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.

The royal  decree of 10.03.2022 on travel restrictions coordinated by the European Union in response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic 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 BAHRAIN, CHILE, COLOMBIA, INDONESIA, KUWAIT,  NEW ZEALAND, PERU, QATAR, RWANDA, SAUDI ARABIA, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES and URUGUAY.

Also on annex 1 as Special Administrative Region of China: HONG KONG and MACAO
Also on annex 1 as entity and territorial authority that is not recognized as state by at least one member state: TAIWAN
Note: China is also mentioned on this annex I of the EU, however due to unfulfilled reciprocity currently the travel restrictions still are applicable to China

Useful links:

List of essential and permitted travels from a third country to Belgium 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 and permitted:

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).

12. the travels of a spouse or partner of a person who has the nationality of an EU- or Schengen member state and who accompany  this spouse or partner. This spouse or partner must live under the same roof. The same applies to the travels of the children who live under the same roof. The de facto partners must have provided plausible evidence of a stable and long-term relationship.

Specifications of certain categories of travel.

 For the permitted travels the travellers has to be in possession of an essential travel certificate.

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

Useful information:

For the purposes of the royal decree of 28.10.2021, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City are considered to be countries of the European Union.

Third country considered safe by Belgium : 
the list can be found at the very top of this page in the introduction.

It is prohibited for persons who at any time during the past 14 days were in the territory of a country classified as very high risk on the website https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/ 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.

When a country is classified as a very high risk in accordance with the first paragraph, the entry ban on the Belgian territory takes effect at the moment as indicated on the website https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/countries-with-high-risk/   and at the earliest 24 hours after its publication on that website.

Currently there are no countries classified as very high risk.

The following essential travels are permitted:

1°the professional journeys of transport employees, freight and cargo personnel and seafarers, tugboat crew, boat pilots and industrial personnel employed in offshore wind parks, provided they hold 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.

3° the travels of a spouse or partner of a person who has Belgian nationality or has his/her main residence in Belgium. This spouse or partner must live under the same roof as the person who has Belgian nationality or the person who has the main residence in Belgium. These travellers must hold an Essential Travel Certificate issued by the Belgian diplomatic or consular post. The de facto partners must have provided plausible evidence of a stable and long-term relationship.

4° the transit journeys outside of the Schengen area or European Union (transit via a high-risk country without leaving the international zone of the airport or transit in Belgium from a high-risk country without leaving the airport’s non-Schengen Area);

5° travels through Belgium to the country of the European Union or Schengen Area of which the traveller is are a national or where the traveller has his main residence;

6° People travelling for extremely compelling humanitarian reasons. These people must have a Certificate of Travel for Humanitarian Reasons issued by the Belgian diplomatic or consular post and approved by the Immigration Office.

7° travel of persons whose physical presence is indispensable for national security purposes, provided they are in possession of an essential travel certificate issued by the Belgian diplomatic or consular post and approved by the Immigration Office.

If a carrier is used, it is required to check that the persons are in possession of this Essential Travel Certificate or a proof of authorised transit before boarding. In the absence of such an attestation or proof of authorised transit, the carrier is obliged to refuse boarding

In the absence of such an Essential Travel Certificate or Certificate of travel for Humanitarian Reasons 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.

For the permitted 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 essential nature of the journey is demonstrated by the official documents in the possession of the traveller
  • The traveller has a vaccination certificate which meets all the conditions described in the section entitled "Vaccination certificate" below
  • The traveller has a recovery certificate which meets all the conditions described in the section entitled "Recovery certificate" below
  • The traveller is a child under 18 year who travels with an attendant and this attendant is in possession of a vaccination or recovery certificate.

The term "transporter" applies to:

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

Vaccination certificate means:

  1. An EU Digital Covid Certificate  of vaccination with a vaccine which is authorised in the EU, delivered in correspondence with EU Regulation 726/2004 

     OR
     
  2. A COVID-19 vaccine for which the World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Use Listing procedure has been completed or a certificate of vaccination with such vaccine issued in a country not belonging to the European Union which is considered as equivalent by the European Commission on the basis of the implementing acts or by Belgium on the basis of bilateral agreements, which shows that all doses provided for in the package leaflet have been administered for at least two weeks and that no more than 270 days have passed since the date of the last dose in the primary vaccination series or which shows that a booster dose was administered after completion of the primary vaccination series.

