- Exercise a high degree of caution in Belgium due to the high threat of terrorist attack.
- Belgium's current National Terrorism Threat Level is Level 3 of 4, indicating that a serious and credible threat exists. See safety and security.
- Be vigilant in crowded places, including concerts, major events, train stations and airports, public transport, and shopping districts. Follow the media for information regarding your safety, follow the instructions of local authorities and report any suspicious activities to police.
- Authorities have increased security checks at land borders, international airports and train stations. Carry your passport with you when entering or leaving Belgium.
- Be alert to crime in Belgium, particularly in Brussels, Antwerp and other urban areas. Theft, muggings, bag snatching and pickpocketing are common in Brussels, particularly around major train stations, on intercity and international trains and in the metro. More serious robberies and assaults can also occur.
- Over the last year there have been significant pressures on border controls in Europe due to the movement of asylum seekers. Carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen zone. Monitor local media and other information from transport providers for up to date information on entry and exit changes and delays.
Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
Entry and exit
Belgium is a party to the Schengen Convention, along with a number of other European countries, which allows Australians to enter Belgium without a visa in some circumstances. See our
travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention for further information.
In the current threat environment, Belgian authorities have security checks at land borders, international airports and train stations. Carry your passport with you when entering or leaving Belgium. Contact your airline or travel agent for the latest information or check-in requirements.
As visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice, contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Belgium for the most up to date information.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Safety and Security
Belgium’s current National Terrorism Threat Level is Level 3 of 4, indicating that a serious and credible threat exists. Belgian authorities have security checks at land borders, international airports and train stations. Carry your passport with you when entering or leaving Belgium.
Belgian police continue to conduct anti-terror raids and have arrested several suspected militants.
Travellers are reminded that there is a heightened potential for police raids to take place with little or no warning in response to the raised terrorism threat. If you are in an area where a police raid is being conducted, remain indoors and close windows and blinds.
Keep an increased level of vigilance in places with high concentrations of people including concerts, major events, train stations and airports, public transport, and shopping districts. Follow the media for information regarding your safety, follow the instructions of local authorities and report any suspicious activities to police.
Recent attacks include:
- On 22 March 2016, terrorist attacks at Brussels National Airport (Zaventem) and at Maalbeek/Maelbeek metro station in the EU district of central Brussels killed 32 people and injured more than 300.
- In August 2015 a terrorist boarded the Thalys Brussels-Paris train and then conducted an attack that injured three people while the train was travelling in northern France.
- In May 2014, a terrorist killed four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
Security at the Australian Embassy in Brussels: Enhanced security arrangements are in place at the Australian Embassy in Brussels, in line with the high threat of terrorist attack. All visitors to the Embassy are subject to security screening. Do not bring luggage to the Embassy.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our
Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Crimes such as theft, muggings, bag snatching and pickpocketing are common in Brussels, Antwerp and other urban areas. Be aware of your surroundings and take additional care around transport hubs, tourist areas and in some inner city neighbourhoods, particularly at night. Seek local advice about the safety of particular neighbourhoods.
Women should be particularly careful, especially at night. See our
Female travellers page.
Pay very close attention to your personal belongings at major train stations, particularly at Gare du Midi/Zuidstation (South Station). Do not leave your luggage unattended. Petty crime, especially pickpocketing, is also common in urban and tourist areas such as Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent, particularly on public transport, but it can happen anywhere. Thieves are often professional and work in teams of two or three. Techniques used to distract victims include asking questions, spilling food or drink, or telling travellers someone has spilled something on their clothes.
Pickpockets operate on intercity and international trains travelling through Belgium and theft of valuables and passports does occur. Pay close attention to your valuables and passports on trains and in public transport and not leave them unattended. Keep travel documents on your person while travelling.
Civil unrest/political tension
Demonstrations are common in Belgium and are sometimes directed at Embassies, the European Union institutions and NATO. Protests can be large and occasionally turn violent. Monitor the media and other local information sources about possible demonstrations and avoid affected areas.
Belgium frequently hosts large international meetings attended by visiting heads of state and other senior government and business figures. Before and during these meetings, authorities often increase security measures at various locations around Brussels or other parts of Belgium, which can disrupt travel, especially in and around Brussels. Follow the instructions of local authorities and cooperate with security personnel during these events.
Money and valuables
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to
report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest
Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
There are severe penalties for traffic infringements. Penalties may include confiscation of your licence and/or vehicle and on-the-spot fines.
Drivers should be aware of local road rules, including the 'priority of the right' system where drivers must give way to the vehicles approaching from the right at intersections and from side roads (unless otherwise signposted). This is often a surprise to foreign drivers and results in accidents.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Belgium.
Please also refer to our general
air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Belgium, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Under Belgian law you are required to carry your passport or Belgian issued identity document at all times.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Information for dual nationals
Dual nationals page.
Take out comprehensive
travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The
World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our
health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of medical facilities in Belgium is high.
Belgium and Australia have a reciprocal health care agreement. The agreement ensures that Australians who visit Belgium are covered for subsidised treatment in the public health system, including hospital, medical care and prescription drugs. Travellers will be liable to pay any charges if treatment is provided to you as a private patient, including for medication. This agreement does not replace the need for travel insurance. For more information, see
Medicare Australia’s website.
If you wish to be treated under the reciprocal health agreement you must advise the local medical staff and show your current Australian passport or evidence of Australian permanent residency and a valid Medicare card.
Where to get help
Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.
If the matter relates to a criminal issue, report it to the nearest police station or contact them on the police emergency number 101. The national emergency number is 112.
To complain about tourism services or products, contact the provider directly.
Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:
Australian Embassy, Brussels
Level 7, Avenue des Arts/Kunstlaan 56
Telephone: +32 2 286 0500
Fax: +32 2 286 0576
See the Embassy
website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
Enhanced security is in place at the Australian Embassy in Brussels. All visitors to the Embassy are subject to security screening. Do not bring luggage to the Embassy.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the above mission, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.