In light of the Covid-19 travel restrictions towards the UK, Belgian citizens should consult the travel advice IN DUTCH or IN FRENCH
Please check this information regularly before your trip - the rules may change at any time, often at very short notice.
There is no longer any communication on our Foreign Affairs website about the color codes (map / table) Since 1 February, all information about this has been replaced by a referral to the website of the FPS Public Health, info-coronavirus.be, which from now on takes care of the communication in that regard.
The page www.info-coronavirus.be/en/travels/ refers for the color codes directly to https://reopen.europa.eu with:
- the map of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), available in 24 languages and
- the countries of the European “white list” - for which travel restrictions have been lifted - listed under the ECDC card.
Via "Select a country", the traveler can also consult more detailed information in text form. More information about the colors used on the map (green, orange, red or gray) can be found by clicking on the yellow bar "What is the meaning of the colors on the map".
On the website www.infocoronavirus.be under the title 'Measures for travel to and from abroad' you can find an overview of the applicable rules, split up - in accordance with the Decree of January 26th depending on whether or not one lives in Belgium etc.
- https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/travels/ Here the traveler can find an overview of the applicable rules, split up - in accordance with the Decree of January 26th - depending on whether or not one lives in Belgium. And more importantly for us this applies to persons having the nationality or the main residence in a country of the EU or the Schengen zone, as well as to persons having their main residence in a third country listed on this website.
- https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/travels-outside-eu-schengen/ If you are not a national of the EU, or of a country that is not part of the Schengen Area, and you live in a country that is not on this list,
Certificate of essential travel
- The principle remains that the traveler needs to collect and carry all personal documents, proving the essential character (see lists) of the journey
- Only exceptionally, if the traveler cannot provide such documents, can they send us a request and a decision will be taken whether or not the certificate can be issued.
For any questions regarding the Passenger Locator Form, the sworn statement and the COVID-19 test and the quarantine obligation in Belgium, travelers should check the website www.info-coronavirus.be/en/ or contact the FPS Public Health
- Covid-19 – Can I travel from the UK to Belgium ?
From 1 January the UK will be subject to the recommendation of the Council regarding external travel restrictions, a system that only allows non-essential EU travel from a handful of non-EU countries. The countries which are currently on the exempt list typically have a very low number of Covid-19 cases, which is not the case in the UK. Therefore, if the UK does not get added to the exempt list, all non-essential travel from the UK to Belgium will not be allowed from 01/01/2021.
The three main websites where you can check the situation are https://www.info-coronavirus.be/nl/faq/ and https://diplomatie.belgium.be/nl and https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/services/travel_to_belgium.
- Travel documents – Can I travel to the UK with an ID card ?
A valid passport or identity card (ID) is sufficient as a travel document in order to get access to UK territory, even after 31/12/2020. Until 30 September 2021, a Belgian identity card is sufficient to travel to the UK for a stay of less than 6 months. From 1 October 2021, a passport will be mandatory, even for short stays.
Please note that only holders of (pre-)settled status can continue to use their ID card to travel between the EU and the UK until 31 December 2025. For more information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visiting-the-uk-after-brexit.
- Freight traffic from the EU to the UK - What changes from 1 January 2021 ?
On January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom will leave the European single market and the customs union. Consequently, from then onwards there will be border and customs controls on goods at every border crossing between the EU and the UK, in ports, airports, and at the Channel Tunnel. That will also be the case if a treaty between the UK and the EU can be applied that provides for free trade (no tariffs or quotas).
The United Kingdom will introduce border controls in phases for all freight traffic entering the country from the EU. You can consult the specific import requirements in terms of documentation and controls for your sector / cargo via the Border Operating Model (link) of the British authorities. Below is a brief summary of this phased approach. (Note: Please also check which export requirements will apply from 1/1/2021 to export from the EU).
- From January 1, 2021: all basic customs requirements will enter into force, but companies will have until July 1, 2021 to submit customs declarations and make payments (excluding transit traffic). Physical checks of the goods will take place sporadically at the place of destination.
- From April 2021: a pre-notification will have to be made for all animal products and regulated plant products and these products will have to be accompanied by the necessary documentation.
- From July 2021: full customs declarations are required at the border post and payments must be made. Entry safety and security declarations become mandatory. Goods subject to sanitary and phytosanitary controls (SPS) will have to be declared at the border and may be subject to checks at the border or inland sites.
It is the responsibility of the importing company and carrier to ensure that the necessary formalities are met. The Belgian embassy in the United Kingdom does not have the authority to intervene or remedy this in any way.
- Freight traffic from the UK to the EU – What changes from 1 January 2021 ?
From 1 January 2021, all formalities will have to be fulfilled for goods entering the EU from the UK. There will be no phased approach for goods entering the EU from the UK, both through ports and through the Eurotunnel. The Border Operating Model (link) includes all the necessary British documents required to export from the UK such as export summary declarations, customs declarations and safety and security declarations. (Note: also check which documents are required from 1/1/2021 for import into the EU).
