Home News Update Regarding the COVID-19 VIRUS
Update Regarding the COVID-19 VIRUS
Date:27 August 2020
PLEASE FIND A LIST WITH ANSWERS TO FAQ'S CONCERNING COVID-19 BY CLICKING THE FOLLOWING LINK.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 24 2020
The exception for unmarried persons who wish to visit their partner in Belgium has been adjusted.
This exception is now subject to the conditions below. In concrete terms, you must demonstrate that you:
- have proof of co-habitation for at least 6 months (uninterrupted) prior to visa application (or intended date of departure for visa exempt partners) in Belgium or in another country), or;
- can demonstrate that, prior to the application, you have had an relationship for at least one year (this means that the partners must prove that they have met two times in the one year prior to the application and that these meetings totaled 20 days or more), or;
- have a common child with a Belgian (resident).
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 14
The Embassy and Consulates General of Belgium in the United States are now accepting visa applications for Au Pairs and Professional Cards. For information on how to apply, please visit the following WEBPAGE.
UPDATE AUGUST 27
As of September 1st, 2020 new modifications will go into effect with regards to exceptional entry into Belgium that extends to - amongst others - those persons that are in an actual partnership with someone residing in Belgium. Partners will have to prove that a durable and stable partner relationship is maintained.
Starting September 1st, the Embassy and Consulate Generals of Belgium in the United States can issue a letter allowing essential travel to those that are visa exempt (e.g. US nationals), or a short term visa to those nationals who require a visa to enter Belgium. Note that this issue relates to a short stay of maximum 90 days and under no circumstances relates to entry into Belgium with intent to reunite with family or with intent to marry or cohabitate, both of which are subject to other conditions.
This exception is subject to a number of conditions. In concrete terms, you must demonstrate that you:
- have proof of co-habitation for at least 1 year (uninterrupted) prior to visa application (or intended date of departure for visa exempt partners) in Belgium or in another country), or;
- can demonstrate that, prior to the application, you have had an relationship for at least two years (this means that the partners must prove that they have met three times in the two years prior to the application and that these meetings totaled 45 days or more), or;
- have a common child with a Belgian (resident).
UPDATE AUGUST 20
Starting today, holders of Single Permits with any type of single permit approval (as well as their respective family members) can apply for D-type visas to Belgium. This includes single permit approvals with code B34.
UPDATE AUGUST 17
TRAVELING TO BELGIUM
From June 15 2020, Belgium has opened its borders for non-essential travel to and from the EU, including the UK and the four other Schengen countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway).
As of July 1st, EU citizens, citizens of Schengen associated countries and third-country nationals legally staying in the EU, as well as their respective family members*, can travel to Belgium, whether they return home or not (short stay visits only).
Travelers from the US who are not in possession of a residence permit can only travel to Belgium from outside the EU based on an essential function or need; including healthcare professionals and 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 only).
The Belgian Embassy and Consulates General in the US are accepting visa applications that are exempt from the travel restrictions by mail only. C-type visas for short stay visits can be done 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.
Since August 5, Belgian consulates in the US have resumed processing 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 possession of a D-type visa / residence card for Belgium.
Travelers from the US must take into account the current sanitary measures in Belgium, including a 14-day quarantine. Travelers have to fill out a Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours before their arrival in Belgium. This online form, once completed, will be considered a condition for entry. Upon arrival from the US, a Covid-19 test is currently required.
* 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);
TRAVELING TO THE US
The US prohibits access to its territory (including in transit) to all foreigners who have stayed during the 14 days preceding their trip to the US in one of the 26 Schengen countries, including Belgium, but also the UK, Ireland, China, Iran, or Brazil (including stays in transit in these countries).
Exceptions apply to US permanent residents, foreigners traveling at the invitation of the US Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus, and others deemed of ‘national interest’. As a general rule, the exceptions apply to direct family members as well.
Certain business travelers and investors may qualify for ‘national interest exceptions’. Business travelers and investors who have a valid visa or ESTA authorization that was issued prior to the effective date of Presidential Proclamations 9993 (13.03) or 9996 (16.03) or who are seeking to apply for a visa, and believe they may qualify for a national interest exception should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling. If a national interest exception is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate.
Please note: upon return to Belgium, the travel restrictions under ‘Traveling to Belgium’ apply.
Long term (visa)
The US authorities have suspended at least until December 31st 2020 issuance of certain work visas for foreign workers in the context of US economic recovery efforts. This includes H1-B (highly qualified personnel), H2-B (seasonal work), L (intracompany transfers) and certain J visas (cultural exchange).
Exceptions apply for individuals whose travel would be in the national interest. Examples include labor and services in the food supply chain defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, COVID-19 patient treatment, COVID-19 medical research and activities necessary for the economic recovery of the US.
On August 12, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) updated the exceptions to the nonimmigrant workers who are prohibited from being admitted to the US. For example, the DOS now provides an exception for H1B, L1A, and L1B workers who are “…seeking to resume ongoing employment in the United States in the same position with the same employer and visa classification”.
Applicants who believe they may qualify for a national interest exemption or other exemption, should follow the instructions on the U.S. Embassy’s website regarding procedures necessary to request an emergency appointment and should provide specific details as to why they believe they may qualify for an exception.
Please be advised that the US is conducting a substantive review of immigration policy for foreign workers and that further restrictions in the short term cannot be ruled out.
Follow Local Guidelines
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:
More information on travel to and from Belgium 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:
We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
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 page; NL page; DE 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.
Please check back often as this page is regularly updated.