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, Japan, Rwanda, New Zealand, Singapore ,Thailand and Israel)

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/

 Attention !

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°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.

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, Japan, Thailand and Israel

As of 19.04.2021, the travel ban to Belgium has been lifted.

Travelling to Belgium is possible but not recommended.

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;
  • 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

All travellers coming to Belgium or returning to Belgium by plane or by boat after a stay abroad must fill in the electronic version of the Public Health Passenger Locator Form (PLF) within 48 hours before arrival in Belgium. This also applies to travel by train or by bus from a country outside the European Union and the Schengen area.

Public Health Passenger Locator Form (PLF)

All travellers coming to Belgium or returning to Belgium after a stay abroad, without using a carrier as mentioned above (for example, by car), must also fill in the PLF within 48 hours before arrival in Belgium, unless they stay less than 48 hours in Belgium or have stayed less than 48 hours outside Belgium.

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. If the traveller cannot use the electronic version of the PLF, he/she is required to complete and sign the paper version.

The following categories of travellers do not need a PLF when travelling to Belgium without using a carrier:

1° 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;

2° pupils, students and trainees who travel to Belgium at least once a week as part of their studies or a cross-border training course;

3° people travelling to Belgium within the framework of cross-border co-parenthood.

Warning:

The exception to the requirement to complete and sign a Passenger Locator Form, mentioned in paragraph 1, for travellers whose journey does not involve the use of a carrier and whose stay in Belgium does not exceed 48 hours or whose previous stay outside Belgium did not exceed 48 hours, does not apply to people who have been to Brazil, South Africa or India 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, except for authorized essential travel.

All travellers aged 6 and over who arrive on Belgian territory from a territory classified as a red zone on the website of the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment in the context of the Covid-19 crisis and who do not have their main residence in Belgium must present a negative test result on the basis of a test carried out at the earliest 72 hours before departure to Belgian territory. Where applicable, the carrier must verify that passengers present a negative test result prior to boarding. In the absence of a negative test result, the carrier is obliged to refuse boarding.

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

Exceptions:

  • 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, do not have to present a negative test result.
  • Travelers who only transit by air and who remain exclusively in the transit zone without entering Belgian territory are also not required to have a negative test result. These persons must have a confirmed connection ticket. If a negative test result is required for the final destination, the person must have it before arrival in Belgium. It is not possible to achieve compliance in Belgium because the conditions of access have not been met.

In cases of organised transport, the carrier must check prior to boarding that these persons have a negative test result. In the absence of a negative test result, the carrier is obliged to refuse boarding.

The following categories of travellers do not need to have a negative test result 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.

Warning:

The exception to the requirement to have a negative test result, mentioned in paragraph 1, for travellers whose journey does not involve the use of a carrier and whose stay in Belgium does not exceed 48 hours or whose previous stay outside Belgium did not exceed 48 hours, does not apply to people who have been to Brazil, South Africa or India 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, except for authorized essential travel.

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)