Information About COVID-19 and Travel to the United States

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U.S. Embassy Brussels has suspended routine consular services.   Emergency consular services will continue to be available, including emergency passports.  U.S. citizens requesting an emergency appointment must write to or call +32 (0)2 811 4000 (8am-10am M-F unless critically urgent).  The embassy will continue to accept routine U.S. passport renewals by mail, however you should expect significant delays due to public health measures affecting passport printing facilities in the United States. Foreign citizens with an urgent need to travel to the United States please see the section below about Presidential Proclamation 9993.

According to current information, there will be no direct commercial air service from Belgium to the United States until at least July.  In the meantime, commercial flights to the United States on a variety of carriers are expected to continue out of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Frankfurt, Germany, and London, United Kingdom, although many travelers have reported unexpected flight cancellations and limited flight availability.  U.S. citizens seeking to depart Belgium by land to board one of these flights are advised that governments throughout Europe have restricted cross-border travel to essential movements only.  In order to demonstrate that your travel is essential, you should only attempt to cross a border on the day of your flight with a plan to head immediately to the airport.  You should be prepared to show a flight reservation with direct return to the United States.  U.S. Embassy Brussels urges citizens to comply with instructions given by local authorities and cannot intervene on your behalf should you be refused passage.

Brussels airport remains open, although with very limited flights.  If you plan to fly from Brussels and transit another airport en route to the United States, you should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice – permission to board will depend on airline and airport authorities.  We strongly discourage booking a flight with a long layover.  If your planned travel has been disrupted, please contact your airline directly. Additional information about local conditions is available on the Embassy’s COVID-19 webpage.  The U.S. government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights in Belgium at this time. If you will stay in Belgium, Federal Public Service Interior has posted information relevant to U.S. citizens prevented from leaving on how to extend their stay. If you have or are considering leaving Belgium temporarily, FPS Interior has posted important information about Travel to Belgium during the temporary travel restrictions.

Travelers to the United States from specified countries in Europe must stay home for 14 days after travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing: Department of Homeland Security Outlines New Process for Americans Returning from Certain European Countries (including Belgium), China, and Iran.

Presidential Proclamation 9993 suspends the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

This proclamation does not apply to:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Lawful permanent residents (LPR) of the United States

There are several other exceptions to Presidential Proclamation 9993.  If you are not a U.S. citizen or LPR, you have an urgent need to travel to the United States, and you believe you qualify for an exception to the proclamation, you will fall into one of two categories:

I DO NOT currently have a valid visa: please follow the instructions to apply for an expedited visa appointment.

I DO currently have a valid visa: If you clearly meet an exception to PP 9993, such as your spouse is a U.S. citizen/LPR or you have a U.S. citizen/LPR child under 21, you will need to bring that proof with you to the airport when you travel.  (i.e. Marriage certificate or birth certificate and proof of U.S. citizenship or LPR status of the person you are claiming an exception from).  C1/D crew, A, G, and NATO categories with valid visas are also excepted from the proclamation.  Embassy Brussels will no longer provide travel letters in these situations – the airlines are familiar with the requirements.  If you believe you qualify for an exception as a professional athlete, medical professional, or other less common situations, we strongly recommend that you email us before you attempt to board a flight, as the requirements are very specific:

Please be aware that ESTA approvals will be canceled if you attempt to board a flight departing from the Schengen Area, UK, or Ireland to the United States while the Proclamation is in effect without prior coordination with the airline.  To avoid the risk of being denied boarding, we strongly recommend you already have or apply for a visa if you believe you qualify for an exception. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has an FAQ page about ESTA travel that addresses proclamation questions and questions about extending your stay in the United States due to the current situation.

We will also continue to process lost/stolen green card requests as proof of LPR status will be required for boarding an aircraft to the United States.