Belgium demands ‘sworn statement’ from travellers exempt from Covid rules

The Belgian government has today brought in a “sworn statement” that passengers must complete before they are permitted to travel.

In accordance with a new Ministerial Order, it applies up to and including 1 March.

A traveller may swear they are in the exempt categories, which include elite sportspeople, “cultural sector professionals” and journalists travelling for work.

But far more people are likely to seek to qualify on compassionate grounds.

Journeys “for compelling family reasons” are allowed in set circumstances. These including family reunification, co-parenting or the wedding or funeral of a close relative – “insofar as plausible evidence can be provided of the stable and long-term character of the relationship with the next of kin”.

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Anyone who wants to visit a partner who does not live under the same roof must also prove “the stable and long-term character of the relationship”.

A trip “to provide assistance or care to an elderly, minor, disabled or vulnerable person” is also allowed.

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Some international journeys are allowed for people who live close to Belgium’s borders, if it is part of their everyday activities that are also allowed and necessary … insofar as plausible evidence can be provided”.

There is considerably more latitude than in the UK, with “study-related trip” for schools and universities permitted.

Getting a car fixed is also allowable “in the context of vehicle safety”.

Belgians who left before 27 January 2021 are allowed to return to their home, and conversely people from abroad who arrived in Belgium before that date may travel to return to their home.

Transit journeys through Belgium, for example from France to the Netherlands, are permitted – subject to the rules in the neighbouring countries.

Belgium is now recording very high levels of coronavirus cases, a trend that began in October 2020. The kingdom has suffered almost 21,000 deaths – about the same rate, relative to the population, as the UK.

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