Information regarding COVID-19 for foreign diplomatic missions and international organisations established in Belgium

 

Updated on 30th November 2021
 

The information on this page is subject to change at any time. Please take this into account. 

 

Temporary emergency travel restrictions into the EU

On 26 November 2021, in response to the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant 'Omicron', EU countries decided to adopt an urgent, temporary restriction on all travel into the EU from the following countries:

  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

This travel restriction involves suspending passenger flights from affected countries and discouraging travel to these countries for EU citizens. The emergency brake mechanism should not apply to EU citizens, long-term EU residents and certain categories of essential travellers, who should nevertheless be subject to appropriate testing and quarantine measures, even if fully vaccinated.

 
Decisions of the latest Consultative Committee in Belgium (27 November 2021)

In light of the rapid deterioration of the epidemiological situation in Belgium, the Consultative Committee of 27th November 2021 decided to take a series of new measures, applicable as of 29th November 2021 in Belgium:

  • Booster dose of vaccination against COVID-19 – The Consultative Committee decided to make an additional dose of vaccine available for the entire population residing in Belgium, as soon as possible. The vaccination campaign for the booster shot will be carried out following the operational plan developed by the Interministerial Conference for Public Health on 27 November.

    Members of the diplomatic community in possession of a NISS number can already make an appointment to receive their booster shot against COVID-19, in the following cases (more information under “national vaccination strategy”):
     
    • 2 months after receiving a shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine;
    • 4 months after receiving the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine;
    • 6 months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine.
       
  • Winter package – the Consultative Committee has decided on a new winter package with measures to reduce the number of contacts, namely:
     
    • Private gatherings: as a general rule, indoor private gatherings are banned (except for weddings and funerals). However, meetings in private residences are still allowed, with a strong recommendation for the use of self-testing when receiving guests. The use of the CST at private gatherings does not apply to private gatherings organised at the private residence, except when professionally organised catering activities are involved (restricted between 5am and 11pm).
    • Hospitality activities (hotels, cafés, restaurants): the number of people per table is limited to 6. A household may share a table regardless of its size. Only seats at the table are allowed. Opening hours are limited from 5am to 11pm. Night clubs and dance halls must close.
    • Public events: indoor public events: only sitting allowed, according to CST rules plus face mask. Outdoor public events: if organisers do not respect the rules of social distancing and the distance of 1.5 metres between groups, their event will be closed down. The rules of the catering industry apply.
       
  • Teleworking – Teleworking is mandatory for the private sector and all public administrations unless the nature of the function or the continuity of services make teleworking impossible. Until 19th December, one day per week of physical presence for each member of staff is allowed; from 20th December, two days per week are allowed for each member of staff. Employers must provide staff members who are unable to work from home with a certificate or any other evidence confirming the need for their presence at the workplace.

These measures will be reassessed on 15 December. Several measures adopted by previous Consultative Committees (e.g. 17th September 2021, 26th October 2021, 17th November 2021) remain valid, including the following:

  • Expansion of the requirement to wear a face mask – Wearing a face mask for persons over 10 years of age is mandatory in the following circumstances:
     
    • closed spaces of public transport, stations and airports;
    • healthcare institutions and for (non)-medical professions;
    • staff and clients for medical and non-medical contact professions;
    • establishments and places where food and drinks are served;
    • events inside and outside, regardless of the size;
    • stores and shopping centres;
    • publicly accessible areas in businesses, companies, public buildings, courthouse buildings;
    • venues for cultural and recreational activities, sports and other events, including theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums, indoor amusement and theme parks, indoor gyms and sports facilities;
    • libraries, game/toy libraries and media libraries;
    • places of worship;

     
    Face masks can only be removed occasionally to eat and drink while seated, and when the nature of the activity (e.g. sports) makes wearing a face mask impossible. 
     

  • COVID Safe Ticket + (CST+) – The Consultative Committee decided to make wearing a face mask mandatory wherever the COVID Safe Ticket (CST) is applicable. Both showing a valid CST and wearing a face mask is therefore mandatory in the following situations:
     
    • public events and private meetings gathering more than 50 participants indoors and more than 100 participants outdoors;
    • in establishments of the “Horeca” sector (hotels, restaurants, cafés), including for private events;
    • in theatre halls, concert halls, music halls, cabarets and other similar venues for cultural events, cinemas, museums, amusement parks (indoors).

