Specifications of certain categories of travel which are considered essential

Family or private visit of short duration

Generally speaking, this trip is not considered essential.

Visit of a short duration to a spouse or partner who does not live under the same roof

The proof of the marriage or the legal partnership has to be provided by an official document.

De facto partners

For the de facto partners, the plausible proof of the stable and long-term character of the relationship can be given by:

  • The partners prove that they have lived together for 6 months in Belgium or in another country; or
  • The partners prove a relationship of at least one year, during which they have physically seen each other physically at least twice, for at least 20 days*; or
  • The partners prove that they have a child together.

Both de facto partners have to at least 18 years old and unmarried.

* If a visit has had to be cancelled due to travel restrictions (Covid-19), evidence of the forced cancellation of that visit may be taken into consideration during the planned new visit.

Travel for funerals, cremations and marriages

The proof of the family relationship within the first or second degree has to be given by official documents.

Travel of short duration to provide assistance or care to an elderly, minor, disabled or vulnerable person

This is considered essential if the traveller demonstrates the need for assistance or care, or the physical or mental distress of a first- or seconddegree relative. The proof of the family relationship within the first or second degree has to be given by official documents.

Travel of persons who come to Belgium to exercise an employed or self-employed activity, including the travel of artists and sportsmen and women

In the case of a person who is exempt from a work permit (because of the nature of the occupation or the short duration of the occupation), travel may be considered essential, provided that the work is necessary from an economic point of view, or has a societal value, and that this work cannot be postponed or performed at a distance. Whether or not work can be postponed may change over time.

The cases in which a foreigner is exempt from the need for a work permit or a professional card can be found on the Regions' website.

Travel for cultural, artistic or sport related purposes

Generally speaking, a short stay travel is not considered as an essential travel


Attention is drawn to the fact that if you travel to another Schengen Member State via Belgium, you must have an authorisation to enter the other Member State in question, unless you can prove the essential character on the basis of documents. You can do this with a verbal note from the embassy of that other Schengen Member State or an individualized proof from those authorities confirming that you can travel there. If you do not have such a document, it will be up to the Belgian immigration authorities to determine whether you can travel via Belgium. Therefore, you are advised to plan a direct flight to the Schengen Member State which is your final destination.