Belgium Travel Advice, Embassies & Tourist Offices

Travel Advice

Coronavirus health information

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Belgium on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Belgium.

Returning to the UK

Travelling from and returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. Belgian authorities are likely to conduct calls to check you are quarantining. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • make arrangements to quarantine at your hotel or the place you were staying (rules for what you can and cannot do during quarantine are found on the Belgian government’s website under ‘What should I do?’)
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Public spaces and services

The Belgian Government has significantly eased COVID-19 restrictions. However, wearing a face mask remains mandatory on public transport and in healthcare facilities for those above 12 years old.

Accommodation

All types of accommodation are permitted to open subject to compliance with general rules related to COVID-19. Details are available on the Belgian Government website. Check with your accommodation provider for further information.

Healthcare in Belgium

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should follow the guidelines set out by the Belgian Government.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Belgium

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Belgium

We will update this page when the Government of Belgium announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Belgium national vaccine programme started in January 2021 and is using the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccines. The Government of Belgium has stated that British nationals resident in Belgium are eligible for vaccination if they choose to join the programme. Further information on vaccinations can be found on the Belgian government COVID-19 vaccination website.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Belgium, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in Belgium, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

Check the guidance published by the Belgian Government if you require any additional information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations often take place in Brussels, including around transport hubs and the Schuman area. While the vast majority of demonstrations are peaceful, there is a risk of isolated incidents of unrest or violence. If you’re in and around areas where demonstrations are taking place, remain vigilant and move away quickly if there are signs of disorder.

Some demonstrations can affect access to the British Embassy and the British Consulate General and cause travel disruption in central Brussels. For regular updates on any disruption, you can check local news, the Belgian Railways website (train and metro travel) and the HERE map website (road travel).

Crime

Petty crime rates are similar to the UK, but on the increase. You should take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.

Take only the minimum amount of cash, credit cards and personal ID necessary when you go out. As far as possible leave jewellery, other valuables and documents in a secure place like a hotel safe. Avoid carrying money, bank/credit cards and your passport in the same bag or pocket. Leave a photocopy of your passport and itinerary with a contact in the UK. Enter next-of-kin details into the back of your passport.

In the event of theft, contact the nearest police station and get a police report. If you lose your passport, you should also contact the British Embassy in Brussels. If you have difficulty reporting the theft of your cards to your UK card issuer, you can ask the Belgian group ‘Card Stop’ (telephone: +32 (0) 70 344 344) to send a fax to your UK card company to block your card. Alternatively, if you have Belgian issued bank/credit cards, Card Stop will be able to block them.

Be vigilant and take extra care in major railway stations, and on public transport, particularly late at night. Thieves and muggers operate around the Brussels Gare du Midi/Zuidstation (Eurostar terminal), Gare du Nord and Schuman (the EU quarter). Pickpockets also operate on international trains, mainly Paris-Brussels and Amsterdam-Brussels.

Never leave luggage unattended. There have been reports of luggage being stolen from the racks at the end of carriages in high-speed trains (TGV and Thalys), usually just before the doors close.

If you travel by taxi, use official, licensed taxis or a pre-booked minicab. We recommend that you avoid hailing taxis on the street, and do not use taxis that stop but were not specifically hailed.

Do not leave valuable items visible in your car, even when you are in it. Keep car doors locked and windows secure at all times. It is increasingly common for thieves, usually on motorbikes, to break a window and snatch valuables from the front or back passenger seat when the vehicle is stationary at traffic lights. Car jacking, especially of up-market vehicles, remains a risk. 

Local travel

When visiting former WW1 battlefields in North West Belgium, stay on the footpath and exercise caution if you see anything that looks like shells or munitions. Unexploded shells have recently been uncovered. Move away from the site and call the police emergency number 112 to report any incidents.

