I want to rent a car in Belgium. As a non-resident am I allowed to leave the car for a couple hours (~10) outside the non-free parking spots and don't worry about receiving a penalty from the local police? I mean at shop parking or places like what is shown here, it can be away from town centers. The car will be rented so it will probably be registered with Belgian plates. Does it mean when driving it, I have the same privileges as a Belgian resident?
Short answer: no problem. You can park just like anyone else.
Long answer: In Belgium, the maximum duration is governed by Article 27 of the "Arrêté royal portant règlement général sur la police de la circulation routière et de l'usage de la voie publique".
27.1 and 27.2 deal with the situation if there is an indication of maximum duration (signs and such). If so, you have to follow this indication. 27.3 deals with paid parking. If you don't pay or don't pay enough you can get fined. 27.4 deals with parking for disabled persons. I'm assuming that this doesn't apply. 27.6 says that some of the previous rules don't apply if you park in front of your own driveway.
Then, we are left with 27.5 which limits the allowed parking duration in a few cases:
- 27.5.1: if your vehicle is unable to move (it really broke down), the maximum is 24 hours.
- 27.5.2: in built-up areas and if your vehicle has a maximum allowed weight above 7.5 tons (i.e. it is a truck or something big), the maximum is 8 hours.
- 27.5.3: if it is one of those riding billboards, the maximum is three hours.
No other limitations are specified. Conclusion: for a normal car, if you follow what the signs say about maximum duration or paid parking, there is no limit. There is no distinction between residents or others in that matter (unless such a distinction would be made on the sign).
This applies to the public road. If we are talking about private parkings (e.g. around a big supermarket), whatever the owner of the parking allows will apply.