     
    Dance and night clubs which do not impose the face mask must request both the CST and a quick antigen test at the entrance.

    Please note that stricter rules may be applicable at regional level. We invite you to carefully read the specific section about the CST on this webpage and to consult the relevant websites of the regional authorities:

  • Limiting social contacts and respecting social distancing – The Consultative Committee strongly recommends to respect social distancing (1.5 meter), to limit social contacts and to preferably organise such contacts outside.
     
  • Ventilate. Ensure adequate ventilation of indoor areas. That is healthy anyway, but especially in these corona times. Practical recommendations have been prepared by the Ventilation Task Force of the COVID-19 Commissariat.
     
  • Stricter controls – Entry controls have been tightened and ramped up in recent weeks. Meanwhile, all returning or arriving travellers are checked to see whether they completed the Passenger Locator Form (PLF). The federated entities and local governments have also stepped up monitoring of testing, tracing, quarantine and isolation for returning travellers. Furthermore, the police and inspection authorities are asked to take strict action against violations of the measures. The competent ministers and mayors are asked to provide the necessary instructions to the police and inspection services.

More information on the general measures can be found in the recent Press Release of the Prime Minister (FR | NLENDE).

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of the National Crisis Center are updated regularly.

Please note that some regions, cities or municipalities can have extra rules in place, depending on local threat levels. Check the website of your city or municipality.

  • More information on additional measures in the Walloon Region (in French).
  • More information on additional measures in the Brussels-Capital Region (in French | in Dutch).
  • More information on additional measures in Flanders (in Dutch).

 
The following points are particularly important for foreign diplomatic missions, consular posts and international organisations:

 
Vaccination against COVID-19

National vaccination strategy

Staff members of diplomatic missions, consular posts and international organisations registered with the Protocol Directorate, as well as their family members who reside in Belgium, are included in the national vaccination strategy, on a voluntary basis (not compulsory), according to the same criteria as the whole population of Belgium.

As announced by the Consultative Committee of 27th November 2021, it was decided to make a an additional dose of vaccine available for the entire population residing in Belgium, as soon as possible. The vaccination campaign for the booster shot will be carried out following the operational plan developed by the Interministerial Conference for Public Health on 27 November.

Members of the diplomatic community in possession of a NISS number can already make an appointment to receive their booster shot against COVID-19, in the following cases:

  • 2 months after receiving a shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine;
  • 4 months after receiving the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine;
  • 6 months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine.

The vaccination campaign depends on the place of residence:

  • In Brussels, appointments can be made online via the BRUVAX platform, by calling the call centre 02.214.19.19 or by contacting a local pharmacy taking part in the vaccination campaign.
  • In Wallonia, appointments will be possible via the regional platform or by calling 0800.45.019, after receiving an invitation by post.
  • In Flanders, a vaccination schedule will be respected: vaccination will take place before end 2021 for priority groups and in January-April 2022 for the rest of the population. Invitations will be sent by post or via email.

The Protocol Directorate will contact members of the diplomatic community who do not yet possess a NISS number, at the latest by the end of January 2022.

Given the recent EMA approval, the Committee requests that the Superior Health Council and the Consultative Committee on Bioethics give their opinion as soon as possible with a view to the possible start, on a voluntary basis, of vaccination of the 5- to 11-year-olds.

All beneficiaries of the Belgian vaccination strategy have been assigned a social security identification number (NISS). The procedure on how to retrieve this number is detailed in the verbal notes distributed on 6th May and 3rd June 2021. You will find this notes further under “Official notifications”.

Due to the inviolability of the residence of diplomatic agents (holders of a "D" or “C” residence permit), their vaccination invitations are sent to the address of their diplomatic/consular mission and not to their private address. Holders of a “P” or “S” residence permit will receive the invitation at their home address.

Questions related to the vaccination campaign itself (schedule, invitations, etc.) are a regional responsibility and should be dealt with the regional authorities: the Protocol Directorate is not empowered to answer them, nor to respond to specific requests. Many answers can be found in the frequently asked questions about vaccination on the website of the national crisis centre.

