Here’s a description of the procedure to obtain Belgian license plates for a car already registered elsewhere in Europe, after I went through it. I hope this helps others thinking of doing the same.
There are 7 steps in this procedure:
- Collect the necessary documents (certificate of conformity, current vehicle registration). You can obtain a CoC online, it will most likely be much cheaper than asking your car dealer. I got it from here: http://cocexpress.fr/ Please note that the CoC is not asked until the 5th step, so feel free to go through steps 2-4 while waiting for the CoC to arrive
- Go to customs (Douane, 11 Rue de L’Entrepôt, 1020 Brussels, 08.30-11:00 + 13:00-15:30), fill form, obtain the «pink paper» which shows that you’ve started the procedure of changing license plates. Here they only ask for the current vehicle registration form. In the field «when did you bring the car into Belgium for the first time», the customs officer told me to simply write the current date. You will be asked to pay the symbolic price of 1€ here
- Go through inspection (controle technique, http://www.autocontrole.be/). For vehicles less than 4 years old (as in my case), they will not actually check the vehicle, just put a stamp on the «pink paper» from step 2. No money is necessary in this case. Otherwise, you need to take an appointment and go through an actual technical control of your car.
- Buy insurance. You can do this even if you don’t know your new license plate yet. I went with Ethias. They will ask you for some proof from your current car insurance about your bonus-malus level
- go to DIV, register your car ( http://www.mobilit.belgium.be/fr/ )
(60 rue du Progrès, 1210 Brussels, 08:30-14:30). Be ready to spend 1-2 hours waiting here. The actual procedure takes 5 minutes. They will ask for all the documents from the previous steps (current vehicle registration, CoC, the «pink paper» from customs, the insurance document). They will keep your current vehicle registration, so you might want to make a copy beforehand. The rear license plate and new vehicle registration will be delivered to your home on the next working day by Bpost. You will have to pay 30€ to the postman.
- Make copy of the rear license plate for the front of your car (cost me €20). Note that the front plate is now the same size as the rear one, not smaller like in the past or as in some other Member states
- Register at your Comune in order to get a parking permit (carte d’habitant). This is valid for a calendar year and allows you to park for free in specific parts of your comune. For Woluwe Saint Lambert his costs 10€. They will ask you for the vehicle registration and identity card ( http://www.woluwe1200.be/fr/cadre-de-vie/deplacement/stationnement/test )
PS I will update this post once I’ve completed the 2nd part of this process, i.e. getting rid of your old license plates