Travelling to the USA

Travelling to the USA

You do not need a visa if:

You want to travel to the United States using your Belgian passport under the Visa Waiver Program and you fulfil all the following conditions:

  1. Type of Belgian passport: your Belgian passport has a machine-readable zone and it is valid for the entire length of your stay in the United States.
  2. Duration of your stay: maximum of 90 days.
  3. Nature of your visit: tourism, personal visit, family visit, business or transit.
  4. Manner of entry or transit into or through the United States is by a scheduled or chartered flight, passenger vessel or automobile.
  5. You received a positive answer after registering on the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) website.

Travellers to the US must go the ESTA website  at least 72 hours before their departure and complete the application form online.
Generally, ESTA will provide an answer almost immediately. If the applicant receives a message that his or her application has been approved, it will not be necessary to obtain a visa. However, if the application is not approved, a visa application will have to be submitted to the United States embassy.

Registration is free of charge and an approval is valid two years, unless the applicant’s passport expires earlier.

For any questions or additional information, please directly contact the United States embassy in Brussels.

You do need a visa if:

You want to travel to the United States using your Belgian passport and at least one of the following conditions applies to you:

  1. Duration of your stay: over 90 days.
  2. Categories of persons: students, workers, journalists, crew members, au-pairs, interns, people who have a diplomatic or official status AND who are travelling to the United States on an official mission, people who were previously denied visas, have a criminal record or who previously violated US immigration legislation.
  3. Method of entry: private aircraft or boat.
  4. If you were denied travel approval after registering on the ESTA website.

Biometric passport with chip

You do not need a biometric passport with a chip to travel to the United States.

On 26 October 2006, Belgium and the other countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program began issuing exclusively biometric passports. This was not a problem for Belgium since it had already been issuing biometric passports with a chip since the end of 2004. Not all Belgian travellers have needed a biometric passport to travel to the United States without a visa since that date. The information above applies independently of the decision by the US authorities to systematically photograph and fingerprint all foreigners entering the country at border crossings and airports since 30 September 2004.

Transiting via the United States

You must have a valid Belgian passport with a machine-readable zone.
Belgian citizens travelling to Latin America, the Pacific region and the Caribbean must bear this in mind.

For more information regarding the conditions for entry into the United States, please contact the United States embassy in Belgium.