Embassy and Consulates of Belgium in the United States
Home News Update Regarding the COVID-19 VIRUS

Update Regarding the COVID-19 VIRUS

Date: 
05 August 2020

 

PLEASE FIND A LIST WITH ANSWERS TO FAQ'S CONCERNING COVID-19 BY CLICKING THE FOLLOWING LINK.

----------------------

UPDATE AUGUST 5TH

Starting today, the Belgian Embassy and Consulates General in the United States will resume issuing long stay visa applications for the purpose of family reunification. Excluded until further notice are family members of persons with single permit approvals containing code B34 (unless already in the posession of a D-type visa / residence card for Belgium). 

----------------------

IMPORTANT!!!

From August, 1st, all persons returning to Belgium and all persons travelling through Belgium and who are staying at least 48 hours must fill out an identification form (Passenger Locator Form). You can find this form here.

----------------------

July 16th

Visa: gradual recovery

The European recommendation on the reopening of external borders was formally approved on 30 June 2020. Per July 31 EU has recommended to allow travelers from the following 12 different countries, namely Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay + China on condition of confirmation of reciprocity. However, until further notice, Belgium will not differentiate between these countries and the other countries outside the EU.

In addition, the list of travelers with an essential function or need who are allowed to travel despite the restrictions has been broadened to 3 categories:

  • EU citizens, citizens of Schengen associated countries and third-country nationals legally staying in the EU, as well as their respective family members*, whether they return home or not (short stay visits only);
  • Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of study; 
  • Highly qualified third-country workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad;

In practical terms, what is changing from 1 July 2020?

1) In the initial stage, and until further notice, Belgium will not differentiate between the 14 above-mentioned countries and the other countries. The Government must indeed develop the practical modalities for the partial reopening of borders. 

At the international level, it means that the visa activity is limited to the categories of travelers with an essential function or need (now including students and highly qualified third-country workers). However, the prerequisite for this recovery, is that the embassy and the consulate generals must be operational again.

2) The visa applications for the purpose of family reunification can be submitted again, but gradually and where possible. The prerequisite for this recovery is that the embassy and consulate generals must be operational again. The visas for the purpose of family reunification will however not be delivered until further notice.

THE BELGIAN CONSULAR MISSIONS IN THE UNITED STATES WILL START ACCEPTING VISA APPLICATIONS FOR THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES THAT ARE EXEMPT FROM THE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS, BY MAIL ONLY:

  • Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of study; 
  • Highly qualified third-country workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad (Single Permit holders with code B29 only).
  • Family members* of EU citizens, citizens of Schengen associated countries and third-country nationals: receipt and processing of D-type visas, but without issuance of visas until further notice. C-type visas for short stay visits, by mail unless the traveler has not applied for a Schengen visa during the last 5 years. If this is the case, please contact the consular mission you wish to visit to schedule an appointment.

* Family members (as defined in Articles 2(2) and 3(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC):

Articles 2(2), include:

(a) the spouse;

(b) the partner with whom the Union citizen has contracted a registered partnership, on the basis of the legislation of a Member State, if the legislation of the host Member State treats registered partnerships as equivalent to marriage and in accordance with the conditions laid down in the relevant legislation of the host Member State;

(c) the direct descendants who are under the age of 21 or are dependents and those of the spouse or partner as defined in point (b);

(d) the dependent direct relatives in the ascending line and those of the spouse or partner as defined in point (b);

 

GOOD TO KNOW:

Travelers from third countries must in take into account the current sanitary measures in Belgium, including a 14-day quarantine. On the other hand, these travellers will have to fill in the following document before they board: PASSENGER LOCATOR FORM. This document, once completed, will be considered a condition for entry.

More information on this is available on the Corona website of the government (www.info-coronavirus.be).

 

Guidelines for Consular Visits

To protect your and other visitors’ health, the Embassy and Consulate Generals in the United States are strictly allowing visits by appointment only.  We ask visitors who have an appointment to:

  1. Not visit us if you or your family members have COVID-19 symptoms or had symptoms in the two weeks before the appointment:
    1. A body temperature of more than 37,5 °C (= 99,5 °F). Please check your body temperature right before coming.
    2. A cough
    3. Breathing difficulties and/or pain in your chest 
  2. Come alone. We will only allow one person at the time in the waiting room (or one child with an accompanying adult).
  3. Wash your hands for one full minute before entering our buildings or rinse with the provided hand-sanitizer.
  4. Wear a face mask.
  5. Bring your own pen, in order to minimize the risk of contagion.

We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

 

Follow Local Guidelines 

With the current stay at home measures in place in DC since 25/03, and renewed on 15/4, we remind you to avoid any non-essential journeys outside your home.

While our Embassies, Consulate Generals and the call center in Brussels are ready to assist Belgian nationals, it is also important that Belgian residents in the U.S. take their own responsibility.  As the situation is rapidly evolving, we recommend following the guidelines of: 

 

Travel

As part of the coronavirus crisis, the Belgian government has decided to PROHIBIT all non-essential travel outside the EU until further notice. The National Security Council will assess this ban in due course. Due to the COVID-19, the United States prohibits access to its territory to all foreigners who have stayed during the 14 days preceding their trip to the United States:

  • in one of the 26 Schengen countries, including Belgium
  • in the United Kingdom and Ireland (ban in place since Tuesday 17/03 at 5 AM GMT + 1 (Monday 16/03 at 23:59 PM EST)
  • in China, Iran, or Brazil

All travel abroad is formally discouraged and all tourists/travelers are advised to return to Belgium as quickly as possible. 

Belgian travelers wishing to return to Belgium:

  • Please check first the availability of the usual commercial routes and contact your tour operator, travel agent or airline.
  • For travel information to and from the US, please click here (NL) or here (FR).
  • For flights chartered by a country other than Belgium within the framework of the European Union civil protection mechanism, note that the number of places available for Belgian citizens is the exclusive jurisdiction of the State which chartered the flight. If there are not enough spaces to bring back all concerned Belgians, priority is given to the most vulnerable compatriots (health, serious conditions) or those who travel with very young children.

For Belgians who are temporarily stranded abroad, we are by your side and will do our best to find a solution. The following is a list of additional resources that has been put forth by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

  • All tourists abroad should register themselves at the Travellers-Online website and provide an update when back in Belgium;
  • In case of emergencies, the Ministry is providing assistance 24/7 via phone + 32 (0)2 501 4000, via their Facebook page, or through direct message on Twitter;
  • All over the world, Belgian expatriates share their advice and temporary solutions on Facebook group pages: FR pageNL pageDE page.

It is also important that our citizens take responsibility and follow the instructions of the competent local authorities closely (see above). In these highly exceptional circumstances, even the resources of the Belgian Embassies are limited.

 

Back in Belgium

Upon their return to Belgium, Belgian nationals, people with their main residence in Belgium and long-term residents are asked to comply with two conditions:

  • The person must remain in isolation at home for 14 days; AND
  • The person is prohibited from working outside for 14 days (even if s/he works in an essential sector); teleworking is still allowed.

 

Please check back often as this page is regularly updated.