Customs and Immigration
Passports and Visas
The need for passports, ID or visas to travel to Belgium depends very much on your nationality. If you're a citizen of one of the EU's core 'Schengen states', technically you don't even need a passport or any other national ID, to enter (though it makes a lot of sense to carry some sort of official identity).
Those who are from EU countries that aren't party to the Schengen accords – such as citizens of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and some recent EU countries – will definitely need at least a passport. And it must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the time of your stay in Belgium.
Visa applications, for visits of up to 90 days, are needed for those from most of the rest of the world, but with some important exceptions. Citizens of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are among those who only need to bring a passport, for example. If you plan to stay for more than 90 days, and are from outside the EU, you'll need a long-stay visa, or a temporary residence permit (where you'll need to prove you're in the country for work or study).
Young people from Canada, Australia and New Zealand can also benefit from a prolonged 'working holiday' arrangement. They they can get this longer-term visa, which allows them to stay for up to a year.
Work Permits & Immigration
The procedures here are complex, and dependent on many different factors. So for the most accurate and up-to-date information on work permits, starting a business in Belgium – or on becoming a Belgian citizen, marrying in Belgium or to a Belgian citizen – it's best to contact your nearest consulate office or embassy.
That said, it's worth pointing out that, as members of the EEA, visitors from the UK and Republic of Ireland don’t need to apply for a work permit, if they're looking to work here.
It doesn’t matter where you’re travelling from, all animals coming to Belgium need to have a veterinarian’s certificate, proving their health status and that they have had a rabies vaccination. These must be issued between 30 days and a year before arrival in Belgium.
Of course, travelling very long distances with a pet isn’t recommended, as travel can be very stressful to an animal. And pets aren’t accepted everywhere, so be sure to check up with your hotels – as well as the travel agency, booking company and carriers – well in advance of your journey to Belgium.
There are restrictions on what you can bring in and out of Belgium, just as there are in most countries. Tourists and visitors will have to comply with different rules and restrictions, depending where they are travelling from. But most of the restrictions and limitations on what you can transport are very similar to those in force in other Western countries.
It's worth noting that all goods for household and personal use are exempted from all duties and/or taxes, if the necessary legal conditions are met. This doesn't apply to tobacco or alcohol, or to products that are ultimately meant for commercial use.
If you have any doubts or need more information on any of the subject covered here, then contact your nearest Belgian consulate or embassy. Any questions as to what you can bring back from your trip should be directed to your own government. The information listed here covers just a small part of some complex legislation, so please ensure you undertake additional research yourself, well before you travel.
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