The Belgian Ministerial Decree of 30.06.2020 on urgent measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus imposes travel restrictions on Extra-Schengen travel to Belgium.
1. Travels to Belgium
1.1. Travel to Belgium from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus (EU non-Schengen states):
There are no longer specific travel restrictions imposed upon these journeys. The general entry conditions to the Schengen territory apply.
Passengers to Belgium are obliged to complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form (online orPDF ) prior to travel. Passengers are obliged to read the latest travel advice and to fill in a Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours before arriving in Belgium. This form has to be completed by:
On arrival in Belgium, the form must be handed over to the designated authorities at the border. This form can also be completed and sent electronically via https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/ where it is available in Dutch, English, German and French. This is a sanitary measure imposed by the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment. Further information can be found on the form or the website itself.
Travelling to Belgium from areas designated as red zones on the Belgian Federal Public Service website is prohibited. https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en
The general sanitary regulations must be complied with during the travel, you can find these on: https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/faq/
1.2. Travel to Belgium coming from third countries (= countries who are not part of the EU or the Schengen area):
All non-essential travels are prohibited. On the website of the Belgian Crisis Centre you will find further information about whether or not a travel is essential and which sanitary regulations must be complied with when you can still travel, including the mandatory self-isolation. This information is available in English, Dutch, French or German.
The travel restrictions do not apply to:
Third-country nationals with a nationality included on the list of third countries, which will (as soon as a formal decision has been taken by the Belgian authorities) be published on the website of the Belgian Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en. In addition, these third-country nationals must fall within the scope of the measures.
More detailed information on the scope of the restrictions can be found on the website of the European Union
1.3. Specificities regarding family reunification:
Applications for visas for family reunification may be now submitted and visas may be issued in the event of a positive decision, but gradually and as far as possible. The precondition for this is that the outsourcing partner with which the embassy or consulate is working if necessary (VFS Global or TLS Contact) is operational again. Before submitting an application for family reunification or collecting a granted visa, the family member should contact the relevant embassy or outsourcing partner to make an appointment.
People with a valid visa are strongly advised to postpone any non-essential travel.
If the period of validity of the visa issued for the postponed trip is insufficient to cover the duration of the new trip, a new visa may be requested on presentation of the following documents:
a) Valid visa for a short stay:
b) Valid visa for a long stay (family reunification, work, studies, ...) :
Family reunification : a new visa may be issued after checking the administrative situation of the sponsor (identity card or valid residence permit, no removal) and whether the family reunification project (living or settling together) is being maintained.
c) Visa for marriage or legal cohabitation in Belgium:
A new visa may be issued after checking the administrative situation of the future spouse or partner (identity card or valid residence permit, no removal), after confirmation that the family reunification project is maintained (recent certificate of single status, new marriage declaration, confirmation by the future partner of his willingness to declare legal cohabitation), and upon presentation of visa application form, proof of payment of the handling fee, copy of the travel document with the visa and travel health insurance covering the duration of the proposed new trip.
2. Returning to one's country of origin or residence
The Covid-19 crisis caused unprecedented travel restrictions and many people who were abroad were thus prevented from returning home on the scheduled date.
As of March 2020, all Schengen states have taken decisions allowing these people to extend their stay on their territory. In Belgium, people received a letter from the Immigration Office authorizing them to extend their stay in Belgium.
Possibilities of return are starting to emerge, but not always from the State which has authorised the extension of the stay.
These national decisions had to be given a "Schengen effect" so that the persons involved could travel to another State in order to return home. This has now been achieved by adopting a document containing all the national measures taken by each Schengen State. (see the new Annex 2A to the Handbook for the processing of visa applications and the modification of issued visas).
In practical terms
A third-country national authorized to extend his stay in Belgium because of the health crisis may travel to another Schengen state in order to go back home. However, he will have to hold a valid passport, the letter sent by the Immigration Office and proof that he is going to that State in order to return to his country of origin or residence (plane ticket, train ticket, etc.).
The Immigration Office advises the persons concerned to contact the consular authorities of the State involved to ensure that they will be allowed to transit through its territory.