In the absence of an equivalence decision by the European Commission, a vaccination certificate issued in a country not belonging to the European Union and containing at least the following information in Dutch, French, German or English will also be accepted:

  • details that make it possible to identify the person who has been vaccinated (name, date of birth and/or ID number)
  • details demonstrating that a COVID-19 vaccine authorised in the EU pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 or a COVID-19 vaccine for which the World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Use Listing procedure has been completed was administered
  • details showing that all doses provided for in the package leaflet against the SARS-Cov-2 virus have been administered for at least two weeks and that no more than 270 days have elapsed since the date of the last dose in the primary vaccination series or evidence that a booster dose was administered after completion of the primary vaccination series.
  • the brand name and the name of the manufacturer or the marketing authorisation holder of each vaccine administered. If one of the two names is not mentioned, the lot number must also be mentioned;;
  • the date of administration of each dose of the vaccine that has been administered, or the total number of doses and the name of the last vaccine administered as well as the date of the last administration.;
  • the name of the country, province or region where the vaccination certificate has been delivered;
  • the issuer of the certificate of vaccination

Since 01/02/2022 the EU digital COVID certificate and an equivalent vaccination certificate referred to under 2. are valid for a period of nine months after the basic vaccination (second dose of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Covishield or first dose of Johnson & Johnson). This period of validity was established by a delegated act of the European Commission and therefore applies to travel to all Schengen Member States. If the basic vaccination was administered more than 9 months ago, a booster dose will have to be administered to reactivate the validity of the vaccination certificate. Heterologous vaccinations (e.g. 1 dose of AstraZeneca + 1 dose of Pfizer) are not recognised as a complete vaccination schedule: only when a 2nd dose of Pfizer is administered in this example will the vaccination scheme be complete and recognised.

When travelling to Belgium, a vaccination certificate must be valid for the entire duration of the intended stay, this applies to the digital EU-COVID certificate referred to under 1. and for the equivalent vaccination certificate referred to under 2. Travellers are therefore urged to travel with a valid vaccination certificate that covers the entire intended duration of the stay, the validity can be extended via the booster vaccination.

Currently on 08.11.2021 the following vaccinations are recognized:

Producer

Brand name vaccine

Pfizer/BioNTech

Cominarty

Moderna

Spikevax

AstraZeneca/Oxford

Vaxzevria and Covishield

Johnson and Johnson

Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen

 

As of 11.03.2022, the following vaccines are also approved

 

Producer

Brand name vaccine

Novavax

Nuvaxovid

Serum Institute of India

Covishield

R-Pharm (Sub-lincence under Astra Zeneca)

R-COVI
 

Fiocruz (Sub-lincence under Astra Zeneca)

Covid-19 vaccine Recombinant

Sinopharm

BBIBP-Corv

Sinovac

CoronaVac

Bharat Biotech

COVAXIN

Serum Institute of India

COVAVAX

 


The ban on non-essential travel to Belgium no longer applies to travellers who, prior to arrival on the territory, hold a “vaccination certificate” that meets all the above mentioned criteria.

Do note that, depending on the place where the journey starts, it may be legally required to travel with the combination of a vaccination certificate and a test certificate. In certain cases, a vaccination certificate alone is insufficient to travel with.  Do consult also the section below “Test Certificate or recovery” certificate to verify if this is applicable to your journey.

If a transporter is used, the transporter is required to verify prior to boarding that the travellers indeed are in possession of such a vaccination certificate.

In the absence of such a vaccination certificate or in the event of false, misleading or incomplete information in this certificate entry may be refused in accordance with Article 14 of the Schengen Borders Code or Article 43 of the Law of 15 December 1980.

As of 12.08.2021: Vaccination certificates delivered by the United Kingdom are recognized by Belgium.

As of 20.08.2021: Vaccination certificates delivered by Turkey, North-Macedonia and Ukraine are recognized.

As of 15.09.2021: Vaccination certificates delivered by the Faroe Islands, Morocco, Panama, Albania, Israel, Monaco and Andorra are recognized.

As of 15.11.2021: Vaccination certificates delivered by Georgia, Moldova, New Zealand and Serbia are recognized.

As of 25.11.2021: Vaccination certificates delivered by Singapore and Togo are recognized.

As of 30.11.2021: Vaccination certificates delivered by El Salvador are recognized.

As of 09.12.2021: Vaccination certificates delivered by United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Cape Verde are recognized.

As of 21.12.2021: Vaccination certificates delivered by Montenegro, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

As of 16.02.2022: Vaccination certificates delivered by Benin and Jordan

As of 01.04.2022: Vaccination certificates delivered by Malaysia and Colombia

Children under 18 may travel with their parent(s) or guardian or other attendant without an essential travel certificate, provided that the parent(s), guardian or attendant is in possession of a vaccination or recovery certificate. This is considered an essential journey: an attestation is not required if the essential nature of the journey is evident from official documents in the possession of the traveller. The parent/guardian-child relationship must be evident from official documents, if necessary. In the case of an attendant, the travel consent by the parent or guardian has to be available.

