Back to travel within the EU: new app informs criteria by destination
Belgians and European residents can visit again EU destinations for leisure & business
Viviane Vaz for Id International
(Brussels, 19 June 2020. Updated 22 June)
After more than 3 months of confinement due to Covid-19 outbreak, Belgians can finally re-start visiting several European destinations for non-essential reasons such as tourism, business and education. The European Union (EU) has coordinated an internal border reopening that started this Monday, 15 June. Note that non-essential travel outside the EU remains prohibited until at least 1 July, though.
According to the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, travel from Belgium to EU member states and EU Schengen countries (including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) and the United Kingdom, is again authorized.
Whether it is possible to enter another EU country depends on the consent of your destination country. To help travellers find out all these details, the European Commission created a very useful application and website called “Re-open EU”.
“Europe’s vast and rich cultural heritage is one of our major assets. But with no possibility to travel and with most venues closed these past months, culture and tourism have been hit hard,” said Mariya Gabriel, the commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “The Re-open EU platform provides up to date, essential information so that we can start exploring Europe safely again”.
Indeed, the platform is often updated, it’s available in 24 languages, and it makes easier to check the travel advice by country. Let’s suppose you live in France and you want to come to Belgium. This is what the research in the Re-open EU website shows you today:
Returning to Belgium
What about your coming back home? Would you need to follow any confinement measures?
The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs that quarantine on return to Belgium is not compulsory for travellers moving within the EU borders that are now open. But if you have visited a country outside the EU Schengen area, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, note that self-quarantine remains mandatory.
Hey, wait a minute, my country is not in the app!
Note that countries such as the UK and Norway, for example, are not EU member states and they decided not to be included in the ReopenEU app for the moment, neither they agreed yet in lifting restrictions… So, it means that if you are a Belgian going to Norway, you will need to do a 10-day quarantine on arrival. For the UK, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days.
Switzerland, for example, is not an EU member state, but decided to participate in the initiative as a EU Schengen area country. So, as a Belgian you can travel there, without quarantine. The same for Iceland: the country is ready to welcome you if you hold a passport from the Schengen area or the UK. North American passport-holders must wait until 1 July.
If you are still in doubt and do not find information in the ReopenEU app, consult the embassy of the country you want to visit or your favourite travel agent (such as Id International! 😉