Belgian travellers, rejoice! Travel is possible again!
Viviane Vaz for Id International
(Brussels. April 16, 2021)
Since January 27, Belgian residents are forbidden to travel abroad for non essential reasons. This Wednesday, though, the Belgian government decided to lift this ban within the European Union as from April 19. So, even if politicians may continue advising against travel, be assured you have the right to pack and go. By providing a covid-19 negative test, of course.
The ban on travel within Europe had been criticised by the European Commission, because it hinders the individual freedoms, such as the freedom of movement. However, for travel outside Europe, the EU rules still apply: non-essential travel are not advised to third countries.
Travellers will have the choice to hit the road, even though the government may prefer you to stay at home. They have a point, but now it’s on you to decide (and prove) you feel comfortable and healthy to visit another country. Unfortunately, Covid-19 pandemics is not over, so keep in mind prevention measures continue to be part of European countries logistics.
We have prepared a short summary on the situation at some countries you may be considering to visit. Stay tuned: this information may get an update in the following days.
The neighbour country requires a negative test maximum 72 hours before departure. You also need to present a declaration of honor that you will abide by the rules in force there. In case of non-compliance, the fines range from 135 euros to 3,750 euros.
Please note that only these regions are open: the Balearics, Madrid and Extremadura. To travel to Spain you will need to present a negative test made maximum 72 hours before entry. You must also fill out the form from the Spanish authorities before arriving on site.
If you take off from a Belgian airport and wish to travel with a direct flight to Portugal, you must be in possession of a negative Covid-19 test, not older than 72 hours (drawn up in English) and no quarantine will be requested upon arrival. Portugal is considered an orange zone and you do not need to follow a quarantine in your way back to Belgium.
However, if you wish to travel by air to Portugal from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Sweden, you must, upon arrival in Portugal, observe a 14-day quarantine, either at home (hotel) or at a place designated by the Portuguese Health Services.
You need to present a negative test made maximum 48 hours before entry. Until April 30, a 5-day quarantine is mandatory as well as a second test on the 6th day of arrival. It’s forbidden to travel between regions. However, from May 1, there is no longer a need for quarantine.
If you dream to go to Greece, be aware you must be vaccinated or have a negative test taken maximum 72 hours before the trip. You also need to fill out the Greek authorities form in advance. On site, a 7-day quarantine is required until May 14. Then quarantine will no longer be mandatory.
Returning to Belgium
If you plan to travel abroad, it’s a good idea to organize yourself in advance to work at home and avoid contacting people outside your “social bubble” in your return to Belgium.
All travellers must follow a legal framework of mandatory tests and quarantine.
Those who return from red zones will have to be tested on their first day of return to Belgium, and also on the seventh day. In other words, they must be put in quarantine for minimum 7 days.
If you visit an orange zone in Europe, quarantine is recommended, but not mandatory.
Within 48 hours before your return, you will need to complete the Passenger Location Form. This document helps the Belgian police identify people who do not get tested on their return.
Anyone who does not comply with these screening rules risks to receive a fine of 250 euros.