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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

Latest Travel Alert

Anyone considering travel should be aware that restrictions are subject to change at short notice, and all passengers should undertake proper research and carefully consider the necessity of their travel at this time. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. It is also important to check with your travel insurance provider on coverage before travel.

If considering travelling abroad, you are advised to monitor the official advice and information provided by the authorities at your destination. Information about entry restrictions applied by other countries is available below. Additional restrictions may be imposed by the country of your destination, including during your visit.

Travel to Belgium

A  Passenger Locator Form (PLF) must be completed online in the 6 months prior to arrival in Belgium.  More information on the PLF is available here.

Check the colour classification of the location you are travelling from on the Belgian Health Ministry website prior to travel (updated weekly).

Arriving from an EU red region

Ireland is classified as an EU red region by Belgian authorities. Passengers arriving from an EU red region, and holding an EU Digital Covid Certificate (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)
  • A certificate of recovery from COVID-19 (valid between 11 and 180 days from the date of a positive PCR test)
  • A negative test result from a PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to arrival, or a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), taken by a professional, no more than 36 hours prior to arrival. Belgian residents (i.e. holders of a Belgian residence card) can replace the pre-departure test with a test taken on day 1 or 2 after arrival. If the day 1 or 2 test is negative, quarantine is not required (unless your destination is Brussels - see ‘Brussels specific measures’ below for more information).

Those arriving from an EU red region who do not have a vaccination or recovery certificate must take a second test (PCR or RAT) on day 7 following arrival.

If you do not have an EU-DCC, you need a negative PCR test result from a test taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to arrival, or a RAT taken by a professional no earlier than 36 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 following arrival and remain in quarantine until receiving a negative result. Children under 12 are exempt from testing.

Brussels specific measures for unvaccinated arrivals

Those arriving in Brussels from a red region (inside or outside the EU/Schengen) who are not fully vaccinated or do not hold a recovery certificate are required to quarantine on arrival for 10 days. Quarantine may end early following a negative test result after the day 7 test. This measure applies to residents and non-residents travelling to Brussels only and does not apply in Flanders and Wallonia.

Details on how to quarantine is available from the Belgian Health Ministry.

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.

Travel to Belgium from outside the EU/Schengen Area

Check the colour classification of the country you are travelling from on the Belgian Health Ministry website. Countries not listed (or categorised as ‘very high-risk’) are classified as ‘red regions’.

Different public health measures apply when arriving from a red region outside the EU than from red regions within the EU. For more information on travel to Belgium from a non-EU/Schengen country, consult the Belgian Health Ministry website.

An entry ban, with limited exceptions, applies to countries classified as ‘very high-risk’ (see 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.

COVID Safe Ticket

Entry to certain settings requires a ‘Covid Safe Ticket’ (CST) as proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative covid test result. The CST is required to enter bars, restaurants, nightclubs, fitness centres, and to attend certain indoor and outdoor events throughout Belgium.

The EU-DCC can be used as a CST in order to demonstrate that you are fully vaccinated or recovered.

For those who are not vaccinated or recovered, a CST can be obtained following a negative test result from a PCR test (valid for 48 hours) or from a Rapid Antigen Test (valid for 24 hours). Self-administered rapid tests are not accepted for obtaining a CST and tests must be performed by legally competent staff (e.g. medical doctor, pharmacist, test centre).

If you do not have an EU-DCC / CST, details of the steps to follow to obtain a negative test result to enter CST-required settings are available here.

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

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

Passenger Locator Form Belgium

Map of testing centres in Belgium

Pharmacists providing antigen tests (NL | FR)

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

 

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

Public Gatherings

Marches and demonstrations are common, particularly in Brussels, and often result in confrontation between demonstrators and police. We recommend that you avoid areas where large-scale demonstrations are taking place.

Always keep yourself informed of what is going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

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