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How to start a company quickly in Flanders

Branches and subsidiaries are the business types of choice for investing in operations in Flanders. Establishing a branch takes around one month, assuming that all of the necessary documents have been prepared. Establishing a subsidiary generally progresses more quickly and can be completed in a matter of days.

Setting up a branch

  1. Gather and/or prepare the necessary documents in your company’s country of origin.
  2. Get all these documents certified, i.e. notarized, legalized and/or apostilled by the local Belgian embassy or consulate.
  3. Have the legalized documents authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgium.
  4. Ask a certified translator to prepare translations into Dutch, Flanders’ official language.
  5. File the required documents and obtain your unique business registration number.
  6. Submit a request for e-publication in the Belgian Official Gazette.
  7. Register your branch at a ‘business one-stop shop’ to add your company branch to the official database of the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises.
  8. Fulfill all requirements in terms of VAT, social security and (social) insurance.
  9. Open for business.

Don’t forget to:

  • establish affiliation with a social insurance fund;
  • declare all workers from day one of operations through the Dimona declaration;
  • affiliate directors to a social insurance fund for self-employed people.

Setting up a subsidiary

Incorporate your company following the 10 steps required by Belgian law.

  1. Draw the articles of association and a budget forecast.
  2. Open a special blocked bank account at a Belgian bank for a contribution in cash.
  3. Deposit the founders’ contribution into the special blocked bank account.
  4. Submit the deposit receipt to your notary public at the incorporation meeting.
  5. Notarize the memorandum of association.
  6. Obtain your unique business registration number through the notary public.
  7. Submit a request for e-publication in the Belgian Official Gazette.
  8. Register your subsidiary through a business one-stop shop to add your subsidiary to the official database of the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises.
  9. Fulfill all requirement in terms of VAT, social security and (social) insurance.
  10. Open for business.

Don’t forget to:

  • establish affiliation with a social insurance fund;
  • declare all workers from day one of operations through the Dimona declaration;
  • affiliate directors to a social insurance fund for self-employed people. 

5 things to keep in mind when starting a business in Flanders

  1. Be aware of the costs involved in translating documents (all should be in Dutch), publishing documents and paying for notarizations.
  2. Choosing a unique corporate name is a must.
  3. Belgian companies must comply with Belgian accountancy law.
  4. Companies have the option of leasing, buying or building premises.
  5. Companies must comply with all EU data protection and privacy requirements.

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