS in an EU member state.

Find out more about paying VAT on sales of digital services.

Ownership of companies registered in Belgium

If you have a UK business, you might face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a registered company in Belgium or any other EEA country.

For information about setting up and running a business in Belgium, visit the e-government portal for service providers.

Read more about this in our guidance relating to the EEA and Switzerland.

If you’re a UK legal professional who has investments in law firms in Belgium, you should contact the relevant regional Bar association for advice on the implications for your investment.

Find information and contacts on the sites of:

Business travel and entry requirements

UK business travellers and service providers may need a visa, work permit or other documentation.

Check our travel to Belgium for work guide for detailed information on:

  • types of visa and work permit routes available
  • exemptions that may apply to you or the activity you are planning to undertake

The Federal Public Service for Foreign Affairs website has more information about:

  • visas including intra-corporate transfers
  • work and residence permits
  • supporting documentation
  • other conditions

Check which actions travellers visiting Europe need to take.

Social security payments for employees

Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Belgium.

Recognition of professional qualifications

To check what you need to do in Belgium, read our guidance on professional qualifications in the EEA and Switzerland.

If you need to take action to secure the recognition of your professional qualification in Belgium, visit the Business Belgium website.

These sources can also help you:

The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UK CPQ) provides practical assistance and advice to:

  • professionals who qualified overseas and are interested in working in the UK
  • UK professionals seeking to practise overseas

UK statutory auditors working in Belgium

For UK statutory auditors, the Belgian Audit Oversight College (site in French) should be able to provide further information.

UK lawyers working in Belgium

If you’re a UK-qualified lawyer working in Belgium, using either a Belgian or UK professional title, you should contact the relevant regional Bar association for specific advice.

Find information and contacts on the sites of:

Data transfer and GDPR

On 28 June 2021, the EU formally adopted ‘adequacy decisions’ for the UK, delivered through:

‘Adequacy decisions’ allow for the ongoing free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK.

Read guidance on using data in your personal business or other organisation.

Published 6 March 2019
Last updated 11 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Trade reservations' guidance. Updated 'Recognition of professional qualifications' with new UK contact point.

  2. Updated the Travel and entry requirements to include a link to guidance on travelling to Belgium for work.

  3. Updated the following sections to reflect the changes created by the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement: overview, trade regulations, VAT on sales of digital services, business travel and entry requirements, social security payments for employees, recognition of professional qualifications, and data transfer and GDPR.

  4. Guidance for ‘Recognition of professional qualifications’ and ‘Social security payments for employees’ updated.

  5. Change to title to include travelling for business

  6. Update to 'Business travel and entry requirements' section

  7. First published.