International travels

In order to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) the Belgian authorities have decided to introduce a ban on travel for non-essential purposes (recreational, tourism, etc.) to and from Belgium.

Article 21 §1 of the ministerial decree of 28.10.2020 on emergency measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) states that non-essential travel to Belgium is prohibited for:

  • Persons who don’t have the nationality of an EU- or Schengen Member State. For the purposes of the ministerial decree of 28.10.2020, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City are considered to be countries of the European Union;
  • Persons not having their main residence in a third country considered safe by Belgium (meaning Australia, South Korea, Rwanda, New Zealand, Singapore ,Thailand and Israel)

These measures apply until 31.05.2021 but can be renewed afterwards.

The various measures taken since March 2020 to limit the spread of the coronavirus are published on the website of the Crisis Centre: https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/faq/

            NEW!

It is prohibited for persons who at any time during the past 14 days were in the territory of Brazil, South Africa or India to travel directly or indirectly to the Belgian territory, provided they do not have Belgian nationality or do not have their main residence in Belgium, with the exception of the following permitted essential journeys:

1° professional journeys of transport, freight and cargo personnel and merchant seamen, provided that they are in possession of a certificate issued by the employer;

the professional travels of diplomats, staff of international organisations, people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these organisations, in the exercise of their functions, provided that they are also in possession of an essential travel certificate delivered by a Belgian diplomatic or consular post.

In the absence of such an Essential Travel Certificate or in the event of false, misleading or incomplete information in this certificate, and if the essential nature of the travel is not apparent from the official documents in the traveller's possession, entry may be refused in accordance with Article 14 of the Schengen Borders Code or Article 43 of the Law of 15 December 1980.

Useful links:

 

A. List of essential travels applicable to persons having the nationality of an EU*/Schengen Member State or having their main residence in an EU/Schengen Member State, or having their main residence in a third country considered safe by Belgium**

* For the purposes of the ministerial decree of 28.10.2020, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City are considered to be countries of the European Union.
** Australia, South Korea, Rwanda, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand and Israel

As of 19.04.2021, the travel ban to Belgium has been lifted. However, negative travel advice remains in force for all non-essential travel.

All sanitary measures to be respected can be found on https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/faq/

 

B. List of essential travels applicable to persons not having the nationality of an EU/Schengen Member State and not having their main residence in an EU/Schengen Member State, and not having their main residence in a third country considered safe by Belgium

The following travels are considered essential:

1. the professional travels of health professionals, health researchers and elderly care professionals;

2. the professional travels of frontier workers;

3. the professional travels seasonal workers in agriculture;

4. the professional travels transport personnel;

5. the professional travels of diplomats, staff of international organisations, people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these organisations, military personnel, federal police personnel, civil protection personnel, law enforcement personnel, personnel from the Immigration Office, customs personnel and humanitarian aid workers, in the exercise of their functions;

6. passengers in transit : extra-Schengen transit and extra-EU transit

7. passengers travelling for imperative family reasons, meaning:

trips justified by family reunification (which is a long stay in the meaning of the Belgian Immigration law);

  • visits to a spouse or partner who does not live under the same roof, insofar as plausible evidence of a stable and longterm relationship can be provided;
  • travel within the framework of co-parenting, including medical treatment within the framework of medically assisted procreation;
  • travel for funerals or cremations (first- and second-degree relatives);
  • travel within the framework of civil or religious marriages (first- and second-degree relatives).

8. the professional travels of seafarers;

9. the travels of undertaken for humanitarian reasons (including journeys undertaken for imperative medical reasons or the continuation of urgent medical treatment or to provide assistance or care for an elderly or disabled or vulnerable person);

10. the travels for the purpose of study, including pupils, students and interns undergoing training as part of their studies and researchers with a hosting agreement;

11. the travels of qualified persons, if their work is necessary from an economic point of view and cannot be postponed; including the journeys of professional sportsmen and women with top sports status and professionals in the cultural sector, when they hold a single permit and journalists, when they are exercising their professional activity.

The travel of persons who come to work as an employee in Belgium, including au pairs, whatever the duration of this activity, provided that they are authorized by the competent Region (work permit or proof that the conditions of an exemption are met).

The travel of persons who come to work as a self-employed in Belgium, whatever the duration of this activity, provided that they are authorized by the competent Region (valid professional card or proof that the conditions of an exemption are met).

Specifications of certain categories of travel.

Every traveller must be in possession of the documents required for entry into Schengen and demonstrate that his journey is essential by means of the necessary documentation.

For a long stay in Belgium, all travellers must have a D visa.

For a short stay in Belgium, any traveller subject to the visa requirement to enter Schengen must have a C visa. Whatever his nationality, he must prove that he meets the conditions for entry into Schengen when he presents himself at the Schengen external borders, by means of the necessary documentation.

As of 19.04.2021 the procedure “Sworn Statement” is no longer applicable.

