Setting up a business in Belgium: all our advice

The Covid-19 pandemic has reshuffled many cards of the global economy. Thus, local businesses and local areas are benefiting from renewed interest. Belgium thus attracts new entrepreneurs. Due to its geographical location, it is at the crossroads of the major European countries : France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The latter remains a major economic player despite Brexit.

As a foreigner and depending on your current situation, let’s see together what are the possibilities available to you.

What legal status to create a business in Belgium?

First of all, the legal form of your business. You have two options: to set up as a natural person or to form a company . Each form has its advantages and disadvantages.

1. Self-employed person in Belgium

As a natural person, you can start your activity immediately. The law does not impose a minimum starting capital . But be aware that according to this legal form, your personal assets are committed.

You can be independent as a natural person as your main or additional capacity . Primarily, this means that this economic activity becomes your main source of income. For example, opening a restaurant will take up most of his time. As well as creating a digital agency, or even being a real estate agent, event organizer …

Being self-employed on a complementary basis means that this activity comes in addition to your main job. For example, you work in a bank during the week. But in addition, on weekends, you sell artisanal products in the markets, you perform DJ services or you give yoga lessons …

As a foreign national, to establish yourself as a self-employed person, you will need a professional card . You will also have to carry out certain administrative procedures. The regions are competent in this area. The Walloon region, the Flemish region or the Brussels-Capital region will tell you what you have to do.

You should know that in Belgium, the micro-enterprise regime does not exist.

2. Create a business in Belgium

For a company, the most common forms in Belgium are the public limited company or the private limited liability company (SPRL).

This legal form guarantees the protection of your personal assets . In addition, it allows you to benefit from an advantageous tax regime.

On the other hand, the administrative formalities to constitute a company are more restrictive.

What are the administrative procedures to be carried out to set up in Belgium?

Whatever choice you have made regarding the legal form, you will have to carry out administrative formalities:

  • Open a professional bank account in an active bank in Belgium.
  • Register with the Belgian Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (or BCE) which will assign you a company number. This will be your company’s unique identification number. The ECB is a branch of the Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Middle Classes and Energy.
  • Obtain permissions specific to your activity. Certain fields of activity involve particular conditions in terms of the management of the company and the professional qualifications required.
  • Register for VAT if you are subject to it.
  • Join a social insurance fund such as the UCM for example.
  • Join a mutual health insurance .
  • Take out professional liability insurance.

What if you already have a business in France?

4 cases are possible. Here they are from the most restrictive to the simplest.

1. Create a business in Belgium

It will be a Belgian company , governed by Belgian law.

We will talk about a subsidiary if this new entity is majority owned by the parent company located abroad.

The business creation process as well as the administrative procedures are the same as for any Belgian company.

2. Develop a branch in Belgium

You do not want to create a company under Belgian law, but you have a local representative in Belgium. This person is responsible for representing you and makes decisions that bind your company. It is an agent.

You will need to provide a copy of your company’s decision to open a branch in Belgium. This can consist of amending the articles of association, an extract from the commercial register or the minutes of the general meeting of the board of directors. As regards the content, this document must specify the envisaged activity and the powers of the appointed representative. It must also be published in the Belgian Official Gazette, the Belgian Official Journal.

The usual administrative procedures are also expected.

3. Open an establishment unit, without legal personality

This formula is commonly used to set up an activity that you manage from your head office located outside Belgium , in France for example. It can be a point of sale, offices, a production workshop.

The traditional administrative procedures in Belgium are required.

4. Sell services / goods in Belgium from a French company

To carry out transactions  in Belgium, for example to sell products on the markets, it is not compulsory to be physically located in Belgium .

However, you must at least request a Bis number , this is a national number for foreign entrepreneurs . The request must be made to the Banque-Carrefour des Entreprises.

Train 100% online to create a business in Belgium


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *