Official Global Travel Advisories
- Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice
- Avoid all cruise ship travel outside Canada until further notice
Many countries continue to have strict travel restrictions in place, and the availability of options for international transportation remain limited. As a result you may have difficulty returning to Canada. While some countries are partially opening their borders, we continue to advise against non-essential travel outside of Canada. We also continue to advise that you avoid all cruise ship travel outside of Canada until further notice.
The governments of those destinations that have opened their borders to tourists could impose strict travel restrictions suddenly, should they experience an increase in cases of COVID-19. International transportation options could be reduced significantly, making it difficult for you to return to Canada. There are no plans to offer additional repatriation flights. Should you decide to travel despite our advisories, know that you might have to remain abroad longer than you expected.
If you choose to travel despite these advisories:
- you may have difficulty obtaining essential products and services
- you may suddenly face strict movement restrictions and quarantines at designated facilities and at your own cost
- your insurance may not cover your travel or medical expenses
- we may have limited capacity to offer you consular services.
If you are currently outside Canada or you are returning home, see COVID-19 safety and security advice for Canadians abroad.
Belgium Register Travel insurance Destinations
Last updated: ET
Still valid: ET
Latest updates: Safety and security - Update on the face-covering requirement
COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
Safety and security
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place. These measures may vary depending on the city or municipality. You must wear a face covering in public spaces and on public transport (12 years and older).
If you violate the restrictions, you could be fined for endangering public health.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities related to physical distancing
- Avoid crowded areas
COVID-19 response - Government of Belgium
COVID-19 response - European Commission
Violent crime is uncommon. However, petty crimes (for example, pickpocketing and purse snatching) occur at major transportation hubs and tourist sites.
Organized gangs have been known to target the following areas:
- the Grand Place (Grote Markt) in Brussels
- public transportation and airports
- the main railway stations in Brussels (Gare du Midi [Zuidstation] and Gare du Nord [Noordstation])
Tactics used by criminals
Pickpockets often target passengers boarding or disembarking public transportation or international train lines, including the Paris–Brussels–Amsterdam and Brussels–London routes. Never leave your luggage unattended.
Be cautious if approached by anyone asking odd questions, spilling food or drink, or telling you someone else has spilled something on your clothes. These are distraction tactics used by thieves. Carry a minimal amount of cash when you go out.
Ensure that valuables in vehicles are kept out of sight at all times. Thieves, often on motorbikes, have been known to break a car window while the car is stopped at a traffic light and snatch valuables from the front or back seat.
Always be suspicious if someone offers to help you with a flat tire. These individuals may have punctured the tire themselves and seize the opportunity to steal a bag or other valuable objects while you are distracted.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities.
In Belgium, separate attacks causing multiple deaths and injuries have taken place. The attacks were indiscriminate and targeted public places. While the deadliest attacks occurred in Brussels in 2016, the likelihood of an attack elsewhere in Belgium cannot be ruled out. Further attacks elsewhere in Europe are also likely.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
Public alert system
The Government of Belgium maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates threat level changes online and through local media (including social media).
- Register with the Belgian Public Alert System (BE-Alert)
- Current terrorism threat levels - Belgian Crisis Centre (in French only)
- You can also follow the centre on twitter
Enhanced security measures
Expect enhanced security measures and an increased police presence.
Events may be cancelled and places such as shopping centres, markets, and sport arenas may close without notice.
There is also a heightened potential for police raids to take place with little to no warning. If you are in an area where a police raid is being conducted, remain indoors and close all windows and blinds. Monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Roads are in reasonable condition and roadside assistance is available.
Be aware of the “priority to the right” system, whereby drivers must give way to vehicles approaching from the right at intersections. This is often a surprise to foreign drivers and results in accidents.
Visibility is frequently obscured by rain and fog.
Demonstrations take place frequently. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations.
General safety information
Ensure your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times, particularly on public transportation.
There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering Europe. Some countries have already experienced disruptions to transportation services, including at ferry ports and railway stations, and have seen major delays at border crossings. The situation also heightens the potential for demonstrations that could turn violent without warning, particularly at railway stations and other transportation hubs. If you are travelling in the region, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities, and contact your transport carrier to determine whether the situation could disrupt your travel.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
COVID-19 - Entry to the European Union countries
The recent European Council’s announcement about the reopening of European Union’s external borders to travellers arriving from certain countries, including Canada, is only a recommendation to the EU Member States. Member States make their own individual determination of who they allow to enter and under what conditions. Special entry requirements could include:
- entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- travel authorization documents to be obtained before you travel
Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel. Check with the diplomatic mission of the countries you plan on visiting and transiting through to know who they allow to enter and under what conditions.
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Contact your airline or tour operator to confirm your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from Belgian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Belgium is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.
If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Temporary border controls
The Belgian government may reintroduce internal border controls at short notice and Canadians may be required to pass through immigration controls when entering Belgium, even if arriving from another Schengen area country.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Student visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Work visa: Required
Canadians must obtain a resident visa for stays exceeding 90 days.
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return ticket, proof of the purpose of your visit or proof of sufficient funds for your stay. If you are planning to stay in private accommodations, you must report your intentions to the municipal authorities (commune [gemeente]) upon arrival in Belgium.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - April 19, 2020
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Health care is excellent in Belgium. The responsiveness of emergency services is generally very good. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should inform your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Canada and Belgium are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (Council of Europe). This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Belgium to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Belgian authorities.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Belgium.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Belgium, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
You should carry an International Driving Permit.
You must be at least 18 years of age to drive a car in Belgium.
Speeding causes many accidents. Strict laws are in place to improve traffic safety. Belgian police use speed traps, cameras and unmarked vehicles throughout the country. Fines for exceeding the speed limit are very high and police can collect them on the spot. Vehicles may be impounded for failure to pay.
Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Convicted offenders can expect to pay heavy fines and their driver’s licence may be confiscated immediately.
The use of a cellphone while driving is prohibited, unless fitted with a hands-free device.
- More information about driving in Belgium - European Commission
- More about the International Driving Permit
A Canadian driver’s licence and an IDP are no longer valid once you have obtained residence status in Belgium. Before it expires, you may exchange your Canadian driver’s licence to a Belgian licence if it was issued by Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario or Quebec.
You can exchange the licence in the municipality where you reside.
If you hold a driver’s licence from another province, check with that province’s licence authority to find out if they have established reciprocal recognition with Belgium.
To obtain a Belgian driver’s licence, you must pass courses and tests, and you can expect to wait 6 months to a year to be able to drive legally and unaccompanied.
Carry adequate identification, such as a passport or a residence permit, at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it is lost or seized.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
The currency of Belgium is the euro (EUR).
Credit cards are widely accepted and automated banking machines are widely available.
If you are carrying more than €10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs upon your entry or exit to the European Union. The sum can be in cash, cheque, money order, traveller’s cheque or any other convertible asset. This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.
More information about cash controls - European Commission
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Belgium has a temperate climate with little variation from one region to another.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Embassy of Canada to Belgium and Luxembourg is limiting in-person services and only providing emergency assistance at this time. If you need consular assistance, contact the Embassy by email or telephone. Send your passport and citizenship applications by mail.
Brussels - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Brussels and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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