Children under 18 who travel alone or are not accompanied by parent(s)/guardian(s)/other attendant need an essential travel document.

Please note:

Children under 12 are completely exempt from PCR testing but must follow the same quarantine as their parents.

Children over 12 years of age must follow their own testing and quarantine rules.

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.

For journeys to Belgium from a third country that is not included in Annex I to Council Recommendation (EU) 2020/912 of 30 June 2020 on the temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU and the possible lifting of this restriction, and which uses a carrier, the passenger must complete the electronic Passenger Location Form, published on the website of the Federal Public Service of Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, prior to the journey and submit it to the carrier for boarding.

Public Health Passenger Locator Form (PLF)

The carrier is required to check that all passengers have completed an electronic Passenger Location Form before boarding. If this is not the case, the carrier is obliged to refuse boarding. Upon arrival on Belgian territory, the airport operator will check again whether the electronic Passenger Location Form has been completed, in accordance with the instructions of the competent authority.

Carriers means:

    • the public or private air carrier;
    • the public or private maritime carrier;
    • the inland navigation carrier;
    • the rail carrier or public or private bus carrier, for transport from a country outside the European Union and the Schengen area

The traveller must carry proof of completion of the PLF for the entire journey to the final destination in Belgium and for the following 48 hours.

Test Certificate: an EU Digital COVID certificate or another certificate in Dutch, French, German or English, which indicates that a NAAT test (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test  = PCR test) with a negative result was carried out in an official laboratory not more than 72 hours before arrival on Belgian territory, or that a RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) which is mentioned in the updated Council Recommendation on a common framework for the use and validation of rapid antigen tests and the mutual recognition of COVID-19 test results in the EU,  with a negative result was carried out by a professional not more than 24 hours before arrival on Belgian territory.

Recovery Certificate: an EU Digital COVID certificate of recovery or a certificate of recovery issued in a country not belonging to the European Union which is considered equivalent by the European Commission on the basis of the implementing acts or by Belgium on the basis of bilateral agreements. This certificate has to show that no more than 180 days have elapsed since the date of the positive NAAT test result or from the positive result of a RAT test included in the common and updated list of rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 as established on the basis of the Council Recommendation of 21 January 2021 on a common framework for the use and validation of rapid antigen tests and mutual recognition of COVID-19 test results in the EU;

All travellers  from the age of 12 years who do not have their main residence in Belgium and who arrive on Belgian territory must present a vaccination, test or recovery certificate. This both concerns:

  • The travels from outside the Schengen area to Belgium;
  • The travels from inside the Schengen area to Belgium.

Where applicable, the carrier must verify that passengers present the recognised vaccination, test or recovery certificate prior to boarding. In the absence of the  recognised vaccination, test or recovery certificate, the carrier is obliged to refuse boarding.

In the absence of a recognized vaccination, test or recovery certificate referred to in the previous paragraph, or in the event of false, misleading or incomplete information concerning these documents entry may be refused in accordance with Article 14 of the Schengen Borders Code or Article 43 of the Law of 15 December 1980.

The following categories of travellers do not need to have a vaccination, test or recovery certificate:

  • Travellers who do not come to Belgium via a carrier (the public or private air carrier; the public or private maritime carrier; the inland navigation carrier; the rail carrier or public or private bus, for transport from a country outside the European Union and the Schengen area) and who have been abroad for a maximum of 48 hours or who will remain in Belgium for a maximum of 48 hours. 

The following categories of travellers do not need to have a certificate of vaccination, test or recovery either:

1° persons whose main residence is in Belgium;

2° provided that they travel to Belgium within the framework of their duties:​

  • transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory as well as those merely transiting;
  • seafarers, crew of tugboats and industrial personnel employed in offshore wind farms;
  • UK Border Force officers;
  • frontier workers;

3° pupils, students and trainees who travel to Belgium at least once a week as part of their studies or a cross-border training course;

4° people travelling to Belgium within the framework of cross-border co-parenthood.

Attention! The exception to the requirement to have a vaccination, test or recovery certificate not apply to people who have been to the countries classified as very high risk on the website https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/ at any time during the last 14 days, provided that they do not have Belgian nationality or do not have their main residence in Belgium.

Attention! A test certificate is not equal to a vaccination certificate.  Persons subject to travel restrictions who wish to travel to Belgium on the basis of a negative NAAT test (=PCR test) must do so with an essential travel certificate

More information concerning the quarantine and some exceptions can be found on https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/faq/  under the section “Transport and International”.

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

The page with the colour codes can be found here : Colour codes per country | Coronavirus COVID-19 (info-coronavirus.be)