There are several ports of entry to Belgium. Shipments and packages arrive via land, air and ocean. Shipments and packages of all sizes are processed by Belgium Customs and require the appropriate shipping documents or "manifests". There can be customs duties starting with new items of 20 euros or more. For used items in single shipments for a private individual, there are not usually customs duties. Belgian authorities are legally allowed to open packages to make certain that the packages contain the contents described in the itemized list included in the package documents.
U.S. Postal Service
As of May 2010, Priority service costs $28 for a one pound package and $31.05 for a two-pound package. A package of 10 pounds sent Priority costs $55.45 and a package of 20 pounds costs $85.95. The weight limit for a package sent Priority services is 66 pounds, which costs $226.25.
Express service costs $28 to $35 for a package weighing between 0.5 to 1 pound. A package weighing 10 pounds costs $74, and a package weighing 20 pounds costs $119. The weight limit for a package sent using Express services is 66 pounds which costs $326 to send.
To send packages weighing between 0.5 and 1 pound via Global Express Guaranteed, the U.S. postal office’s premium shipping service, costs between $40 and $64. For a package weighing 10 pounds, the cost is $147 to $150. For a package weighing 20 pounds, the cost is about $200. The weight limit for sending Global Express is 70 pounds, for which Global Express charges $462.25.
For DHL, which provides competitive rates for shipping by land and sea, packages that are not documents and weigh 1 pound (around half a kilo) cost about $40 to send. Packages weighing between 2 to 9 pounds (about 1 to 4 kilos) cost between $40 to $72 to send. A package weighing 10 to 12 pounds (about 5 kilos) costs $76. Shipping only documents costs slightly less. For packages weighing 20 pounds, the cost is $466.30.
Air parcels take four to five weeks. It costs $18 to send parcels 250 grams or less, $24 to send parcels weighing between 251 to 500 grams, $37 to send parcels weighing between 501 grams and 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram). An air parcel package weighing up to 10 pounds costs between $55 to $65 to send.
A 1 pound package sent by FedEx International Economy costs $70.31, sent by FedEx Priority costs between $70 and $75, and sent by FedEx International First class costs between $120 and $130. A five-pound package sent by FedEx Economy costs between $123 and $130, sent by FedEx International Priority costs between $129 and $135, and sent by FedEx International First class costs between $178 and $182. To send a 10-pound package via FedEx costs between $155 and $160 (Economy), $170 and $175 (International Priority), and between $219 and $225 (International First class). To send a 19 to 20 pound package via FedEx costs between $218 and $219 (Economy), $236 and $240 (International Priority) and $285 to $290 (First class).
Moving to Belgium
For individuals or families moving to Belgium, there are some exceptions to rates and customs duties. If the family has not lived in Europe for at least 12 months prior to moving and the cargo (largely household items) being shipped have been used and owned a minimum of six months before the move, their shipment is exempt from the value added tax and additional duties.
Shipping to Belgium can be expensive and difficult. Post offices and drop-off points are open during working hours, so deliveries to a private address or pick-ups from the public office can be difficult to schedule. Certain delivery offices set up late hours for individuals that need to pick up packages after working hours. The Belgian postal service is known for a limited amount of corruption, so be sure to include detailed manifests and fill out all related legal forms to ensure that a shipment arrives intact.