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Old 03-07-2016, 07:55   #1
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Sailing boat registration in Belgium

Does anyone know how a sailing boat can be registered under Belgian flag ? Cost ? Rules ? etc. - my boat is currently under UK flag but want to move it under Belgian flag for understanding reasons because of the Brexit...
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:15   #2
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

Brexit hasn't happened yet, and might not. Belgium disappearing however might (I sure hope so). What do you expect to gain from registering there?



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Old 03-07-2016, 12:30   #3
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

Google.

Then email the selected company and ask for a quote.

This is what popped up as the top google pick when I typed "registration small craft in belgium":

Belgium flag : Boating registration in Belgium

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Old 03-07-2016, 13:16   #4
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

Quote:
Originally Posted by K_V_B View Post
Brexit hasn't happened yet, and might not. Belgium disappearing however might (I sure hope so). What do you expect to gain from registering there?



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I do not want to loose the EU VAT status on my boat and also do not want to get out of the EU every 18 months as my boat is located on the Med France/Spain border and closest non EU is Africa...

from Belgium flag I expect same freedom , low cost and rexaing as from UK flag

btw: my first choice was Nederland but it looks like they may decide to leave EU also...
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Old 03-07-2016, 16:01   #5
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

Low cost?

Well. Ask AT SOURCE.

My friends have 2 boats registered there ... not really low cost. Not compared to my plain national registration where our boat was born ...

When it is a private service (and it is in case of Belgian flag) then how can this be 'low cost' ???

Check the cost before jumping. There may be some extra benefits or not, but there is no talking about low cost up front.

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Old 04-07-2016, 07:49   #6
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtomanov View Post
I do not want to loose the EU VAT status on my boat and also do not want to get out of the EU every 18 months as my boat is located on the Med France/Spain border and closest non EU is Africa...
VAT Status and Flag are entirely separate. A boat does not need to be EU registered to have EU VAT paid status. However some EU countries require a boat to be VAT paid in order to be registered. (Belgium is such a case...)
I doubt you would lose your VAT paid status if the UK leaves the EU...

Quote:
from Belgium flag I expect same freedom , low cost and rexaing as from UK flag

btw: my first choice was Nederland but it looks like they may decide to leave EU also...
And Belgium might decide to cease to exist altogether...

My suggestion: First see what happens. Probably Brexit will not happen. And if it does, then it what the consequences will be, and how to deal with them will become apparent soon enough.
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:09   #7
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtomanov View Post
I do not want to loose the EU VAT status on my boat and also do not want to get out of the EU every 18 months as my boat is located on the Med France/Spain border and closest non EU is Africa...

from Belgium flag I expect same freedom , low cost and rexaing as from UK flag

btw: my first choice was Nederland but it looks like they may decide to leave EU also...
If you are a British national then you will be restricted on leaving your boat in Belgium for an extended period. You will in the same boat as other non EU nationals. Also there is a big question if you will be able to be EU VAT paid based on your UK VAT payment.

After article 50 is triggered the UK and EU have 2 years to sort all this out. I would suggest watch closely these negotiations re boats as we all know the devil will be in the yet to be worked out detail. I wouldn't at this point in time be making any assumptions on anything.
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:34   #8
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

There are lots of non-EU flagged boats that nevertheless stay in the EU pretty much indefinitely. VAT status issues are largely separate from flag state issues, and these are again different from right to travel issues...
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:58   #9
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

In order to register your boat in Belgium you need to request a 'vlaggenbrief' via this website. (unfortunatly only in dutch or french).
Vlaggenbrief | FOD Mobiliteit

I'm not sure if you have to live in Belgium to register a boat here, but I know that there quite a lot of boats in spain which are registered in Belgium because the requirements are more relaxed than in Spain.

Anyway I suggest that you try to call the antwerp office of the goverment agency that handles these matters.
I'm sure almost everyone there will speak english.

Pleziervaart Antwerpen, Posthoflei 5, 2600 Antwerpen (Berchem)
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Old 05-07-2016, 19:00   #10
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

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Originally Posted by GoingWalkabout View Post
If you are a British national then you will be restricted on leaving your boat in Belgium for an extended period.
That is not true. Citizenship/nationality of the owner has always been irrelevant for VAT liability.