 
EU digital COVID certificate

Residents in Belgium can obtain their EU digital COVID certificate from Belgian authorities. There are three possible types of certificates:

  • vaccination certificate – if you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Belgium for at least 2 weeks (i.e. 14 days after the last dose);
  • test certificate – if you have received a negative result in the last 72 hours from a PCR-test carried out in Belgium;
  • recovery certificate – if you have recovered from COVID-19 while in Belgium.

In all instances, the EU digital COVID certificate contains an individual QR code in digital and/or paper format, free of charge. This certificate will allow you to benefit from eased travel restrictions when travelling in all EU Member States.

In Belgium, all data related to COVID-19 vaccination/test/recovery are individually and securely accessible on the institutional website Ma Santé (in French | in Dutch).

Members of diplomatic missions, consular posts and international organisations who have a special residence permit without a microchip must use one of the following authentication methods:

  • with an electronic identification recognised at EU level, in accordance with eIDAS (Regulation (EU) No. 910/2014): currently, the identity documents of 10 EU Member States are eIDAS compatible and allow access to the website “Ma santé”;
  • with a security code sent by e-mail through the procedure detailed in a verbal note sent to all diplomatic missions, consular posts and international organisations between 18th and 21st June 2021 (see at bottom of the page): an individual user profile must be created by the Federal Public Service Strategy & Organization (BOSA);
  • with a security code obtained by going in person, with one’s special residence permit "D", "C", "P" or "S" to one of the registration centres. This method is to be used as a last resort because the appointment waiting times are long.

Residents in Belgium may register their COVID-19 vaccines administered abroad in the Belgian system (Vaccinet application) by making an explicit request to their regular doctor on the basis of available official documents. Only vaccines recognized in Belgium (certified by EMA or Covishield) may give right to a Belgian vaccination certificate.

Persons who were fully vaccinated in Belgium can also receive their EU digital COVID certificate by post, by calling one of the numbers below. You need to know in advance your social security identification number (NISS or NISSbis). The number to call depends on your address as known by the administration in charge of vaccination (address of the diplomatic mission or consulate for holders of a "D" or "C" special residence permit; private address for holders of a "P" or "S" special residence permit) :

  • Call centre number if your address is located in the Brussels region: 02 214 19 19
  • Call centre number if your address is located in Wallonia: 071 31 34 93
  • Call centre number if your address is located in Flanders: 078 78 78 50

Please take the following deadlines into account:

  • vaccine registration: expect at least 3 to 7 days after the last vaccination before calling;
  • preparation of the certificate and mailing: approximately 5 working days.

 
Recognition of foreign vaccination certificates

Travelers who have been vaccinated with vaccines which are not recognized in Belgium are considered as unvaccinated by Belgian authorities and remain subject to all applicable health measures, hygiene rules and travel restrictions.

It is important to note that only the following vaccines are recognised in Belgium:

  • vaccines certified by the European Medicines Agency (EMA): Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Janssen
  • the Covishield vaccine

Since September 1st, foreign vaccination certificates established outside the EU are also accepted in Belgium under certain conditions, pending equivalence agreements with the EU. To be recognised, the certificate must at least contain the following information in either English, French, Dutch or German:

  • data allowing the identity of the vaccinated person to be deduced (name, date of birth and/or identification number);
  • data demonstrating that all the doses of a vaccine recognised in Belgium have been administered as provided for in the leaflet at least two weeks ago;
  • the brand name and the name of the manufacturer or marketing authorisation holder of each vaccine that was delivered;
  • the injection date of each dose of the delivered vaccine;
  • the name of the country where the vaccine was delivered;
  • the issuer of the vaccination certificate with his or her signature, stamp or unique digitally readable certificate identification code.

Vaccination can only take place in one country. For vaccines requiring two doses, they should be administered in one and the same country. Registration systems do not allow a first dose to be administered in one country and a second one in another.

 
Travel & PLF

Passenger Locator Form (PLF)

All travellers arriving in Belgium (regardless of their nationality, their resident status, the country of origin, their vaccination status, the purpose of their trip or the means of transport) must complete the Passenger Locator Form (PLF), available online, at the earliest 48 hours before their arrival in Belgium.

Exceptions :

  • persons who travel through transportation means other than a public or private carrier (1) AND who stay in Belgium for less than 48 hours or who have stayed less than 48 hours outside Belgium;
  • cross-border workers, that is, those who move back and forth between two Member States of the European Union every day or at least once a week, as well as Border Force Officers from the United Kingdom

The electronic form also includes the option of voluntarily completing a questionnaire containing a self-assessment of the risk of contamination.

After sending in the PLF, the traveller will receive a confirmation receipt by e-mail or SMS with a QR code and details on the measures to be taken (tests, quarantine).

Please find more information at the following link: Passenger Locator Form (PLF).

 
Authorised travel

Travel to Belgium from third countries outside the EU+ (2) and not included on the “white list” (3) of the Council of the EU remains forbidden to anyone who has neither the nationality of nor their main residence in a country of the EU+ (1), with two main exceptions:

  1. Fully vaccinated people (i.e., for at least 2 weeks) who possess a vaccination certificate recognised by the Belgian government (see recognition of foreign vaccination certificates) are allowed to travel to Belgium;

  2. Non-vaccinated people are not allowed to travel to Belgium, unless the purpose of their travel is “essential” (see legal definition). One must carry an official authorisation of essential travel, delivered by the diplomatic mission or the consular post of Belgium, or official documents confirming the essential nature of the trip.

Travel to Belgium from very high-risk zones is forbidden for people who have been in any of the following third countries at any time during the past 14 days:

  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

Only a specific list of persons are allowed to travel from these third countries to Belgium, including but not limited to:

  • Belgian nationals;
  • permanent residents in Belgium;
  • the spouse/partner and children of Belgian nationals/residents, if living under the same roof and holding an Essential Travel Certificate issued by the Belgian diplomatic or consular post;
  • diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the proper functioning of these organisations (if holding an Essential Travel Certificate issued by the Belgian diplomatic or consular post).

Travel from Belgium to countries inside the EU+ (2) or third countries included on the “white list” (3) of the Council of the EU is allowed for anyone in possession of the EU digital COVID certificate. This remains the overall principle but destination countries may always decide to impose complementary conditions. Please check these conditions in advance with the authorities of each country.

Travel from Belgium to third countries outside the EU+ (2) remains strongly discouraged. It is advised to follow the evolution of the zones and the travel advice on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website on a daily basis. National rules and possible health measures in the country of destination must always be observed. Entry into the country of destination also depends on the consent of the country in question.
 

Health measures (tests, quarantine)

Health measures applicable to the traveller arriving in Belgium depend on the country of origin and the colour code associated to that country.

 
Arrival in Belgium from a country inside the
EU+ (2) or third countries included on the “white list” (3) of the Council of the EU

 
Green or orange zone

Anyone arriving from a green or orange zone is not required to get tested nor to quarantine. Filling in the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) remains mandatory.
 

Red zone

Belgian residents in possession of the EU digital COVID certificate are not required to get tested nor to quarantine. Otherwise, they are required to:

get tested on the 1st or 2nd day AND on the 7th day after arrival;
- remain in quarantine until receiving a negative result from the first or second test.

Non-residents in possession of a complete vaccination certificate (for at least 2 weeks) or a recovery certificate are not required to get tested nor quarantine. Otherwise, they are required to:

- show a negative PCR test result carried out max. 72 hours before arrival;
- get tested on the 7th day after arrival.

Quarantine is not mandatory.

 
Arrival in Belgium from a country outside the
EU+ (2) or third countries not included on the “white list” (3) of the Council of the EU

Any third country outside the EU+ and not included on the « white list » is considered a red zone :
 

Belgian residents in possession of a complete vaccination certificate (for at least 2 weeks) are required to:

  • get tested on the 1st or 2nd day AND on the 7th day after arrival;
  • remain in quarantine until receiving a negative result from the first or second test.

Otherwise, they are required to :

  • get tested on the 1st day AND on the 7th day after arrival;
  • remain in quarantine for 10 days (or until receiving a negative result from the second test).
     