Road travel

Traffic is fast and Belgium’s accident rate is high mainly due to speeding. In 2019 there were 646 road deaths in Belgium (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 5.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

If you are planning to drive in Belgium, see information on Driving Abroad.

Licences and documents

When driving in Belgium, always have:

  • your driving licence
  • your car papers
  • your insurance paper
  • your MOT or ‘contrôle technique’ certificate
  • your passport or ID and those of your passengers

If you’re driving a vehicle that does not belong to you then written permission from the registered owner may also be required.

If you’re living in Belgium, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.

Driving a British car abroad

You may need a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. From 28 September 2021 UK stickers have replaced GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK.

Low emission zones

There are low emission zones in Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp. You can find more information on the Brussels Low Emission Zone website, Ghent Low Emission Zone website and Antwerp Low Emission Zone website.

Driving regulations

Speed traps, cameras and unmarked vehicles are in operation throughout the country.

Drivers must give absolute priority to vehicles joining a road from the right, even if they have stopped at a road junction or stopped for pedestrians or cyclists. Exemptions to this rule include motorways, roundabouts, roads sign-posted with an orange diamond within a white background, and drivers who are attempting to join a road after having driven down a street in the wrong direction.

Trams have priority over other traffic. If a tram or bus stops in the middle of the road to allow passengers on or off, you must stop.

There is a speed restriction of 30 km/h in school areas, which is operational 24 hours (even when schools are closed), unless indicated otherwise. The start and finish of these zones are not always clearly marked.

Fines have increased dramatically (up to €2,750 for exceeding the speed limit by 40 km/h and a possible court appearance for exceeding the speed limit by more than 40km/h). If you are unable to pay an on the spot fine your vehicles may be impounded.

Don’t drink and drive; frequent alcohol checks are made. Less than 0.05% alcohol in the bloodstream is allowed (a lower level than in the UK). A blood sample will be taken if you refuse to be breathalysed. Fines are heavy depending on the degree of intoxication and range from €1,100 to €11,000. In certain cases driving licences have been confiscated immediately.

Using a mobile phone while driving is not allowed; the use of ‘hands free’ equipment is allowed.

Information on road travel (in French) can be found on the website of Le Soir.

See the European Commission, AA and RAC guides on driving in Belgium.

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Belgium.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

Attacks could happen anywhere, including on public transport and transport hubs and in other places visited by foreigners. You should be vigilant in public places and follow the advice of local Belgian authorities.

There have been a number of high profile terrorist attacks across Belgium. The main threat is from extremists linked to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL). Previous incidents include attacks against civilians and security forces.

  • On 29 May 2018, 2 police officers and a passer-by were killed in a shooting in the city of Liège in a suspected terrorist incident.
  • On 22 March 2016 co-ordinated terrorist attacks killed 32 and injured hundreds more at Brussels Zaventem airport and on the metro system.

In 2019, the Belgian authorities successfully disrupted various attack planning activities and made a number of arrests.

Brussels hosts a number of international institutions (EU and NATO) and government and foreign embassy buildings which are sensitive locations.

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

According to Belgian law, you must have some form of identification with you at all times.

Possession of drugs and trafficking in drugs are serious offences.

It’s illegal to wear in public places (parks, buildings, public transport, on the street etc.) clothing that hides a person’s face largely or completely. People wearing such clothing (e.g. the burka and nikab) risk a fine of up to €137.50 and/or detention for up to 7 days. There’s no exemption for tourists.

Taking food and drink into Belgium

You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.

This page has information on travelling to Belgium. Check what you must do to return to the UK.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Belgium set and enforce entry rules.

If you’re fully vaccinated

If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter Belgium from the UK if you

  • complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), unless you fall under a very limited list of exemptions listed on the Belgian government website (under the Transport and International section)

To qualify as fully vaccinated at least 14 days must have passed since your second dose of a vaccine approved for use by Belgium, and no more than 270 days must have passed since your second dose unless you have received a booster or third dose. Further information can be found on the Belgian government’s website (section travels).

