Professional travel abroad: what are the rules from 1 July?

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)
Date:

As of 1 July 2021, the rules for foreign travel have been further relaxed. What does this mean for professional travel?

"Business Travel Abroad" no longer required

The employer no longer needs to complete the "Business Travel Abroad" form prior to the employee's departure for abroad.

‘Passenger Locator Form’

However, when the employee returns to Belgium after a stay abroad, he must always complete the 'Passenger Locator Form' within 48 hours before his arrival in Belgium in the following two situations:

  • if he returns to Belgium by carrier,
  • In any case if he's been abroad for longer than 48 hours.

The same applies to the non-resident employee in the following two situations:

  • If he arrives in Belgium by carrier,
  • in any case if he stays longer than 48 hours in Belgium.

By carrier, we mean:

  • the public or private air carrier,
  • the public or private maritime carrier,
  • the inland navigation carrier,
  • the rail carrier or public or private bus, for transport from a country outside the European Union and the Schengen area.

The Passenger Locator Form will be examined to determine whether or not the employee is considered a "high-risk contact" and should therefore be tested and quarantined.

All information on testing and quarantine is available here .

Important note! There are specific rules for travellers coming from a territory of a country classified as a very high risk.

Negative PCR test

The employee arriving on Belgian territory, coming from a red area and not having his main residence in Belgium, is required to present a negative test result on the basis of a test carried out at the earliest 72 hours before departure to Belgian territory or a vaccination certificate, test certificate or recovery certificate.

This obligation applies to travellers coming to Belgium:

  • by carrier;
  • who do not use a carrier and of whom:
    • the stay in Belgium exceeds 48 hours and
    • the preceding stay outside Belgium lasted more than 48 hours.

By carrier, we mean:

  • the public or private air carrier,
  • the public or private maritime carrier,
  • the inland navigation carrier,
  • the rail carrier or public or private bus, for transport from a country outside the European Union and the Schengen area.

Important note! There are specific rules for travellers coming from a territory of a country classified as a very high risk.

There are some exceptions to this rule, amongst others for certain categories of persons who travel to Belgium in the context of their duties. This means that they should not have a negative test result or a vaccination certificate, test certificate or recovery certificate:

  • employees in the transport sector or transport service providers, including drivers of vehicles transporting goods intended for use on the territory as well as those who are merely in transit;
  • the seamen, the tugboat crew, the pilots and the industrial staff employed in the offshore wind farms;
  • the United Kingdom Border Force Officers;
  • border workers.

Measures and restrictions imposed by the country of destination/origin

In addition to all the formalities imposed by Belgian regulations for travelling abroad or to Belgium, the employee must also comply with the rules in force in the country of destination or origin.

Sources: Ministerial Decree of 23 June 2021 amending the Ministerial Decree of 28 October 2020 on urgent measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus COVID- 19, Belgian Official Gazette of 24 June 2021 https://www.info-coronavirus.be.

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