Belgium is saddled with innumerable things to do due to its size. Its cities which include Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp are historical and picturesque. Moreover, Belgians produce the best forms of beer and chocolate.
Germany lies to the East whereas France lies to the southwest of Belgium which itself is located at the crossroads of West Europe. Furthermore, Holland lies to the north whereas Luxembourg lies to the southeast of Belgium. Belgium's population is 11.5 million and its capital is Brussels.
Three official languages are spoken in Belgium which include Dutch, French and German. Languages are spoken based on the areas. In the South of Belgium, French is spoken whereas in the North, Dutch is used. In Brussels, the officially the capital of Belgium and unofficially the capital of European Union, both languages are spoken.
The main reason for Belgium's fascinating history and varying ownership over the centuries is its geographical location. It was in the ownership of Germans during World War I and II, and the Carolingian, Habsburg and Napoleonic Empires.
BELGIUM BASIC INFORMATION
Belgium is located in the western Europe and is officially known as the Kingdom of Belgium. It has an area of 30,689 km2 (11,849 square miles) and a population of approximately 11.5 million.
Belgium's topography consists of rolling hills in the center, mountains in the southeast and coastal plains to the northwest direction.
In addition to bordering Belgium, the North Sea also borders other ETIAS countries which include France, Germany, Luxembourg and Netherlands.
Belgium's climate is moderate which comprises of mild winters and summers. Moreover, it has around 200 days of rainfall annually. Brussels faces high temperatures of approximately 23 ºC (73 ºF) in summers and low temperatures of around 6 or 7 ºC (42 or 44 ºF) during winters.
BELGIUM AS PART OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Belgium founded the European Union alongside ETIAS countries and Italy. Around 21 members of EU Parliament are from Belgium which holds a significant position in the EU ever since its creation.
Brussels is referred to the de facto capital of European Union as it contains the official positions of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European Council and the European Parliament.
Belgium created a borderless travel zone of Europe by being one of the members of the Schengen Agreement in 1985.
Belgium is working on a new visa waiver for the Schengen Area which is expected to be introduced in 2022 aiming to curb the crimes which take place across borders in and across Belgium.
TRAVELLING TO BELGIUM
Belgium is becoming an increasingly famous location when it comes to tourism. The tourism growth rate was 8.9% in 2018 according to Eurostat figures which is higher in comparison to the earlier year. It is an increasingly popular destination within Europe.
The beautiful architecture, fascinating places and incredible nature leave the visitors in awe hence attracting tourists from all over the globe. Furthermore, Belgium's location which is in proximity to the European countries makes it a suitable place for entrepreneurial activities.
Travelling is predominant in Brussels thus it is referred to as the hub for European travel. It is connected to main cities through rail, road, and air which make commuting convenient and feasible.
The European Union's visa liberalization policy permits people from different nations to stay in the EU for about 90 days even when they have or do not have the visa for it. This is one of the causes of Belgium's popularity. Furthermore, if these visitors apply for ETIAS, they can avail free visa luxuries from 2022 onwards.
Another reason why Belgium is a good tourist site is because of its proficiency in English which reduces the language barrier for foreign visitors. This is because it is known to have a ‘very high' English by the EF English Proficiency Index.
IS HEALTH INSURANCE NEEDED FOR BELGIUM?
Health insurance for visitors in Belgium from other European countries can be accessed using the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
However, for visitors outside of European nations, the requirement of healthcare insurance relies on the type of document being applied for.
Medical insurance for ETIAS Belgium
People who have passports from countries which do not require a European visa can register with ETIAS Belgium. With a few details, a permit is granted. However, visitors are usually advised to be precautious while travelling.
Health insurance for Schengen visa for Belgium
Travelers from other countries apart from the EU are not eligible for ETIAS hence they are required to attain a Schengen visa in order to gain entry in Belgium.
Applicants should comply with the criteria and provide documents which include the evidence of medical insurance for without these, application for visa will get dismissed. This policy is valid for the totality of the Schengen Area.
CROSSING BELGIUM BORDER CHECKPOINTS
Visitors from European countries arriving in Belgium can travel without being stopped at checkpoints. However, citizens from other countries except the EU are required to carry their identification documents while moving across the Schengen region.
With a valid passport, visitors from non-European Union countries can not only cross the Belgium border but can also stay in it for about 90 days. Later these visitors will also require visa waiver once ETIAS becomes compulsory.