Non-residents in possession of a complete vaccination certificate (for at least 2 weeks) are required to:

  • get tested on the 1st or 2nd day AND on the 7th day after arrival;
  • remain in quarantine until receiving a negative result from the first or second test.

Otherwise, they are required to:

  • show a negative result PCR test result carried out max. 72 hours before arrival;
  • get tested on the 1st day AND on the 7th day after arrival;
  • remain in quarantine for 10 days (or until receiving a negative result from the second test).

 

Arrival in Belgium from a very high-risk third country (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe) by persons exempted from the current travel ban is subject to stricter rules, regardless of their vaccination status:
 

Belgian residents are required to:

  • get tested on the 1st day AND on the 7th day after arrival;
  • remain in quarantine for 10 days;
     

Non-residents are required to:

  • show either a negative result PCR test result carried out max. 72 hours before arrival or an EU digital COVID certificate (full vaccination for at least 2 weeks);
  • get tested on the 1st day AND on the 7th day after arrival;
  • remain in quarantine for 10 days.

 
In case of mandatory quarantine, people living or residing in Brussels are required to remain in quarantine until receiving a negative result from the second test.

Children under the age of 12 are not required to get tested. However, they must remain in quarantine until the test results of their parents are known.


Possible exemptions

Essential activities

Leaving quarantine is only permitted for the following essential activities that cannot be postponed until after the quarantine period has ended, and provided that particular attention is paid to hygiene measures, social distancing and wearing a face mask:

  • Travel related to urgent medical care and access to medicines;
  • Travel to buy basic necessities, such as food, but only if no one else can provide them and by exception;
  • Travel for urgent legal/financial matters and parental authority, subject to proof;
  • Travel in the context of funerals / cremations.

 
Complete exemption from tests & quarantine

The categories of travellers who can be completely exempted from tests and quarantine include (but are not limited to):

  • Border residents or frontier workers travelling in this capacity;
  • Transport personnel when performing their duties;
  • Border Force Officers from the United Kingdom.

 
Partial exemption from quarantine

The categories of travellers who can be partially exempted from quarantine include (but are not limited to):

  • Members of the diplomatic and consular community, holders of an office, elected and official representatives of international organisations and institutions based in Belgium, whilst performing essential activities which cannot be carried out remotely or by video conference;
  • Heads of State and Government, members of parliament and senior officials, diplomatic, consular and technical staff on professional missions, whilst performing essential activities which cannot be carried out remotely or by video conference;
  • Staff of an international organisation or people invited by such an organisation whose physical presence is necessary for the proper functioning of that organisation, including inspectors of nuclear facilities;

However, the partial quarantine exemption is strictly limited to:

  • essential travel to Belgium, or;
  • the performance of professional activities in Belgium after returning from a red zone for essential or professional reasons.

For anything unrelated to the essential function or to the essential need of travel (e.g. leisure time, weekends, holidays and evenings), the traveller is expected to comply with quarantine rules. Family members cannot avail themselves of any exception, unless they are accompanying the agent who arrives to his post for the first time or who leaves it permanently.

It is understood that if a traveller’s stay in Belgium lasts less than the duration of the mandatory quarantine, he or she may leave the country on the planned date. If one needs to leave Belgium for a third country which requires a negative test for entry, he or she may request to get tested in a laboratory but should avoid test centres which cooperate with the federal platform.

More information regarding exemptions to tests and quarantine may be found on the website of the national crisis centre.

 
Measures at the airport - message of Brussels Airport Company (BAC)

The VIP services have resumed their activities. Upon arrival in the VIP building, the cooperation of the passengers will be asked to respect the following measures:

  • Keep a distance of 1.5 meters from others.
  • A mouth mask is mandatory at the airport and in the aircraft.
  • It is recommended to wash and disinfect your hands regularly.
  • Requests should be sent at least 72 hours in advance instead of 48 hours. The number of visitors per delegation will be reduced to 1 instead of 6.

These recommendations will be reviewed at a later stage.

Contact: sylvie.wuiame@brusselsairport.be

 

 
COVID Safe Ticket (CST) 

The Consultative Committee decided to lay down rules at federal level for the use of the COVID Safe Ticket (CST) across Belgium (Brussels-Capital, Flanders, Wallonia). At federal level, the CST is required from 1st November:

  • in all hotels, restaurants, cafés and gyms;
  • for events where there are at least 200 people indoors and 400 people outdoors;

However, stricter rules may be applicable at regional level. For example, the CST has been applied in the Region of Brussels-Capital since 15th October.

We invite you to carefully read the specific section about the CST on this webpage and to consult the relevant websites of the regional authorities:

 
COVID Safe Ticket (CST) in Brussels

Since 15th October 2021 (and until 14th January 2022), the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) must be used for access to certain events or establishments in the Brussels-Capital Region.

While the EU digital COVID certificate is intended to facilitate travel abroad, the CST is intended to allow access to a range of events and establishments in Belgium. Both use a QR code to recognize a citizen's protection against COVID-19. The EU Digital COVID Certificate can be used as a CST in Belgium.

The CST covers three types of certificates:

  • vaccination certificate – if you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Belgium for at least 2 weeks (i.e. 14 days after the last dose);
  • test certificate – if you have received a negative result either from a PCR-test (in the last 48 hours) or an antigen test (in the last 24 hours) carried out in Belgium by a legal health professions (e.g. a test centre or a pharmacy);
  • recovery certificate – if you have recovered from COVID-19 and are in possession of a positive PCR-test result carried out in Belgium (valid for 180 days).

The certificates can be downloaded in the CovidSafeBE application or the vaccination certificate can be sent by post by calling the call center at 02/214.19.19. The control of the CST (QR code) can be done simply through a smartphone, by installing the CovidScanBE application.

A visitor (from the age of 16) cannot access the following events and establishments if they do not have a COVID Safe Ticket (CST) when the number of visitors exceeds 50 indoors or 200 outdoors: 

  • Mass event
  • Trade fairs and conventions
  • Institutions in the cultural, festive and recreational sectors

A visitor (from the age of 16) cannot access the following events and establishments if they do not have a COVID Safe Ticket (CST) regardless of the number of visitors: 

  • Cafés & restaurants (indoors only)
  • Dancing and nightclubs
  • Sports and fitness centers

When the number of visitors does not reach the attendance thresholds (50 indoor visitors, 200 outdoor visitors), the events and establishments listed above are authorized to apply the CST. The organizer is always obliged to inform visitors of the use of the CST.

Since 20th November, wearing a face mask is mandatory wherever the CST is applicable.

Stemming from the rules in force, the practical application of the COVID Safe Ticket in the Brussels-Capital Region takes place as follows:

  • Responsibility for control – The organizer of an event is responsible for compliance with the rules relating to the CST. When a visit takes place in several events/establishments (e.g. museum, restaurant, reception room etc.), the CST and the identity of the visitor must be checked at the entrance of each venue and each establishment/event is responsible for this verification. No registration of this data is allowed. The organizer of an event can, without any obligation, offer rapid tests at the entrance (antigen tests carried out by a legally authorized person) to facilitate access to the event.
     
  • Compliance with sanitary measures – When the CST is applicable, wearing a face mask and social distancing are no longer mandatory for people who have scanned their CST. In a "hybrid" meeting bringing together external visitors and internal participants, the CST cannot be made mandatory for internal participants (i.e. staff members occupying the same building). Internal participants who wish to do so can be considered as external visitors and scan their CST so that they no longer have to wear a face mask nor respect social distancing. Internal participants who do not wish to show their CST must continue to wear a face mask and to respect social distancing. Usual sanitary measures continue to apply when the CST is not applicable: a model risk analysis according to the type of event is available on the website www.covideventriskmodel.be.
     
  • Working meals – When organized internally (for example, within a company or administration), working meals (i.e. breakfasts, lunches, dinners) for less than 50 visitors are not subject to the use of the CST: wearing a mask and social distancing remain applicable. Beyond 50 visitors, the CST becomes mandatory: wearing a mask and social distancing are no longer imposed. When the meal is organized in a café or a restaurant, the CST is mandatory regardless of the number of people at the table.

 
How to obtain a CST?

