Nicolas Maeterlinck

Belgium bans non-essential foreign trips

Starting today it is illegal to travel abroad unless your journey is essential.  Expect checks at the border and a fine if you are going away on holiday.

Nico Paelinck of Belgium’s local police explains: “You can only travel abroad for a number of exceptional reasons: work, medical reasons or an urgent family issue.”

“When we see people from the interior on the French border weighed down by luggage, we know what’s what.  We’re talking about people who leave on a trip, return, don’t inform the authorities and land us all with extra cases.  Ramblers and cyclists, who meander across the border on their journey, have nothing to fear”. 

People who travel abroad on an essential journey need to have a statement on them detailing the purpose of their travel and stating on their honour that their journey is essential. The police intend to raise public awareness about the need to have such a statement on you before fining people who don’t, but will be less amenable about people on clearly non-essential trips.  They may expect a fine.

Returning travellers can expect extensive checks on whether or not they have filled in the Passenger Locator Form (PLF).  The police will carry out ‘dynamic’ checks on the border, which means the checks will switch place and time.   Expect all-day checks during the half-term break.

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