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Travelling within Europe: pay attention to the colour code of your destination

Anyone returning to Belgium must complete the Public Health Passenger Locator Form within 48 hours prior to arrival in Belgium. The form can be found here.

New measures were laid down for all non-essential international travel for countries accessible to Belgian travellers. The intention is for you to know before you leave what measures apply to your holiday. It concerns the European Member States and/or members of the Schengen area and the United Kingdom (31 countries). Outside this area, there is a formal travel ban on tourism from Belgium.

The list of European member states and/or countries belonging to the Schengen zone is now divided into red, orange and green zones. These zones are regularly updated and published on the Foreign Affairs website.

  1. Red zones are municipalities, districts, cities, regions or countries which have been put back into lockdown by the country in question or where Belgian tourists are at a very high risk of infection.

For these zones, Belgium has a formal travel ban in place.

People who return from these zones will be treated as “high-risk contacts”, which means that they will have to be tested and go into quarantine or self-isolate.

  1. Orange zones are municipalities, districts, cities, regions or countries for which a moderately high risk of infection has been identified.

There is no travel ban in place for these zones. Make sure, however, to check the travel advice for these destinations before your departure as it is possible that the local government imposes one or more restrictions on tourists from Belgium. This can be an obligation to register, submitting a recent negative coronavirus test or even to quarantine on arrival.

People who return from these zones will be asked to undergo testing and go into quarantine.

  1. Green zones are municipalities, districts, cities, regions or countries where no or low health risks have been identified.

There are no travel restrictions for these zones. It remains, however, important that you read the travel advice before travelling to your destination. During your stay, always follow the recommendations of the local authorities on hygiene and social distancing measures and on wearing face masks.

All travel advice can be found here and is regularly updated.

What should I do if I return from a European holiday destination?

When returning from a green zone, you do not have to take any additional precautions. Make sure to follow the recommendations of the local authorities on hygiene and social distancing measures and on wearing face masks at all times. In these countries, there are no major COVID-19 outbreaks and the risk of infection is (very) low.

When returning from an orange zone, you will be asked to contact your GP to be tested and to go into quarantine.

When returning from a red zone:

  • You must self-isolate immediately upon your return to Belgium.
  • Contact your GP and mention your travel history so that a test can be carried out.

For people returning from a red zone, this is a legal obligation.

More information about testing and quarantine can be found on the website of the competent authorities:

What happens if I am tested after my return?

Your GP will test you and the people you travelled with for COVID-19. Stay in quarantine at home, until you have your GP appointment.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you will remain in quarantine at home. At the earliest five days after the first test and nine days after your return, a second test will follow. If this test is also negative, you no longer need to remain in quarantine. If the test is positive, follow your GP’s instructions and remain in self-isolation.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 after the first test, you must stay in self-isolation for at least 7 days and follow the instructions of your GP who will continue to monitor your health. The contact tracers will contact you to identify all of your close contacts and will then follow up with them.

Do I have to take additional holidays during quarantine or self-isolation?

Your GP will give you a “quarantine certificate”. This allows you to prove to your employer that you must remain in quarantine or self-isolation. Teleworking is allowed but you are not allowed to travel to your workplace.

If you are unable to telework, you can claim temporary unemployment benefits. Self-employed people who are unable to work due to quarantine or self-isolation may invoke a bridging right.

Which rules should I respect during my quarantine or self-isolation?

  • Avoid using public transport as soon as you return to Belgium.
  • The period of quarantine or self-isolation starts as soon as you arrive in Belgium after your trip.
  • Quarantine or self-isolation means that you stay indoors (including use of a garden or terrace) at a single address. This can be your private address or with family or friends. If you test positive, all members of the same household are considered to be close contacts.
  • During your quarantine or self-isolation, contact with other people, including people in the same household, should be avoided as much as possible. Keep a distance of 1.5m at all times.
  • Towels, bed linen and eating or drinking utensils should not be shared with the other members of the same household and, where possible, the person in quarantine or self-isolation should use a separate toilet and bathroom.
  • The social distancing and hygiene measures do not apply during quarantine between you and the people you were travelling with.
  • Do not self-isolate at a location where people live at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. people older than 65, people with a serious underlying medical condition such as severe heart, lung or kidney disease and people with decreased immunity).
  • Receiving visitors is not allowed during quarantine or self-isolation.
  • Working and going to school is not allowed. Teleworking is permitted.
  • Stay indoors during quarantine or self-isolation. You may only leave your home for the following essential trips and you must wear a (fabric) face mask:
    • Visiting your GP or for urgent medical care;
    • Purchasing basic necessities, such as food and medicines, but only if no one else can provide them;
    • Settling urgent legal/financial issues;
    • Key workers or people who have a recognised compelling reason: trips for essential and short-term activities associated with this reason.
  • During quarantine or self-isolation, contact tracers should be able to reach you at all times and you must cooperate in listing your close contacts.