  • Vaccines recognised in Belgium – Only vaccines certified by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Janssen) and the Covishield vaccine are recognised in Belgium. People vaccinated in an EU Member State or in one of the countries with which the EU has a recognition agreement can use their EU digital COVID certificate as a CST (QR code readable by the CovidScanBE app). People vaccinated outside the EU with a vaccine recognised by Belgium can register their foreign vaccination certificate and obtain a valid CST in Belgium as follows:
     
    • Residents in Belgium with a Belgian NISS/BIS number can request regularisation of their vaccination via their Belgian general practitioner (Vaccinet).
       
    • Non-residents in Belgium can send fill in the form available on the website of the Brussels-Capital Region to have their foreign vaccination certificate registered and translated into a CST:
       
  • Vaccines not recognised in Belgium – Only vaccines certified by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Janssen) and the Covishield vaccine are recognised in Belgium. Anyone vaccinated with another vaccine is considered unvaccinated by the Belgian health authorities. Unvaccinated people can get a CST in two ways:
     
    • PCR test: performing a PCR test in a test center by taking an appointment via TestCOVID.be. The vaccination centre in Brussels-Midi is particularly recommended: results can be obtained after 1h30. A negative result of a PCR test entitles you to a CST for a period of 48 hours via the CovidSafeBE application.
       
    • Antigen test: performing an antigen test by a legal health professional (for example, in a pharmacy): the results can be obtained after 15 minutes. A negative result of an antigen test entitles you to a CST for a period of 24 hours via the  CovidSafeBE application.

 
Exceptions
– Apart from the events and establishments listed above, the use of the CST is prohibited. The CST cannot be requested at the following locations:

  • the private or intimate sphere at home
  • public transport
  • public services
  • educational activities
  • shops and shopping centres
  • the workplace

There are no longer any restrictions on receiving people at home, but rules differ with regard to meeting in a private space:

  • the CST is not applicable in private locations (home, apartment, garden, terrasse, …), regardless of the number of visitors present;
  • the CST is mandatory in privatised spaces (restaurant, reception hall, …) following the relevant thresholds (from 50 visitors indoors, from 200 visitors outdoors).

In addition, the following exceptions are provided:

  • Legal or regulatory obligation
    Access to an event or establishment "within the framework and in order to fulfill a legal or regulatory obligation" cannot be subject to the use of a CST. The usual sanitary measures remain in force (wearing a face mask, social distancing).
    ​ 
  • School group
    Access by members of a school group to events and establishments in the context of school activities is not subject to the use of a CST provided that the rules of protection applicable in the school context are applied during this activity and that the members of the school group wear a mask.

 
Sanctions – The burgomasters are responsible for monitoring the application of the CST, without prejudice to the powers of the judicial police officers: 

  • Visitors or participants who contravene the provisions relating to the CST may be punished by a fine of €50 to €500; 
  • An organizer who contravenes the provisions relating to the CST may be punished by a fine of 50€ to 2.500 €.

For any other question about the CST, we invite you to:

 
Teleworking

Teleworking is mandatory in the private sector and all public administrations for all staff, regardless of the nature of their employment relationship, unless the nature of the function or the continuity of services make teleworking impossible.

However, in order to enable employees to maintain a connection with their working environment and to safeguard, as far as possible, business continuity and competitiveness, employers may schedule a limited number of return visits to the office. Until 19th December, one day per week of physical presence for each member of staff is allowed; from 20th December, two days per week are allowed for each member of staff. Teleworking is performed in accordance with the existing collective labour agreements.

Professional meetings can be held while strictly respecting the necessary conditions: hygiene measures, wearing a face mask at all times and social distancing rules must be enforced. The number of participants is limited to the available room capacity, taking social distancing rules into account. The meeting room should be ventilated and carefully disinfected before and after the meeting.

One must consider the expression "professional meeting" in its strict meaning, i.e. a meeting dedicated exclusively to work, without a social dimension. Working lunches or dinners, in-person team buildings or company parties and receptions are primarily social activities. They must respect the measures applicable to the activity sectors in question (e.g. catering, private gatherings etc.).

 
Voluntary return days to the office

Companies, associations and services may organise voluntary return days for their staff. Return days are organised on the basis of a mutual agreement between the employer and employees: they are voluntary by nature. Their aim is to promote the psychosocial well-being and team spirit of the employees.

