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MESSAGE FOR U.S. CITIZENS: SECURITY DURING THE HOLIDAYS AND EMBASSY CLOSURES
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MESSAGE FOR U.S. CITIZENS: SECURITY DURING THE HOLIDAYS AND EMBASSY CLOSURES

As the holiday season approaches, U.S. citizens should remain vigilant of their surroundings and practice sound personal security and situational awareness.  Large gatherings may present a target of opportunity for terrorist groups and criminals.  Terrorists – including lone actors – may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations such as markets, transportation hubs, shopping malls, places of worship, and other public areas.  Distracted tourists and holiday shoppers may fall victim to pickpockets and other petty criminals.  Visitors to congested and popular tourist areas should pay particular attention to their surroundings and always follow the instructions of police and emergency response officials.

The Belgian government has set the general threat level at 3 (“serious”).  As a result, residents and visitors throughout Belgium may see a heightened security presence in public areas.

U.S. citizens traveling to Belgium should review the Country Specific Information at travel.state.gov and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for the latest travel advice and information. The Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy will maintain regular business hours this holiday season, except on: 

December 25, 2023 – Closed for Christmas Day 

December 26, 2023 – Closed for Boxing Day 

January 1, 2024 – Closed for New Year’s Day 

January 15, 2024 – Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. holiday 

Actions to take: 

  • Avoid large demonstrations. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If you see something that seems odd or out of place, immediately notify the nearest law enforcement officer and move away from the area.
  • Always carry your cellphone, programmed with local emergency numbers; Ambulance and Fire Brigade (100), Europe-wide emergency number (police)(112).
  • Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Follow the instructions of authorities and road signs regarding closures and detours.
  • Monitor local media for updates.
  • Keep a low profile.

Assistance: