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Belgium

Follow us on Twitter for the latest travel advice alerts and information on events at the Embassy of Ireland in Brussels, and consider obtaining a Passport Card before you visit. Belgian Police have the right to ask you to present photographic identification.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • FAQs Passports / Visas
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

Security status

High Degree of Caution

Security Status Last Updated:  22 October 2020

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 is still a threat, but with continued public health measures, vaccination and testing, it will be possible to travel internationally. You will need to plan your travel carefully and there are risks.

Travel to Belgium from Ireland

Passenger Locator Form (PLF) must be completed no more than 48 hours in advance of arrival in Belgium from any other country by those arriving by plane or boat, regardless of the length of their stay in Belgium.  A PLF must also be completed by all persons travelling to Belgium by train or bus from a country outside the EU or Schengen area (including the UK). Visitors must carry proof of having completed the passenger locator form for 48 hours following arrival. More information on the PLF is available here.

Check the colour classification of the Irish (or EU/Schengen) region you are travelling from on the Belgian Health Ministry website prior to travel (updated weekly on Sundays).

Belgium commenced use of the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC) on 1 July 2021.

Arriving from an orange or green region

Passengers arriving from green or orange regions, with or without an EU-DCC, are not subject to testing or quarantine requirements.

If the region you are travelling from was a red region at any point in the 14 days prior to travel, you may receive a text message following completion of your PLF instructing you to test/quarantine following arrival.

Arriving from an EU red region

Passengers arriving from an EU red region, and holding an EU-DCC, are exempted from testing and quarantine requirements if their EU-DCC contains either:

  • A certificate of full vaccination (For Belgium, a person is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the second dose of a two dose vaccine, or 14 days after a single dose of a single dose vaccine)
  • pre-departure PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to arrival. Belgian residents (i.e. holders of a Belgian residence card) can replace the pre-departure PCR test with a PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival,
  • A certificate of recovery from COVID-19 (valid between 11 and 180 days from the date of a positive PCR test)

If you do not have an EU-DCC (based on a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test or a recovery certificate), you need a negative PCR test result from a test taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to arrival if you do not reside in Belgium. If you are resident in Belgium (i.e. you have a Belgian residence card), you may test on day 1 or 2 following arrival and remain in quarantine until receiving a negative result. Children under 12 are exempt from testing.

Travel to Belgium from outside the EU/Schengen Area

For information on travel to Belgium from a non-EU/Schengen country (not included in Belgium’s “very high-risk” list – see below), consult the Belgian Health Ministry website.

Travel to Belgium from “very high-risk” countries

A ban on travel to Belgium is in place from non-EU states deemed a “very high risk” by Belgian authorities due to the presence of variants of concern.

Travel from these countries (listed here), either directly or indirectly, is not permitted. This also applies to people who have been in the listed countries at any point in the 14 days prior to travel and those fully vaccinated. Details on the limited exceptions to the travel ban and the public health measures applying to those who are exempt from the ban are available here.

COVID-19

Restrictions are in place throughout Belgium, and you are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities. Please refer to the Belgian Health Ministry for information about national restrictions and be aware that additional public health measures may be in place at local level.

Additional advice and information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

Belgian Health Ministry advice on COVID-19 (NL | FR | EN)

Public Health Passenger Locator Form Belgium

Map of testing centres in Belgium

Finding a GP in Belgium

Brussels Airport

Charleroi Airport

Belgian Government COVID-19 tracing app Coronalert

General Travel Advice

Any Irish citizens in Brussels are advised to remain vigilant and exercise a high degree of caution. Please consult the “Safety and Security” tab or further information.

Irish citizens in Belgium are reminded that they should be in possession of a valid form of photographic identification such as a passport or passport card at all times.

Keep yourself fully informed of what is going on by monitoring local news and social media and follow the instructions of the local authorities. Follow us on social media @IrishEmbBelgium and @DFATravelWise to make sure you have access to all relevant updates and alerts. You can also stay up-to-date in the event of a crisis by following @CrisisCenterBE and @BelPoliceEvent.

You can contact the emergency services in Belgium by dialling 112. 

Travel to Ireland

Up to date information on travelling to Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on gov.ie and Re-open EU.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, including in Belgium, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists.

Following terrorism attacks in Brussels in 2016 security measures were reinforced and the public have been advised to exercise a higher level of vigilance.

In January 2018, the Belgian authorities reduced the threat level from Level 3 to Level 2. Level 2 represents an "unlikely" threat. This drop implies that the threat level has decreased and an attack has become less likely. However, Level 2 does not mean no threat exists. The move has seen a reduction in the number of army personnel patrolling the streets and a reduced security presence at large events.

We advise Irish citizens to maintain an awareness of their surroundings, remain vigilant and in the event of a security incident to follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Belgium but you should take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible

Petty theft

As with any country, crimes such as mugging, bag-snatching and pickpocketing are not uncommon in Belgian cities and towns. You should always be vigilant at major railway stations, on the metro, buses and trams.

