Even in light of the ongoing pandemic, the authorities in Belgium have decided to ease their entry requirements, similar to the governments of other European countries.
Last month, the Council of the European Union revealed some recommendations, which included, among other things, a proposal to focus more on the condition of the traveler rather than on the epidemiological situation in the country of departure.
Thus, Belgium previously abolished the color-code system that classified other countries into green, orange and red groups, taking into account the rate of infection in them, and from February 18 began to apply entry rules taking into account the vaccination of travelers or the state of recovery.
This decision was confirmed by a statement published by the authorities in Belgium, TheSchengen.com reports.
“The color code of the country of origin is no longer taken into account for incoming travelers. The statement indicated that people who do not have their main place of residence in Belgium and who are traveling to our country from EU / Schengen countries or third countries, must from now on have a certificate of vaccination or valid test or refund”.
Entry rules for vaccinated citizens from other countries
Despite the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus, the authorities in Belgium have decided to ease its entry requirements for foreigners.
Such a decision was made in order to prevent further damage caused by the virus and its new strains.
Belgium’s abolition of the color coded system means that arrivals from other countries, including the European Union and third countries, are required to provide a valid document proving that they have completed an immunization process against the virus, have taken a COVID-19 test or recovered from the virus.
Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroek also confirmed the easing of entry requirements to Belgium.
In addition, the authorities in Belgium have also made it clear that they will no longer differentiate between travelers from EU countries who plan to enter Belgium and those from third countries.
This means that arrivals from all other countries, including the UK and the US, will be subject to more moderate entry rules when planning travel to the Western European country.
In this regard, the Minister of Health highlighted the benefits for tourists from countries that are not part of the European Union.
“This is important for people who come from the US, UK and Japan,” Vandenbrooke noted.
Are unvaccinated travelers allowed to enter Belgium?
Travelers who have not completed immunization against the virus are not subject to the concessional entry rules when planning travel to Belgium. In addition, those who need to enter the country for a special reason will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon entry.
Authorities in Belgium accept a negative result of a COVID-19 antigen test, at least 24 hours before arrival. On the recommendation of the European Union Commission, the authorities in Belgium have also shortened the validity of vaccination certificates. This decision means that authorities in Belgium recognize vaccination cards showing that the holder has been vaccinated against the virus within the last 270 days or nine months.
At the same time, all people who have taken the booster dose have unlimited validity for their vaccination certificates.
Belgium has also facilitated national rules for COVID-19
As of February 18, authorities in Belgium also eased some national COVID-19 restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the virus.
The advisory committee has repealed closing hours rules, which means that the catering industry, including restaurants and bars, is no longer subject to their operating hours restrictions.
Besides, the nightlife has reopened while indoor and outdoor events are also allowed. In addition, working from home is no longer mandatory.
“From February 18 in the morning, the aura scale will turn orange. This was decided by the Advisory Committee. For example, the closing time in the food industry will disappear, and the nightlife can open again. All indoor and outdoor public events are also allowed. It stated in The Belgian authorities’ statement that remote work is no longer mandatory but still recommended.
According to the authorities in Belgium, for indoor events a total of 70 percent of venue capacity can be used, while for all other events, 80 percent of venue capacity can be used.
The country’s government has also confirmed that children under the age of 12 will not be forced to wear face masks.