Belgium travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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Belgium - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Belgium due to the threat of terrorism.
Safety and security
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs, particularly in major cities, at popular tourist sites such as the Grand-Place (Grote Markt) in Brussels.
Pickpockets also target passengers in transportation hubs such as:
- the Metro
- train stations
Incidents of petty crime on trains along the Paris–Brussels–Amsterdam and Brussels–London routes are frequent, as well as at the following train stations:
- Gare de Bruxelles-Nord (Noordstation)
- Gare de Bruxelles-Centrale (Centraalstation)
- Gare de Bruxelles-Midi (Zuidstation)
While in Belgium:
- ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times, particularly on public transportation
- take extra precautions on trains, as criminals often steal carry-on luggage from overhead compartments or from below seats
- never leave your luggage unattended
- keep car windows and doors locked at all times
- don’t leave any valuables in plain sight inside of vehicles
- be cautious of distraction tactics employed by criminals, such as spilling drinks, engaging you in lengthy conversations, posing odd questions, or offering to assist you unprompted
Violent crime is uncommon. However, incidents have been on the rise. Armed robbers and organized gangs have targeted jewellers, banks and individuals carrying cash and valuables.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash
- Use caution when using ATMs, especially after dark
Organized gangs use the country’s ports to conduct criminal activities such as smuggling. This is particularly prevalent at the North Sea port of Ostend.
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. When using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others, and don’t let servers or merchants take your card out of sight
- use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
- check ATMs or other machines for skimmers or removable readers, and avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
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. Further attacks 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.
Enhanced security measures
Expect enhanced security measures and an increased police presence.
Public alert system
The Government of Belgium maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates threat level changes online and through local media and social media.
- Register with the Belgian Public Alert System (BE-Alert) - Belgian Crisis Centre
- Current terrorism threat levels - Belgian Crisis Centre
- @CrisiscenterBE - Belgian Crisis Centre (in French)
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
Road conditions and road safety are very good throughout the country.
The “priority to the right” system is in effect in Belgium. Drivers must give way to vehicles approaching from the right at intersections. This is often a surprise to foreign drivers and results in accidents.
Familiarize yourself with the “priority to the right” system.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
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 the Belgian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives 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.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
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 foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Business visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Student visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Work visa: required
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay.
Travel health insurance
When arriving in Belgium, visitors must show proof of travel health insurance covering the possible costs medical evacuation and emergency medical care.
The insurance must be valid throughout the territory of the Schengen States for the duration of the intended stay or transit. The minimum coverage is 30,000 euros.
Letter of support
If you plan to stay in private accommodations, you must show an invitation with proof of address or a letter of support from a local guarantor.
This letter of support must be issued prior to the date of travel.
Letters of support - Office des étrangers, Government of Belgium (In French)
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
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.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you.
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.
* 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.
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.
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.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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.
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. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
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. Service is available throughout the country.
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
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons
Canada and Belgium are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. 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. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Local authorities may ask you to show them appropriate identification at any time.
- Carry adequate identification, such as a passport or a residence permit
- Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it is lost or seized
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.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Belgium.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Belgium, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Belgian court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Belgium to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
You must be at least 18 years of age to drive a car in Belgium.
You should carry an international driving permit.
If you have obtained residence status in Belgium, your Canadian driver’s license will no longer be valid. You may convert your Canadian license to a Belgian licence before the date of expiry if it was issued by one of the following provinces:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
You can exchange the license in the municipality where you reside.
- Driving in Belgium - European Commission
- International Driving Permit
- Recognized driving licenses in Belgium - Service public fédéral Mobilité et Transports (in French)
The currency of Belgium is the euro (EUR).
If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the European Union. It includes sums in:
- banknotes and coins
- bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders
- bonds, shares
- gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
- gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %
- any other convertible asset
This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.
EU cash controls - European Commission
Natural disasters and climate
Belgium has a temperate climate with little variation from one region to another.
Flooding and landslides
Heavy rains, particularly in spring and summer, can cause severe flooding and landslides. Roads may become impassable and infrastructure damaged.
- Exercise caution, particularly in areas around major rivers
- Stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- Follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation orders
Flooding - Belgian crisis centre
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 101
- all other emergencies: 112
Brussels - Embassy of Canada
LuxembourgAppointment Book your appointment online
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Belgium, 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, expressed 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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