Belgium reopened its borders to non-essential travel on 15 June, opening up the possibility to enjoy a foreign holiday within the EU and Schengen area, and the UK, for the first time in three months.

Belgian residents can travel to most European countries, but travel restrictions still apply in several countries within Europe.

Non-essential travel outside the EU and Schengen area remains restricted. The EU has agreed on a “safe list” of 15 countries, including Australia, Canada, and Japan, but Belgium has decided not to follow the EU’s recommendations and continues to ban travel to and from these countries.

Belgium’s foreign affairs ministry has updated its website with the latest travel advice, including a color-coded guide to which countries are fully open (green), open with some restrictions (orange), and still off-limits (red).

Open without restrictions

Countries allowing travel since 15 June, without any quarantine or testing requirements, include France, Poland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Austria joined the pack on Tuesday 16 June.

Sweden and Luxembourg have remained accessible to travellers from the EU throughout the coronavirus crisis. Germany and the Netherlands have been accessible since 30 May.

Italy reopened on 3 June, although individual regions are free to impose their own restrictions and you should check before planning a trip.

There are 21 “green” countries within Europe that impose no restrictions whatsoever from Belgium: Greece, Germany, Croatia, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Open with some restrictions

Six “orange” countries allow travel from Belgium, but with some restictions – for example, quarantine on arrival or providing proof of a negative coronavirus test result. The orange countries are currently Cyprus, Denmark, the UK, Iceland, Portugal (except Lisbon, which is red) and Spain (except Lleida and A Mariña, also red). Anyone planning a trip should check the Belgian foreign ministry website before travelling.

Not yet…

Four countries in Europe remain “red” – meaning no travel from Belgium is allowed yet. These are Ireland, Finland, Malta and Norway.

The Belgian foreign ministry has also defined three “red zones” in Spain and Portugal, where travellers returning to Belgium will be required to quarantine for 14 days and two coronavirus tests (one on arrival, the second after nine days). They are Lleida and A Mariña in Spain, and the Portguese capital Lisbon. Check www.diplomatie.be regularly as the list will be updated regularly, based on the number of coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

Since 1 July, the EU has approved travel to 15 countries outside Europe. The “safe list” is made up of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China is also on the list, with the condition of reciprocity.

Belgium has decided not to follow the EU’s recommendations. A ministerial source said nine of the countries on the EU’s list were still categorized as “red” by the Belgian federal finance ministry, indicating that they remain high-risk, and the others do not guarantee reciprocity of free movement for all EU nationals. “After all the efforts made by everyone, we have decided to be prudent and take precautions,” said foreign affairs minister Philippe Goffin. Ministers will continue to monitor the latest virus stats in each of the countries on the list.