What if you have to cross the border?
Since Wednesday 18 March, Belgium has banned non-essential travel abroad. Goods and services can still be transported across the border.
The following are considered essential movements:
- professional journeys
- co-parenting schemes
- providing assistance to a vulnerable person living abroad
- attending a funeral within the family
- picking up someone in your family at an airport in one of our neighbouring countries
- taking care of your animals that are abroad
The following are considered non-essential movements:
- visiting an acquaintance
- visiting a family member abroad
The Belgian authorities are carrying out active checks and several border crossings are closed. This can cause traffic jams along the border. In order to facilitate a smooth border crossing, it is strongly recommended to have a written document that justifies your movement (in addition to your identity documents). Although this is not compulsory, it is in the interest of the persons themselves to provide a document that can be used by the police and customs authorities to assess the necessity of the movement during checks.
This may be a certificate from the employer, a doctor’s certificate for the care of others or for medical care, proof of co-parenting, a copy of a plane ticket to pick someone up if another means of transport is not possible, a certificate for care of animals that are across the border…
- Violations of the ban on non-essential travel are punishable.
- In other countries, the respective national regulations and directives must be respected (e.g. in France the measures are very strict).
Situation at the Belgian borders
Belgium has put in place several measures restricting transit at its borders (from Belgium and to Belgium) to professional and essential journeys. More information about these conditions can be found at:
- The site of the National Crisis Centre: https://crisiscentrum.be/nl/news/crisisbeheer/coronavirus-de-antwoorden-op-al-je-vragen.
- The coronavirus information site: https://www.info-coronavirus.be/nl/.
To date, Germany has not introduced any controls at its borders with Belgium. No document other than your identity card is therefore required. Germany has nevertheless introduced border controls at border crossings with Austria, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Denmark. However, Belgium limits the crossing of its borders to essential movements. More information about the situation at the German borders can be found here.
France has issued a strict stay-at-home order on its territory until Wednesday 15 April. Any person travelling on French territory must be able to produce a (sworn) statement justifying the journey. In case of journeys for professional reasons, this statement must be accompanied by a certificate from the employer justifying the necessary nature of the journey.
Border controls are in place at the borders, including those with Belgium. Even though it remains possible for Belgian citizens to cross the border, such movements are only allowed under strict conditions. These conditions are the same as for movements within the French territory. For example, frontier workers must have the two certificates mentioned above (sworn statement and certificate from the employer).
Belgium also limits the crossing of its borders to essential movements. More information about the conditions and the certificates can be found here.
To date, Luxembourg has not introduced any controls at its borders with Belgium. However, Belgium limits the crossing of its borders to essential movements. Special measures affecting frontier workers may be taken by Luxembourg. More information about these measures can be found here.
The Belgian-Dutch border is strictly controlled. Crossing the border is only allowed in case of essential movements. A sticker system exists today that allows professionals from critical sectors to be given priority when crossing borders. These critical sectors can be found here. However, this measure may be adjusted in the course of the next days/hours.
It remains important to respect the measures to prevent the spread of the virus at all times: avoid contact with other people by keeping a distance of at least one and a half metres, wash your hands regularly, etc.
Read more here.