Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021.
The Withdrawal Agreement
The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a deal on citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to live, work and study in the EU broadly as you did before 31 January 2020.
If you are resident in Belgium at the end of the transition period, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Belgium.
Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. Read this guidance page for more information.
In the meantime, make sure you are registered as a resident in Belgium. We will update this guidance as soon as more information becomes available.
You should also read the guidance on living in Europe.
Visas and residency
Check the entry requirements for Belgium.
You must carry photographic ID at all times.
You must register at your local town hall (commune/gemeente) within 8 days of arriving in Belgium. You might be asked to bring:
- 4 passport-sized photos
- originals and copies of your passport
- the lease for your apartment or house
- documents proving you can support yourself in Belgium, such as your employment contract or proof of your pension
- proof of health insurance
You may be given further forms for you and/or your employer to complete and return.
The police will verify your address by making a house call. If you’re not at home when a police officer calls, the officer will leave a card giving you an appointment at your local police station.
Once the police have verified your address, you’ll get a statement of registration and you can apply for an electronic residence card, valid for 5 years, at a cost of around €20. You must inform your commune/gemeente of any change in circumstances. For example, if you change address or your marital status, so that registration can be kept up-to-date. The same rules apply to children.
There are many types of residency cards in Belgium, the following are currently the most relevant for UK nationals resident in Belgium:
- E card: for EU citizens resident in Belgium less than 5 years
- E+ card: for EU citizens resident in Belgium more than 5 years
- F card: for non-EU family members (e.g. spouses) of an EU citizen, resident in Belgium less than 5 years
- F+ card: for non-EU family members (e.g. spouses) of an EU citizen, resident in Belgium more than 5 years
All UK nationals resident in Belgium at the end of the transition period will need to obtain a new residency card that indicates that their rights are covered under the Withdrawal Agreement.
You will receive a letter from your Commune/Gemeente before 31 December 2020 explaining how to get this new residency card. You do not need to take any action until you receive this letter.
There will be no change in residency rules or registration procedures if you arrive in Belgium before 1 January 2021. UK nationals legally resident in Belgium that have started the registration process at the local town hall before the transition period ends will be able to stay.
Read the Belgian government’s guidance on residency rights.
Please note that residency is separate to citizenship.
Special ID card holders
If you are resident in Belgium on a special ID card (“P” card) before 31 December 2020, you will also be considered to be in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement. Should you wish to, you will be entitled to register with your commune/gemeente and obtain the new residency card. You will still be able to do this after the end of the transition period.
Passports and travel
The rules on travel will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During this time, you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.
You can apply for or renew your British passport online from Belgium.
Passports from 1 January 2021
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip.
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). This requirement does not apply if you are entering or transiting to Belgium, and you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.
As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may need to show a return or onward ticket and that you have enough money for your stay. You may also have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped for visits to these countries.
From 1 January 2021, you will be able to travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism. This is a rolling 180-day period.
To stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel, you will need to meet the entry requirements set out by the country to which you are travelling. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit. You may also need to get a visa if your visit would take you over the 90 days in 180 days limit.
Periods of stay authorised under a visa or permit will not count against the 90-day limit. Travel to the UK and Ireland will not change.
Different rules will apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen Area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.
This information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Belgian authorities.