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Belfry of Bruges in Belgium | ETIAS Schengen Countries

Will I need an ETIAS to visit Belgium?

Belgium is one of a number of countries in the E.U. who have been pushing for stricter border controls. Having been the victim of terrorist attacks in recent years and also experiencing an influx of refugees from countries outside of Europe trying to avoid war and discrimination, the country has experienced major security issues.
The new Belgian visa waiver is called the ETIAS, the E.U. Travel, and Information Authorization System. It is partly based on the American ESTA visa waiver system and will come into effect in 2021.

The system has been put in place for travelers who intend to visit any of the Schengen countries, of which Belgium is a member.

Anyone from the list of 54 countries that up until now haven’t needed to apply for a Schengen visa to visit Europe, will from 2021 need to apply for an ETIAS and have it electronically attached to their passport before they travel.

At present, anyone from a visa waiver country, which includes America and Canada, can arrive at a Schengen border and are automatically allowed 90 days unrestricted travel.
With the implementation of ETIAS, E.U. authorities will gather information about intending travelers that can be shared between member states.

The system is raising the level of fraud and criminal detection enormously, this coupled with the information sharing, will be a strong defense against crime, terrorism, and illegal immigrant travel.

Travelers to Belgium will experience quicker processing times at border crossings and reassurance that undesirable travelers will be detected not during transit but the application process before they even set foot on Belgian soil.

About Belgium

Belgium has experienced war over its land for centuries, in modern times these battles have included the Battle of Waterloo and the First and Second World Wars. Although devastated by the occupation of its land during those years it has experienced an economic boom in recent times.

Belgium is a low-lying country bordering the North Sea; it shares a maritime border with the United Kingdom. Land borders are at France, Germany, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Belgium covers an area of 11.787 mi²

Geographically, it consists of three main areas:-

  • Lower Belgium – up to 100 meters above sea level
  • Central Belgium – between 100 and 200 meters above sea level
  • Upper Belgium – from 200 to over 500 meters above sea level.

Belgium, whose capital city is Brussels has a population of more than eleven million people.

The two main languages spoken are French and Flemish.

French is spoken predominantly by people from the southern provinces, who are collectively called Walloons.

Flemish (Dutch) is spoken predominantly by people from the northern and northeastern provinces, who are collectively called Flemings.

Some areas are officially bilingual French and Flemish and a small area where German is spoken. The main religion in Belgium is Christianity. The official currency is the Euro.

Belgium at a glance

Capital: Brussels

Timezone: UTC/GMT +1 hour

Languages: Dutch 60%, French 40%

Area: 30,510 KM2

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Population: 8,205,000

Calling Code: +43

Travel to Belgium

Gastronomically, Belgium has a variety of options, From the highly ranked Belgian restaurants that feature in the Michelin Guides, to the popular Fritkot, where you buy your fries to enjoy as you walk, or to take into a local bar that will serve you a cold beer as an accompaniment.

Belgium and chocolate are synonymous, with many famous manufacturers exporting their chocolate all over the world. In some of the larger cities, there are smaller producers with excellent varieties well worth sampling.

The coastline, which stretches for 65 km is a popular tourist destination especially in the summer months, as are the forests that are spread throughout the whole country. The Ardennes is the picturesque green heart of Belgium, and the southernmost part benefits from a microclimate, far milder than the rest of the country.

Belgium is a country of contrasts, encompassing wonderful countryside walks and cycle rides, gastronomic tours and sophisticated city nightlife.
For a country so richly overflowing with history, architecture, and culture, it certainly can appeal to the most diverse group of travelers.

The US and Belgium

Belgium is home to more than a thousand public and private international organizations.

Belgium is host country of the headquarters of

  • NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
  • the E.U. (the European Union),
  • SHAPE (the Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe)
  • and the General Secretariat of the Benelux,

Belgium plays a major role in both Transatlantic and European diplomacy.

The United States and Belgium enjoy a good friendship and are close allies, with America’s part in helping Belgium gain liberation from Nazi Germany being remembered with goodwill and trust.

The two nations have established commercial interests, with Belgium hosting many US firms European offices. Taking part in numerous multilateral and bilateral trade and investment agreements have been mutually beneficial.

Roughly three-quarters of Belgium’s present trade is conducted with other members of the European Union, but it continues to expand its trade opportunities with non-EU countries.

Travelers to Belgium benefit from its central location in Europe and its advanced transport links.

Most travelers arriving on long-haul international flights arrive at Brussels Zaventem Airport conveniently located only twenty minutes from the city center.

Until the ETIAS scheme comes into effect in 2021 increased security measures in place at Belgium borders are likely to remain. Potential criminal activity is being met proactively.

Security operations, if needed, are highly likely to be carried out with no advance warning, Areas such as transport hubs, public transport and other locations frequented by visiting foreigners are potential locations of activity.

Police have specifically asked that members of the public do not comment on police operations on social media.

List of US diplomatic offices in Belgium

The Embassy of USA in Brussels, Belgium

Address: Regentlaan 27 Boulevard du Régent, B-1000 Brussels Belgium
Phone: (32-2) 811-4000
Fax: (32-2) 811-4500
Facts: Ronald J. Gidwitz – Ambassador

The Embassy of Belgium in Washington, USA

Address: 3330 Garfield Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008 United States
Phone: +1 202 333 69 00
Fax: +1 202 338 49 60
Email: [email protected]
Facts: Dirk Wouters – Ambassador

Consulate of Belgium in New York, USA

Address: One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, 885 Second Ave, 41st Fl New York, NY 10017 United States
Phone: +1 212 586 51 10
Email: [email protected]

Consulate of Belgium in Los Angeles, USA

Address: 6300, Wilshire Boulevard – Suite 720 Los Angeles, CA 90048 United States
Phone: +1 323 857 12 44
Email: [email protected]

Consulate of Belgium in Atlanta, USA

Address: 2445 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, FL, 33022-2480
Phone: (954) 925.1100
Fax: (954) 925.1101
Email: [email protected]

Who we are

ETIAS Schengen is your source of important information and updates about ETIAS, including the latest news and reports you should know regarding its introduction, enforcement, as well as ETIAS Visa application.