Are foreign workers driving vehicles with foreign registration plates permitted on the Belgian roads?
We find that foreign workers, who are temporarily active in Belgium, are regularly fined for driving a vehicle with foreign registration plates. But how does this actually work? What is permitted and what is not?
Who has to register their vehicle in Belgium?
The Royal Decree on the registration of vehicles stipulates that residents of Belgium who drive their vehicles here, must register them in the vehicle register (‘DIV register’). After this registration, they will receive a Belgian registration plate. This is generally required, even if these vehicles have already been registered abroad.
Who is considered a resident of Belgium?
Being a resident of Belgium implies that one is recorded in the population registers of a Belgian municipality. This also includes the register of foreigners.
Who has to register in the population registers?
Belgians and foreigners who are authorised to reside in Belgium for a period of more than three months or to settle there, must register in the population registers at the place of their main residence. Foreign workers who, as a result of their work on the territory of Belgium, reside here for more than three months, are thus also obliged to register in a population register in Belgium and it is this registration that leads to the obligation to register the vehicles they drive in Belgium.
Which vehicles are excluded from the obligation to register?
There are a number of exceptions to this general obligation to register vehicles. For example, no registration is required for a vehicle that a foreign employer has made available to his employee residing in Belgium. This exemption does however require that a copy of the employment contract is present on board the vehicle, as well as a document drawn up by the foreign employer certifying that the vehicle is made available to the employee.
In case of foreign employees driving their private vehicle with a foreign registration plate, it is crucial to verify whether or not they have been staying in Belgium for over three months. If the period of three months has passed, they are required to register in the population register and as a resident of Belgium, they are therefore obliged to register their vehicle in Belgium and to drive with Belgian registration plates.
For foreign employees who receive a company car from their foreign employer the same period of three months applies. But they are still allowed to drive with a foreign registration plate when a copy of their employment contract and a document drawn up by the foreign employer, certifying that the vehicle is made available to that person, are present in the vehicle. When an employee is unable to present these documents, this automatically implies that the obligation to register the vehicle in Belgium has not been fulfilled and results in a fine.