Residency matters. Residency outside EU may be good if VAT has not been paid, as you will get 18 months of relief on a boat that has not paid VAT.

The place where VAT is paid also matters.

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Old 22-01-2018, 02:03   #11
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Google.

Then email the selected company and ask for a quote.

This is what popped up as the top google pick when I typed "registration small craft in belgium":

Belgium flag : Boating registration in Belgium
Interesting, the site still says "there is no obligation to establish residency in Belgium."

Yet, the relevant government site says the owner must be Belgian citizen or resident.
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Old 22-01-2018, 02:55   #12
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

First of all, Brexit will happen and Belgium will not cease to exit. The British have almost no time left to backpedal and it would be political suicide to try in the current climate. As for Belgium, the situation is way too complex for the country to just dissolve. It would require a war or a major global economic collapse or any other serious upheaval to trigger anything.

You’re doing the right thing by reflagging into a EU country in my opinion.


The cost for the Belgian flag is 50 euros per 4 years, for a private recreational yacht under 24 meters. (If you register through a company that does the paperwork for you then you’ll have to pay their fees on top of that of course.)
Yet, under that most basic of registrations you’re still allowed 6 paying passengers.
You do not need any personal boating license and your boat must not comply to any rules such as safety rules (except for some EU directives such as “all boats built since 1998 must have a holding tank,” but these are rules aimed at boat builders.)

There is a 2000 euro tax on new boats that decreases by 10% per year so it comes down to zero if your boat is ten years or older.

You need to have the Belgian nationality (you can live anywhere in the world)
OR
You need to have a EU nationality (and live in the EU if I’m not mistaken)
OR
You have to be a legal resident of Belgium (any nationality)

Last time I registered was two years ago (all my info in this post dates from then) and I sent copies of all the required documents + proof of payment by email and that was it. They mailed me my paperwork (a single page) and were also happy to send me a copy by e-mail.
I believe they’re slightly more strict now and it requires a touch more red tape. But it’s still super easy and the Belgian and Dutch flags are still considered to be the “flags of convenience” of Europe.

See their contact details in one if the previous post.

You will also have to register your ship’s communication equipment with the BIPT and they will send you your ships radio license in return. (All your equipment must be EU approved.)
BIPT - Licences
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Old 22-01-2018, 02:57   #13
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

Quote:
Originally Posted by K_V_B View Post
VAT Status and Flag are entirely separate. A boat does not need to be EU registered to have EU VAT paid status. However some EU countries require a boat to be VAT paid in order to be registered. (Belgium is such a case...)
I doubt you would lose your VAT paid status if the UK leaves the EU...

.
I do, too. My boat was made in the EU and is VAT paid in the EU. The only way to lose VAT status is to sell it while being outside the EU. Flagging it outside the EU, by itself, has no effect on VAT status.

I am pretty happy with UK flag myself.

Edit: The other way to lose VAT status is to keep the boat outside the EU for more than 3 years. Something to consider.
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Old 22-01-2018, 03:05   #14
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

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Originally Posted by 2big2small View Post
OR
You need to have a EU nationality (and live in the EU if I’m not mistaken)
OR
You have to be a legal resident of Belgium (any nationality)
I don't see any reference here for EU citizenship/residence. - Yet, many agents advertise the Belgian flag to be available for anyone...

Allright, they are a "bit slow" updating their websites:

Quote:
Attention, from 12 March 2012, it is not possible to get a Belgian flag certificate anymore, if your nationality is not from the European Union and that you have no address of residence in Belgium.
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Old 22-01-2018, 03:29   #15
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Re: Sailing boat registration in Belgium

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTom View Post
I don't see any reference here for EU citizenship/residence. - Yet, many agents advertise the Belgian flag to be available for anyone...

Allright, they are a "bit slow" updating their websites:

Keep in mind that anyone regardless of citizenship or residency can register a boat in any country by opening a company to hold the title.
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