Voluntary return days must be organised according to the following rules:

  • they may not exceed one working day per week per staff member until 19 December 2021, and two working days per week per staff member as from 13 December 2021;
  • until 19 December, a maximum of 20% of employees for whom teleworking is mandatory can be present in the workplace at any one time, and a maximum of 40% from 13 December onwards;
  • return days must be organised in accordance with the rules of the social dialogue in the company/administration.

Voluntary return days are subject to compliance with the following preventative measures:

  • employees must receive prior instructions on all measures required to ensure a safe return;
  • employees must be informed that they should not return to work under any circumstance if they feel ill or show symptoms of disease or are quarantining;
  • travelling to and from work during peak hours by public transport or carpooling should be avoided as much as possible;
  • employers must take appropriate and timely preventive measures in order to guarantee the rules of social distancing as much as possible and to provide a maximum level of protection. If social distancing at work is not possible, it is strongly recommended to wear a face mask;
  • wearing a face mask is mandatory in the publicly accessible areas of companies, associations, services and government buildings.
  • employers, employees and third parties are obliged to adhere to the preventive measures in force in the company, association or service.

 
Registration & certificates

Employers must provide staff members who are unable to work from home with a certificate or any other evidence confirming the need for their presence at the workplace. A template is available at the following link.

Each month, employers must register the total number of employees in the company per business unit as well as the number of employees who are unable to telework due to their role. They must do this via the electronic registration system made available by the National Social Security Office on the social security portal (see more information).

More information on the rules applicable in the workplace can be found on the website of the FPS Employment:

 
General remarks

It is generally advised to observe the officially announced measures and to demonstrate common sense. Everyone has the individual and collective responsibility to respect these principles. Each diplomatic mission or international institution may always decide for itself to take more restrictive measures for their staff or visitors.

The Protocol Directorate of the FPS Foreign Affairs reiterate that, without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities have the duty to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State, in particular the measures taken by the authorities to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Foreign diplomatic missions and international organisations may direct their questions – exclusively regarding their staff – to the Protocol Directorate’s dedicated email address: corona-protocol@diplobel.fed.be. Please start the title of your email by writing the name of the sending State or the organisation.

The reception desk of the Protocol Directorate remains open twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 am to noon. The Protocol asks the diplomatic missions and international organisations to only go to our reception desk if absolutely necessary and to observe the following precautions: keep a sufficient social distance and limit the number of persons in the waiting room. Wearing a face mask is mandatory.

 
Legal bases

  • Royal Decree modifying the royal decree of 28th October 2021 regarding the administrative police measures necessary to prevent or limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus (November 27, 2021)
  • Law confirming the royal decree of 28th October 2021 regarding the declaration of a state of epidemiological emergency in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (November 10, 2021)
  • Ordinance on the extension of the COVID Safe Ticket in case of necessity arising from a special epidemiological situation (October 14, 2021)
  • Order of the Reunited College of the Joint Community Commission implementing the Ordinance (15 October 2021)
  • Decree of the Walloon Region regarding the use of the COVID Safe Ticket and the obligation to wear a mask (21 October 2021)
  • Ministerial Decree from October 28th, 2020 regarding emergency measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus (latest update on August 26th, 2021)
  • Council Recommendation amending Council Recommendation (EU) 2020/912 on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU and the possible lifting of such restriction (latest update on September 23rd, 2021)

 
Official notifications Protocol Directorate

 
Useful information and web links

 

[1] Public or private carrier: all carriers by air or water; train or bus operators for transport from a country outside the European Union and the Schengen area. Journeys of no more than 48 hours by private or official car or by taxi, as well as within the EU or Schengen by train or bus, are not affected.

[2] As a reminder: European Union, four non-EU Schengen countries (Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and four European micro-states (Andorra, Monaco, Saint-Marino, Holy See).

[3] On 30 June 2020 the Council adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. This recommendation included an initial list of countries for which member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders. This list is updated every two weeks by the Council of the EU. Colour code green, orange or red is assigned by analogy with the criteria used by ECDC for the EU/Schengen countries. The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. Please find the latest update at the following link.