At present, many non-EU citizens do not need a visa to visit Europe. Furthermore, once in the Schengen Zone, tourists are able to move freely throughout most of the continent without hard borders.
As of 2021, however, this will change. Non-EU citizens who wish to travel to Belgium will need an ETIAS visa waiver for Belgium. This is the same for all of the countries that make up the Schengen Area.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS, is a visa waiver program that is meant to strengthen the borders of the Schengen Zone. Keeping record and pre-screening all non-EU visitors who wish to enter and travel throughout Europe will do this.
The ETIAS screens all applicants prior to their arrival in Belgium. After visitors are approved for a Belgium ETIAS they are able to move freely throughout the Schengen zone for up to 90 days.
Apart from the added first step, this is much like the system that was in place currently. It is important to know that this does not just apply for Belgium but is the same for all EU countries found within the Schengen area.
Belgium, the EU, and the Schengen Area
Belgium is found in Western Europe. Officially, Belgium has three languages; Dutch, French, and German. Brussels is the capital city that houses NATO and the European Union headquarters.
Belgium has a strong global economy and its currency is the euro. Belgium was one of the first countries to make up the European Union and joined the Schengen Zone in 1995.
The Schengen Area is made up of 26 countries and its purpose is to function as one jurisdiction for international travel. Once the area is entered, a visitor can travel around without hard borders or additional passport controls. As a part of the Schengen Zone, tourists who visit Belgium can travel to any of the other Schengen countries.
Who Needs ETIAS to Travel to Belgium?
Once the system is in place, citizens of non-EU countries will have to apply to ETIAS before traveling to Belgium. Even those who are currently allowed to travel to Europe visa-free will need an ETIAS beginning in 2021.
The ETIAS Belgium oversees all applicants who wish to enter Belgium or another country found within the Schengen Area. Once applicants are deemed non-threatening, they are able to travel within the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days.
The ETIAS allows visitors to travel the entirety of the Schengen Zone for tourist, business, medical, and transit reasons. Currently, there are over 60 countries that are required to apply for an ETIAS if they wish to travel to Europe.
Passport and Document Requirements for Belgium ETIAS
While the application process is straightforward, it is important to prepare all the documents beforehand. The requirements to apply for a Belgium ETIAS are as follows:
- Valid passport
- Issue and expiry dates
- Minimum validity of three months from the date of arrival
- Brief medical history
- Education and work experience
- Any previous visits to war zones
- Criminal record (if applicable)
- Any prior countries that applicant was deported or rejected from
It is worth noting that guardians have to complete an application for any minors under their care. Additionally, those with family members who are EU citizens will have to submit proof of relationship, residence card, and/or other background details.
How Can I Apply for Belgium ETIAS?
The ETIAS application is simple and affordable. Applicants can apply from home or anywhere with internet access. Hereby, there is no time wasted making appointments or waiting in long lines at an embassy or consulate.
Once the ETIAS requirements for Belgium are met, the applications process begins. This takes about 10 minutes and is done online. Expect to answer the following to complete the application:
- Biometric information
- First and last names
- Last name at birth
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Current address
- Email address and phone number
- The name of the EU country that will be entered upon arrival
- Payment for the application fee
Travel Information about Belgium
Belgium is famous for medieval towns and Renaissance architecture. The capital is Brussels which is known as the historical center of the region. Travelers will encounter the European Union Headquarters, NATO, and regal parliament buildings.
History buffs will find the medieval cities of Bruges and Ghent charming. With rivers in both cities and architecture dating back to the 13th century, it is sure to be a memorable experience. Antwerp is another port city that goes back to the Middle Ages. It is home to the Diamond District that used to house diamond traders and cutters in the earlier centuries.
Those with a sweet tooth will be eager to taste all the rich, Belgian chocolate. The country is also famous for street food like waffles and fries, both of which should not be overlooked either. Of course, Belgium beer is the most sought-after beverage that tourists want. No matter what indulgence is tried, Belgium is sure to please.