Travellers who are not coming to Belgium via a carrier (for example, those travelling by car via France ) and who will be staying in Belgium for a maximum of 48 hours, do not need to fill in a PLF. You should continue to follow the guidance for any country which you will be travelling through.

Further information can be found on the Belgian government’s website (section travels)

Proof of vaccination status

Belgian authorities will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies. These must include a verifiable QR code. Your final vaccine dose must have been administered 14 days prior to travel. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status. In line with EU recommendations, a second dose of vaccine (or sole dose in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) must have been administered less than 270 days ago for incoming travellers to qualify as fully vaccinated. Those who have had a booster shot still qualify as fully vaccinated.

If you’re not fully vaccinated

If you are aged 12 or over and fall under this category you can only enter Belgium if you can produce either a recovery or negative test certificate. Additionally, in the absence of a recovery certificate, if you are aged 18 or older you can only enter Belgium for essential reasons. Please see ‘children and young people’ section below for the rules for children aged 12-17. In most cases this will require a traveller to obtain an Essential Travel Certificate from the Belgian Embassy in London. An Essential Travel Certificate is not required if you carry official documents that can prove the essential nature of your journey. A recovery certificate is valid for 180 days, a PCR test 72 hours, whilst a RAT test is valid for 24 hours. You must complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), unless you fall under an exemption listed on the Belgian government website (under the Transport and International section).

Further information can be found on the Belgian government’s website (section travels).

Residents of Belgium

If you have Belgian residency and cannot produce either a vaccination/recovery or negative test certificate you will need to take a day 1 PCR test or RAT if you return from a third country not on the white list or from a EU country coloured dark-red.

Children and young people

Children under 12, even if not fully vaccinated, do not need to be tested either before departure or on arrival, but must follow the quarantine rules applicable to the adult with whom they are travelling. All children aged 12 to 17 need either a vaccination, recovery or negative test certificate. Unvaccinated children and young people under 18 and who do not have a recovery certificate can travel with their parent(s), 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. In the case of an attendant, written travel consent by the parent or guardian is required. Children under 18 who travel alone or are not accompanied by parent(s) or guardian need an Essential Travel Certificate.

If you’re transiting through Belgium

Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination. Travellers visiting Belgium for less than 48 hours do not need to present evidence of vaccination or a recovery or negative test certificate unless arriving from a country with a new Variant of Concern (VOC).

Transit passengers arriving by air, will need to demonstrate they are able to meet the requirements applicable in their country of final destination.

Exemptions

Belgium allows a limited number of tightly defined exemptions from testing, quarantine or from other restrictions on travel. More information can be found on the Belgian government`s website.

HGV drivers

HGV drivers from the UK entering Belgium do not have to show a negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery and do not have to quarantine.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.

Your passport must be:

  • Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.

Contact the embassy of the country you are visiting if you think that your passport does not meet both these requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

Visas

You can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training

If you are travelling to Belgium and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.

To stay longer, to work or study, for business or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Belgian government’s entry requirements. Check with the Belgian Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit, you may need.

If you are travelling to Belgium for work, read the guidance on visas and permits.

If you stay in Belgium with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

Passport stamping

Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through Belgium as a visitor. Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.

You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.

You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay

If you are resident in Belgium, read our Living in Belgium guide for passport stamping information.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Belgium.

Returning to the UK

Check what you must do to return to the UK.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Belgium on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Belgium.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate
of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Healthcare

You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.

The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Belgian nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.

Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

If you’re living in Belgium, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Belgium guide.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

If you need to consult a medical practitioner, other than for emergency treatment, you may wish to check our advice on how best to do so here. You will be prescribed medication, if needed, which you can then purchase from any pharmacy on presentation of your prescription. You may be asked to provide ID. A Medical consultations and prescriptions will attach a fee which may be recovered through your insurance/medical assistance.

The currency of Belgium is the Euro.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.