Visitors from non- European Union countries are required to provide documents which include:
- Visa for Schengen Area
- A valid passport which was issued within last decade and is valid for 3 months after the date of departure from the Schengen region
- Proof of abundant funds to afford the expenses for stay in Belgium
- Evidence of travel after landing into Schengen region such as a ticket for return flight
Foreign visitors are expected to come across questions pertaining to the span of stay and reason for visiting Belgium on the border.
ARRIVING IN BELGIUM BY PLANE, CAR, AND TRAIN
The nation's main international airport is Brussels Airport which is linked to the capital by efficient public transportation.
Flying to Belgium is a feasible option due to the huge availability of flights to main cities across the globe. For instance, travelling by air from Paris to Brussels is just an hour long.
Travelling by rail is a preferable substitute to traveling by air. Brussels is linked to Luxembourg, Strasbourg in France and Basel in Switzerland via high-speed trains.
Driving over land borders without restrictions is a possibility due to the internal borders not being present in the Schengen area. It is important that the non-European Union citizens have their passports on them.
Brussels, the capital of Belgium is a combination of post-modern architecture with ancient monuments.
A number of picturesque UNESCO heritage locations are present in Brussels for instance the Grand Place, encompassed by houses and the Gothic town hall. Other historical places include St Gudula Cathedral and the Royal Palace.
Belgium's most famous touristy location is Bruges. It is referred to as the ‘Venice of the north' due to its unique canals and fascinating environment. In the 1300s it was one of Europe's richest cities.
Belgium's second largest city, Antwerp is also known for its diamond abundant region and the huge Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady.
Belgium has given birth to a number of world-recognized artists including René Magritte, Paul Delvaux, and James Ensor. There are 80 museums in Brussels which include the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, and Koninklijk Museum Voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp.
There is a range of forests, caves and cliffs for visitors who are attracted to adventure. It is a habitat for lynx, deer, and wild boar and is feasible for outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling. Other regions to visit include the villages, the castle of Bouillon and the Labyrinth of Barvaux.
Belgium is known for its immaculate selection of high-quality beer, chocolates, muffles and waffles. On the other hand, the cuisine in Belgium is denser and more diverse and is similar to French and German gastronomy.
ETIAS VISA WAIVER FOR BELGIUM
In 2022 and onwards, it will be necessary for the visitors from the earlier mentioned third nations to apply for ETIAS prior to visiting Belgium. It is very easy to obtain the ETIAS online and is a matter of minutes.
Approximately 18 million visitors arrive in Belgium every year. Most of them travel without a visa due to the visa liberation policy of European Union. However, these travelers will have to get registered prior to their departure the moment implementation of European Travel Information and Authorization System takes place.
This authorization is aimed to improve safety through screening of all non- European Union citizens prior to their arrival all over the Schengen region. These foreign visitors will be required to give fundamental personal details. Their passports will be checked in the database of Schengen security to make sure that individual visiting does not create any harm for the general public living in Belgium.
The individual's passport is electronically connected to the approved ETIAS which is valid for 3 years, or until the expiry of passport. It can be used several times for entry lasting for up to 90 days in a time span of 180 days.
ETIAS FOR BELGIUM- FAQS
Which countries can be visited from Belgium?
Absence of internal borders exists in the Schengen travel areas which means that visitors can easily commute between the countries without any hindrances at checkpoints on borders. Belgium is bordered by 4 countries, all of which are part of the Schengen Area. The ETIAS visa waiver can be used to access France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. All European ETIAS countries can be visited with the same authorization hence there is no requirement to apply separately for each nation. visa Travelers for Non- EU nations are not required to have a visa in order to stay in Belgium for up to 90 days for activities such as business or tourism. These individuals will also be required to register online for ETIAS online before arrival in Europe. Individuals who are not eligible for ETIAS need to attain a visa for the Schengen region.
What documents do I need to visit Belgium?
Individuals belonging to countries which do not require a visa will need an ETIAS for Belgium if they are visiting it for the purposes of tourism or business and staying for less than or equal to 90 days. The EU liberation policy compliments the visa waiver. After approval, the permit to ETIAS gets electronically connected to the passport and can be used to arrive in Belgium before it expires. Travelers who are unable to meet the requirements for ETIAS will be required to present a Belgium or Schengen visa to enter the nation.