Additional Resources for U.S. Citizens

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

Traveling abroad doesn’t have to be confusing if you know the right things before you go. In this section, we aim to provide you with the essentials if you are planning on traveling abroad.

However, in order to consult the most recent and updated information, we advise you to have a look at http://travel.state.gov/, the website the U.S. Department of State has designed especially to make American travelers aware of the requirements to be fulfilled and the cautions to be heeded when undertaking a trip abroad.

The following security procedures have been implemented at Brussels International Airport for flights to the United States. Passengers are advised that these measures are not identical to the procedures for flights departing the United States.

U.S.-bound passengers from Brussels can take one single piece of carry on luggage on board the airplane.

Passengers are requested to check in 3 hours prior to their scheduled departure time.

Electronics are allowed in carry on luggage.

Liquids and gels must be packed in your checked baggage, except for the following liquids which may be transported in carry on luggage:

  • Mothers milk, baby food, and fruit juice for accompanying babies or little children.
  • Prescription medicines
  • Insulin and other necessary medication without prescription.

Additionally, liquids, gels, and creams can be purchased at the airport shops but they will be delivered by airport staff to the aircraft where passengers can take them on board. Airport shops will assist passengers with this procedure and answer any questions passengers may have.

These security measures also apply to passengers transferring to a U.S.-bound flight at Brussels Airport.

Important

Please note that the European Union has recently adopted security measures pertaining to the carriage of liquids as carry on luggage which will go into effect shortly. The new measures will modify the procedures set forth above with respect to the transportation of liquids as carry-on luggage. We will update this broadcast message upon implementation of the new measures. Prior to traveling, or for further information please visit the Brussels Airport website at: http://www.brusselsairport.be/en/ or contact your airline.

For information regarding security procedures for domestic and international flights departing U.S. airports, please visit the Transportation Security Administration’s website at: http://www.tsa.gov/.

State Department Publications on Belgium

Information About Belgian Life, Politics, and Culture

Fingerprints

The U.S. Embassy is not authorized to respond to private requests to collect fingerprints from U.S. citizens for law enforcement or other purposes.  Although local police stations may be able to assist you with your fingerprinting needs, we have been told that many do not provide this service.  Since it is becoming more and more difficult for U.S. citizens to obtain fingerprints overseas, U.S. citizens considering moving to Belgium are advised to obtain prints in the United States before departing, or while returning for visits.

Information about obtaining an FBI Records Check, is available from the FBI website.

Currently there is no fingerprint facility available in Belgium.  However, you may refer to this website page for a local certified service provider for fingerprint collection in Paris, France or London, U.K. :

http://www.fingerprintsparis.com  *

Emergency numbers, websites, Twitter sources that American citizens and the local population may need in time of a crisis. 

Emergency number in Europe and Belgium: 112

The European emergency number 112 is not the only emergency number in Belgium:

  • 100 – medical emergency and fire brigade,
  • 101 – police

Crisis Center Belgium

Belga News Agency

Brussels Police

Federal Police

Brussels Airport

City of Brussels

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

Information About Marriage

Officers at American embassies and consulates have no authority to perform marriages in foreign countries. It is usually the laws and regulations of the country that prevail.

Belgian marriage requirements for American citizens

Caveat: Because it is the laws and regulations of Belgium that are applicable for marriage in Belgium, it is recommended that you contact the Belgian marriage officer in your jurisdiction of residency in Belgium to inquire about the requirements.

The competent Belgian authority performing marriages is called “Ambtenaar van de Burgerlijke Stand/Officier de l’ Etat Civil”. Only marriages celebrated by this official in due and legal form are valid. A religious ceremony may, however, be performed subsequently at the option of the contracting parties.

In general, the following is required:

In order to contract marriage in Belgium, one of the parties must reside in the country. There is no specific period of residence, but several weeks are generally necessary for completion of the required formalities. If neither of the parties has a fixed residence in Belgium, one of them must establish a residence for this purpose. Upon arrival in Belgium, the party registers with the communal authorities in the district of his domicile and requests a “Bewijs van Woonst voor Huwelijksdoeleinden/Certificat de Domicile pour Mariage” (Certificate of Residence for Marriage Purposes). The party residing in Belgium (or the one who has established a residence as explained above), may submit the following required documents for both parties, and request publication of the banns in the commune in which he or she resides. The marriage may be performed ten days after posting of the banns.

In addition to the “Certificate of Residence for Marriage Purposes”, the parties contracting marriage in Belgium are each required to produce the following documents:

  1. a certified copy of the birth certificate;
  2. a certificate of residence showing full name, place and date of birth, last legal residence, nationality and marital status of the individuals. The Belgian communal authorities will deliver such a certificate to the party registered in Belgium. The party not registered in Belgium must obtain it from the authorities of his or her last place of residence **;
  3. if one of the parties has been previously married, proof must be furnished of the dissolution of the former marriage, either in the form of
    • a death certificate of the former spouse, or
    • an authenticated copy of a divorce decree, as appropriate.

When the divorce decree does not indicate the date on which the divorce became final, a statement to that effect, delivered by the court which pronounced the divorce, must also be produced.

All official documents issued in a foreign country (e.g. the United States) must be authenticated by means of the “Apostille”, an international authentication procedure recognized in the United States of America and Belgium. In the United States, the “Apostille” is issued by the office of the Secretary of State in the state where the document was issued. If the documents are written in a language other than the language in which the marriage is to be celebrated in Belgium, they must be translated by a sworn translator (a list of sworn translators can be found in the yellow pages of the Belgian telephone directory). If the translation is not made in Belgium, the signature of the translator must also be authenticated as explained above.

** A person whose last place of residence was in the United States will not be able to obtain a certificate of residence since this document is not available in the United States. In that case, the person should inquire from the commune authorities what they will accept instead of a U.S. certificate of residence.

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

Tourists/Temporary Visitors

Tourists and temporary visitors are allowed to drive in Belgium on a valid license from a U.S. state. An International Driver’s License is not required but some car rental companies may require one.  The same rule applies for bearers of Belgian driver’s licenses who are temporary visitors to the United States.

International Driver’s Licenses are obtainable through the local city administration offices in Belgium, or through the American Automobile Association in the United States.

Renewing Your U.S. Driver’s License

U.S. driver’s licenses are state documents and can therefore not be renewed or extended by the federal government. If you need to renew your license, you should contact the Motor Vehicle Department that issued the original license.

List of Motor Vehicle Departments

Click here to retrieve a list of the State Motor Vehicle Departments.