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International Travel

English

Country Information

Belgium

Country Information

Belgium
Kingdom of Belgium
Last Updated: March 17, 2017
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

2 pages minimum

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under 90 days

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

10,000 Euros or equivalent

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

10,000 Euros or equivalent

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Brussels

27 Boulevard du Régent (the Consular Section is at 25 Boulevard du Régent)
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
Telephone:+(32) (2) 811-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:+(32) (0) 2-811-4000
Fax: +(32) (2) 811-4546

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Belgium for information on U.S.–Belgium relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Belgium is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Visit the Embassy of Belgium website for the most current visa information.

  • Passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your stay. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
  • You may enter for Belgium for up to 90 days for tourist purposes without a visa.

HIV/AIDS RESTRICITONS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Belgium.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our customs information page

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Safety and Security

Terrorism: Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. 

Demonstrations occur regularly. Large, public demonstrations take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstrations tend to take place on politically significant holidays and during international summits hosted in the country. 

  • Demonstration organizers must obtain prior police approval, and police routinely oversee participants.
  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. 
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates on the situation and traffic advisories.  
  • Security messages issued regarding demonstrations are now posted on the U.S. Mission’s website.  

Crime:

  • Low-level street crime including robberies, smash and grab car robberies, purse snatchings, and pickpocketing is common, particularly in major cities, in public areas such as restaurants, the Brussels metro at night, and the Gare du Midi. Thieves often operate in teams, by bumping into or shoving the target, especially in crowds. Be alert to distractions.
  • Theft from vehicles is a common problem. Always drive with your windows up and the doors locked, as thieves sometimes target cars stopped at traffic lights. Thieves may smash the window and grab valuables. Use parking garages when possible, and if you must use street parking, look for a spot near a street light. 
  • Carry only a minimum amount of cash, credit cards, and necessary personal identification. 
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and watches.

U.S. citizens have lost tens of thousands of dollars in scams, in Belgium. See our website on international financial scams to protect yourself while traveling. A common internet scam is for friends, family, or others receive a message that a U.S. citizen traveler is stranded in Belgium and in need of funds to pay for customs fees. These are confidence schemes. Funds transferred in response to such offers are rarely recovered. U.S. citizens in the United States who have been victimized by Internet crime should report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. U.S. citizens present in Belgium who have been victimized should contact the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels (Telephone 011-32-2-811-4057). Depending on the circumstances, the Regional Security Office can then direct you to the appropriate Belgian, U.S., or international law enforcement agency.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 101. For all other emergencies, please dial 112. Contact the U.S. Embassy at +(32) (2) 811-4000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

The Belgian Commission for Financial Assistance to Victims of Intentional Acts of Violence provides financial compensation, under specific circumstances, for victims of crime and for those who have suffered injuries and consequent losses caused by such incidents. The Commission also provides for dependents or immediate family members of homicide victims. For more information, contact the Commission by phone at 32 2 542-7208; 32 2 542-7218; 32 2 542-7224; 32 2 542-7229, or 32 2 542-7244; by e-mail at commission.victimes@just.fgov.be or commissie.slachtoffers@just.fgov.be; or visit the Ministry of Justice website (French, Dutch, and German only).

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Belgium are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our webpageon crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Belgium.

See our LGBTI travel information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights Report for further details.

Persons with Mobility Issues: While in Belgium, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. Although Belgian law requires that any new building with public or community space must be accessible for persons with disabilities, many existing buildings as well as public transportation systems are less adapted to individuals with disabilities. General information on the accessibility of tourist accommodations, public transportation, museums, and other tourist facilities can be found on the Belgian Tourist Office's website.

Students: See our students abroad page.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.

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Health

High-quality medical facilities and services are widely available in Belgium. The large university hospitals can handle almost every medical problem. The Embassy's Consular Section maintains a list of English-speaking doctors. Equivalents for most, but not all, U.S. medications are available through local pharmacies with a prescription from a Belgian physician. The responsiveness of emergency services is also generally excellent.

  • Emergency medical treatment is free of charge, however, the patient is charged for follow-up care.
  • We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that the U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
  • Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
  • Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.
  • Obtain supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
  • Carry prescriptions medication in its original packing, along with your doctor’s prescription.
  • Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Obtain travel insurance that covers illness, injury, death, and medical evacuations.