We advise Irish citizens to be particularly vigilant of your belongings following a noticeable increase in reports of theft in the following areas of Brussels:

  • Brussels South Station (Gare du Midi/Zuidstation), which is the Eurostar terminal and the terminus for buses from Charleroi Airport
  • European Quarter/Schuman area (particularly in bars and cafes near Schuman Roundabout and Place Jourdan)

We also advise you to exercise caution in the following areas:

  • Brussels North Station (Gare du Nord/Noordstation)
  • Brussels Central Station (Gare Centrale/Centraalstation)
  • Buses and trains serving Brussels Zaventem Airport
  • Areas with a large density of tourists, such as the Grand Place in Brussels and areas in the vicinity of Grand Place.
  • Public Squares in popular tourist destinations, such as Ghent and Bruges

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Belgium, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Brussels if you need help.

Pedestrians

Pedestrians should be aware that ‘the green man’ signal does not mean that cars will automatically stop. Also, many of the zebra crossings are not accompanied by light systems. The custom is that the motorist should stop to allow any pedestrian cross at the zebra crossing as and when they choose to use the zebra crossing. Be careful in all cases and at all times as some motorists will be more vigilant than others.

Driving

If you want to drive in Belgium:

  • Bring your full Irish driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught.
  • Be aware that on-the-spot fines can be incurred for motoring offences. If you are unable to pay the fine, your vehicle may be impounded.
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights.
  • Be aware of low emissions zones prohibiting certain types of vehicles from specific urban areas. Further information is available on the Urban Access Regulations website where you can search by city.

More tips and driving advice for Belgium is available from AA Ireland.

 

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Photo Identification

Visitors to Belgium must at all times be able to produce photo identification.

The Passport Card is available to all Irish citizens who hold a valid Irish Passport. It can be used for travel within the EU/EEA and Switzerland.

Travelling with Children

While there are no laws prohibiting the travel of a minor with only one parent or guardian, it should be noted that border control authorities pay particular attention to minors travelling under these circumstances. To avoid difficulties, we suggest that the accompanying parent carry a copy of the minor's birth certificate, a signed permission letter and passport/ID for the non-accompanying parent.

Health

Health

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

European Health Insurance Card

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.

Apply for your EHIC and find out more information.

The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.

FAQs Passports / Visas

FAQs Passports/Visas

Frequently Asked Questions on Passports and Visas

 

Q. My passport is lost or stolen. What should I do?

  • Check again! Search your bags, pockets, safes, and suitcases. Check the clothes you were wearing when you last had your passport. Once your passport is reported lost, it can't be used again even if found.
  • You should report your passport lost/stolen at the nearest police station. A police report will be needed for a replacement travel document and to make a claim on your travel insurance.
  • Further guidance on what to do if your passport is lost/stolen is available on our website.
  • During office hours call +32 2282 3400 to make arrangements for the issuing of emergency travel documents.
  • Outside of office hours, if you are in an emergency situation requiring urgent travel, contact the Embassy Duty Officer on +32 499 585 328 and leave a voicemail (including a phone number).

Q. Can you email or deliver a new travel document to me?

No.

Q. I always carry my passport on nights out as proof of my age. Is that ok?

  • Carrying a photo ID is mandatory in Belgium at all times. Your passport is an important document and should always be kept safe. Don't carry it with you unless absolutely necessary.
  • The Embassy strongly recommends obtaining the Passport Card prior to travel. 

Q. My passport has become damaged over time. Is that ok?

  • Normal wear or fading of the lettering on the cover should not be a problem. However if there is any damage or signs of tampering such as missing pages, or cracks on the photo page, this may cause problems at Belgian airports.
  • If you are encountering problems because of a damaged passport, you should replace your passport online, or at the Passport Office in Dublin or Cork before leaving Ireland.

Entry and exit

  • Irish citizens do not need a visa to enter Belgium. A valid passport for the duration of your stay is all that is required.

Any other tips?

  • Leave a copy of your passport in your hotel or email yourself a copy in case you lose it.
  • Plan ahead and check your passport expiry date before you book your holidays. Check your children's passports too as they expire more quickly than adult ones. You can sign up for a passport renewal reminder online.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Please note that if you are an Irish citizen and require urgent assistance while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number, + 32 499 58 53 28, and leave a message on the Duty Officer voice mailbox.

This mailbox will be monitored regularly.

Embassy of Ireland to Belguim,
50 Rue Froissart/Froissartstraat,
B-1040 Brussels,
Belgium

Tel: +322 282 3400
Fax: +353 1 4705498

Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 10:00 - 13:00 and 14:00 - 16:00; Tuesday & Thursday: 10:00 - 13:00 ONLY

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Yves Rombouts
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Veldkantvoetweg 82
2540 Hove
Antwerpen
Belgium

Tel: + 32 474 99 56 66

Email: Email us