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, BAHRAIN, CANADA, CHILI, JAPAN, JORDAN, KUWAIT, NEW ZEALAND, QATAR, RWANDA, SAUDI ARABIA, SINGAPORE, SOUTH KOREA, UKRAINE, 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. (Entry into force 24.06.2021)

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 ministerial decree of 28.10.2020, 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.

As of 06.08.2021 concerning the entry ban: currently there are no third 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.

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 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 traveller has a vaccination certificate which meets all the conditions described in the section entitled "Vaccination certificate" below
  • The traveller is a child under 18 year who travels with an attendant and this attendant is in possession of a vaccination certificate.

 

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

Vaccination certificate means:

  1. An EU Digital Covid Certificate issued by an EU Member State, as referred to in the Regulation (EU) 2021/953 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2021 on a framework for the issuing, verification and acceptance of interoperable COVID-19 vaccination certificates, test certificates and recovery certificates.
     
  2. A vaccination certificate issued by a non-EU third country, considered as equivalent by the European Commission on the basis of the implementing acts or by Belgium on the basis of bilateral agreements, proving 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 the vaccine is listed on the website https://www.infocoronavirus.be/en/ of the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment.

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 showing that all doses of a vaccine against the SARS-Cov-2 virus mentioned on the website "https://www.infocoronavirus.be/en/" of the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment have been administered for at least two weeks;
  • the brand name and the name of the manufacturer or the marketing authorisation holder of each vaccine administered
  • the date of administration of each dose of the vaccine that has been administered;
  • the name of the country where the vaccine was administered;
  • the issuer of the certificate of vaccination with his signature, stamp or a digitally readable unique certificate identification code;

Currently on 01.09.2021 the following vaccinations are recognized:

Producer

Brand name vaccin

Pfizer/BioNTech

Cominarty

Moderna

Spikevax

AstraZeneca/Oxford

Vaxzevria and Covishield

Johnson and Johnson

Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen

 

 

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.

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

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 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, including having a prior PCR test from a red zone

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.

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.

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 countries classified as very high risk 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.

Test Certificate: an EU Digital COVID certificate or another certificate in Dutch, French, German or English, which indicates that a NAAT test (=PCR test) with a negative result was carried out in an official laboratory not more than 72 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.

All travellers aged 12 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 recognised vaccination, test or recovery certificate. 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 page with colour codes can be found here: Colour codes for each country | Coronavirus COVID-19 (info-coronavirus.be).

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,
  • 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 vaccination, test or recovery certificate. These persons must have a confirmed connection ticket. If such a certificate 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.

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 or a recovery 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) or a recovery certificate 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)