- Ensure all necessary formalities have been completed and you have all the necessary documents with you for a border or customs check. For road transport exceeding 7.5 tons: consult the web platform Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border via this link.
- If you are driving via the county of Kent (crossing via Dover or Folkestone): make sure you have the Kent Access Permit which you can obtain after you have received the green light following an application via the web platform Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border.
- Make sure you have your ID card to hand. Until 30 September 2021, a Belgian identity card is sufficient as a valid UK identity document. From 1 October 2021, you will need an international passport. In some exceptional cases (e.g. with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or with a frontier worker’s permit) you can continue to use your Belgian identity card until at least December 31, 2025 (link).
- In principle, a Belgian driving license will remain valid in the UK, even after January 1, 2021. Depending on where your vehicle is insured, you must, however, have a green card or other proof of insurance (link).
- Closely Check the traffic situation via the UK media before your departure and during the journey.
It is the responsibility of the exporting company and carrier to ensure that the necessary formalities are met. The Belgian embassy in the United Kingdom does not have the authority to intervene or remedy this in any way.
- Driving license and insurance – Is my Belgian driving license sufficient to drive in the UK? What about car insurance for traveling in the EU ?
After 31 December 2021, a Belgian driving license will remain sufficient to legally drive a vehicle on British roads. For more information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visiting-the-uk-after-brexit. For vehicles registered in the UK, the driver needs to have a green card as proof of insurance when traveling within the EU from 1 January 2021. For more information: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021.
- « EU settlement scheme » – What do I need to do to stay legally in the UK after 31/12/2020 ?
As a result of Brexit, EU citizens (including students and minors) already resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 need to apply for a British residence permit: pre-settled status (less than 5 years of continuous residence) or settled status (continuous residence of 5 years or more). The « EU settlement scheme » was set up for this purpose. You have until 30 June 2021 to register. For more information: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families.
- New immigration system – What changes for people who arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021 ?
From 1 January 2021, European tourists can stay in the UK for a maximum period of 6 months without a visa. If you arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020 and you plan to stay in the UK for more than 6 months or you plan to come to the UK to work or study (even if it is for less than 6 months for these last 2 categories), you will need a visa unless you hold or are eligible for (pre )settled status. For more information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know.
- Contact details – Who can I contact for more information on Brexit and EU citizens’ rights ?
You will find extensive information on EU citizens’ rights in the context of Brexit if you follow the link https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/brexit and a list of FAQ is also available on https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/brexit/faq.
If, after consulting these sites, you have further questions regarding EU citizens’ rights in the UK, please dial the following number: +44 (0)7423001276.
- Who do I turn to for emergencies during the Christmas season ?
During the festive season (check here for the embassy’s opening times), the embassy of Belgium remains open for consular emergencies. Outside office hours, you can call the following number: +44 (0) 7710703639 only for Belgian citizens in an emergency situation, only in use out of office hours, no visa information.
The Chancellery of the Prime Minister published the renewed portal site "Brexit". This site directs citizens to the appropriate government services https://www.belgium.be/en/brexit
Communication from the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs: Rights of Belgian citizens in the context of Brexit
On 17 October 2019, a new agreement was concluded between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom on an orderly exit of the United Kingdom from the EU. The agreement was ratified and entered into force on 1 February 2020. Since that date, the United Kingdom is no longer part of the EU.
On 1 February 2020 the transition period has officially commenced. This period will normally run until 31 December 2020, but it might be extended by one or two years. Notwithstanding the fact that the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the EU, it will remain bound by EU rules during this period but it will no longer be present in the European institutions. Everything else stays the same. EU citizens and Brits can travel, live and work in the exact same conditions as before. After this period, EU citizens and Brits who settled in the UK or EU before 31 december 2020 and registered themselves in time will largely retain the same rights. This has been agreed upon in the withdrawal agreement.
During this period, the EU and the United Kingdom will negotiate the future framework for their relations. When there is more info on this, we will update you.
Given the current developments surrounding Brexit, the information on this website is susceptible to change in light of political events. This information does not constitute legal advice. Neither the FPS Foreign Affairs nor the Belgian Embassy in London are in a position to provide such advice.
© Tom D'Haenens
I hope that you enjoy our website - a portal into Belgium's presence in the UK.
Are you a Belgian citizen living in the United Kingdom or thinking of moving to the UK? Please register with the Embassy in London. Our consular services provide information about how to register, apply for identity cards and passports. Please note that since October 2011, Belgians residing in the UK have to book an appointment and come in person to the Embassy in London to apply for a new passport.
You are interested in travelling to Belgium or would like to study, work or do business there, please check the Travel to Belgium section. If you need a visa, an easy and quick application is available via the ‘Visa Application Centre’. Details can be found on https://be.tlscontact.com/gb/LON/index.php.
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