Basic Requirements

Find out whether you are eligible to set up a business in Belgium...

A person must be at least 18 years of age to set up as self-employed. Minors cannot start up their own businesses, even if they are no longer subject to parental control. For those in the trades, the date on which they become eligible is the date on which they complete their compulsory education, generally 30 June of the year in which they have their 18th birthday.

The spouse's agreement is not usually required. However, a spouse can object through the courts if the business might have a detrimental impact on them or the children of the marriage.

Proof of level of education

Proof of secondary or tertiary education or of relevant experience is usually needed to register the business to demonstrate basic management knowledge. Other qualifications may also be required, depending on the type of business activity.

Non-Belgians' qualifications must be certified as equivalent to Belgian ones. This takes about four months to obtain and should be done before registering the business.

Certification can be done through:


A person who has been declared bankrupt may start a new commercial business as a self-employed person as long as the bankruptcy was not due to serious negligence or deliberate misconduct on the bankrupt's part. If it was, then a court may prevent the bankrupt from starting a business for between three and ten years from the date of bankruptcy. This ban can be lifted by a judge.

Lack of legal capacity

An adult may not set up a business if he or she lacks legal capacity, for example if property belonging to that adult is temporarily held in trust, if the adult falls under the statute of extended minority, if the adult is subject to a guardianship order or is a ward of court, etc.

Prepared using information supplied by ING Bank SA/NV