For the travels permitted under the terms of section B (Essential travels) : the traveller is obliged to be in possession of an essential travel certificate. This certificate is delivered by a Belgian diplomatic or consular post in order to certify the essential nature of the travel.

If a transporter is used, the transporter required to check that the passengers are in possession of this Essential Travel Certificate before boarding.

In the absence of such this Essential Travel Certificate, the transporter is obliged to refuse boarding. Upon arrival on Belgian territory, the transporter will check again that the passenger is in possession of this Essential Travel Certificate.

In the absence of such an Essential Travel Certificate or in the event of false, misleading or incomplete information in this certificate, and if the essential nature of the travel is not apparent from the official documents in the traveller's possession, entry may be refused in accordance with Article 14 of the Schengen Borders Code or Article 43 of the Law of 15 December 1980.

By way of derogation, an essential travel certificate is not required in the following situations (the certificate may however be requested if the passenger fears to encounter a problem when boarding):

  • The traveller is in possession of a valid D visa delivered by a Belgian diplomatic or consular post;
  • The traveller is in possession of a valid C visa delivered after 18/03/2020 by a Belgian diplomatic or consular post if the essential nature of the journey is demonstrated by the official documents in the possession of the traveller;
  • The traveller is in possession of a valid C visa delivered after 18/03/2020 by a diplomatic or consular post of another Schengen member State in representation of Belgium if the essential nature of the journey is demonstrated by the official documents in the possession of the traveller;
  • The essential nature of the journey is demonstrated by the official documents in the possession of the traveller.

The certificate is required in all other situations (nationalities exempt from visa requirements for a short stay, holders of a visa issued before 18/03/2020 by a Belgian diplomatic or consular post, ...).

The term "transporter" applies to:

  • the private or public air transporter;
  • the private or public sea transporter;
  • the inland waterway transporter;
  • he private or public train- or bustransporter for the transport coming from a State that is outside the European Union and outside the Schengen area

Any person travelling to Belgium, or returning to Belgium after a stay abroad, by airplane or boat, must complete the electronic version of the Public Health Passenger Locator Form (PLF) within 48 hours before arrival in Belgium. This also applies when travelling by train or bus from a country outside the European Union and the Schengen area.

Any person travelling to Belgium, or returning to Belgium after a stay abroad, without using a carrier as mentioned above (e.g. by car) must also fill in the PLF within 48 hours prior to arrival in Belgium, except :

  • if this person stays less than 48 hours in Belgium ;
  • if this person has stayed less than 48 hours outside Belgium.

The traveler must carry the proof of introduction of the completed PLF with him/her throughout the journey to the final destination in Belgium and for the next 48 hours. If it is not possible to obtain such proof, the traveler is required to carry a copy of the completed PLF with him/her throughout the journey to the final destination in Belgium and for the next 48 hours.

The following travellers don't need to be in possession of a PLF when they travel to Belgium without using a carrier:

1° While travelling to Belgium in the context of their duties:

  • Transport workers or transport providers, including truck drivers, who transport goods for use on the territory and those who are only in transit;
  • Seafarers, the crew of tugboats and pilot boats, and industrial personnel employed in offshore wind farms;
  • The Border Force Officers of the United Kingdom;
  • The frontier workers;

2° Border pupils who travel to Belgium within the framework of the compulsory education ;

3° Persons who travel to Belgium within the framework of co-parenting.

Each traveller, from the age of 6, arriving on Belgian territory from a territory classified as a red zone on the website of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and not having his or her main residence in Belgium, must have a negative test result based on a test carried out at the earliest 72 hours prior to departure to Belgian territory. If necessary, the transporter is obliged to check that passengers present a negative test result before boarding. In the absence of a negative test result, the transporter is obliged to refuse boarding.

A traveller who stays less than 48 hours in Belgium and a traveller who has stayed less than 48 hours outside Belgium must not have a negative test result.

The following travellers don't need to be in possession of a negative test result:

1° Persons having their main residence in Belgium

2° While travelling to Belgium in the context of their duties:

  • Transport workers or transport providers, including truck drivers, who transport goods for use on the territory and those who are only in transit;
  • Seafarers, the crew of tugboats and pilot boats, and industrial personnel employed in offshore wind farms;
  • The Border Force Officers of the United Kingdom;
  • The frontier workers

3° Border pupils who travel to Belgium within the framework of the compulsory education ;

4° Persons who travel to Belgium within the framework of co-parenting.

Each person who stayed at least 48 hours in a red zone is subject to a quarantine measure which can be ended through a negative PCR-test on day 7 of the quarantine. This measure applies to residents and non-residents. Testing capacity for this purpose is available in Brussels Airport, Charleroi Airport and Brussels South train station. Arriving passengers can be tested there on a voluntary basis. More information concerning the quarantine and some exceptions can be found on https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/faq/