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: 

  • Belgium’s road network is generally well built and maintained.
  • Sufficient lighting exists on major highways, but on rural roads it is often insufficient or nonexistent.
  • Roadside assistance and information on road conditions are available in English from Touring Mobilis, telephone 02 286-3040. Belgian police will also provide information on road conditions, telephone 02-642-6666.
  • Emergency services are efficient and responsive. For police emergencies, dial 101 by phone within Belgium. For all other emergencies, dial 112.

Traffic Laws:   

  • Traffic coming from the right generally has priority at uncontrolled intersections, even if coming from a smaller street.
  • The maximum speed limit on Belgian highways is 120 kilometers (72 miles) per hour, but is not always posted.
  • The maximum speed in urban areas is 50 km (30 miles) per hour, but in central Brussels it is 30 km (19 miles) per hour.
  • While Belgian authorities strictly enforce speed limits, many Belgians still drive significantly faster than the posted limit. Claiming ignorance of the speed limit may not prevent you from getting a significant fine for speeding, and your vehicle may be impounded if you can’t pay the fine on the spot. Automated radars with cameras are common and violators are issued citations through the mail.
  • Belgian police also conduct breath analysis checks for alcohol use, particularly at night and during major holidays. The legal limit for operating a motor vehicle is .05 percent blood alcohol content.
  • You must use your seat belt while driving in a vehicle.
  • Bicycling is very common in Belgium, for both recreational and more traditional transportation purposes. It is strongly advised to wear helmets at all times.

Public Transportation: Brussels and most major cities of Belgium have extensive and efficient public transportation systems. Trains, buses, and ferries connect Brussels with other major cities in Belgium and with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands. Traveling by train is considered to be safer than driving.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the country’s national tourist office and the Belgian national authority responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Belgium’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Belgium’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Belgium should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci.  Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil, and the NGA broadcast warnings website and select “broadcast warnings.”

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Brussels

27 Boulevard du Régent (the Consular Section is at 25 Boulevard du Régent)
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
Telephone:+(32) (2) 811-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:+(32) (0) 2-811-4000
Fax: +(32) (2) 811-4546

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General Information

Belgium and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since May 1, 1999.

For information concerning travel to Belgium, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Belgium.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Belgium.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website: travel.state.gov

The Belgian Central Authority (BCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Service Public Fédéral Justice.  The BCA has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications.  The BCA forwards completed Hague applications to the appropriate Public Prosecutor in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides.  The Public Prosecutor brings the case on behalf of Belgium.  The BCA can be reached at:

The BCA can be reached at:

Belgium Central Authority
Service Public Fédéral Justice
Direction general de la Législation et des Libertés et Droits fondamentaux
Service de cooperation international civile
Autorité centrale d’Entraide judiciaire internationale en matiére civile
Boulevard de Waterloo 115
B-1000 Bruxelles
Tel.:  +32 (2) 542 67 00
Fax:  +32 (2) 542 70 06
e-mail: rapt-parental@just.fgov.be/ kinderontvoering@just.fgov.be

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Belgium, the USCA encourages parents to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the BCA.  All documents written in English must be translated into either Dutch or French, depending on the area where the child is located in Belgium.  The USCA can help you determine the correct language for translation.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  Any competent person or organization may translate the documents.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the BCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or Belgian Central Authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Belgium.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Belgium.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit a Hague Abduction Convention application to a court in Belgium.  The BCA assigns a Public Prosecutor to present a Hague case before the appropriate court.  However, the Public Prosecutor does not represent the left-behind parent or legal guardian who submitted the application; instead, the Public Prosecutor represents Belgium and submits the request for return on behalf of the BCA.  The Public Prosecutor will not have direct contact with the left-behind parent or legal guardian. 

Parents or legal guardians have the option to hire a private attorney to represent them.   However, all attorney fees will be the applicant’s responsibility.  The BCA will withdraw from the Hague case if an applicant hires a private attorney, but they will continue to provide information on the Hague Abduction Convention, if requested, and will monitor the progress of the case, if they are aware of it.

The U.S. Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases.  The BCA does not provide mediation services directly; however, the BCA provides referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services.  Mediation is voluntary.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Belgium is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Belgium and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

Belgium is not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a Belgian orphan by foreigners is unlikely. No Belgian orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas in the past five fiscal years. The information provided is intended primarily to assist in extremely rare adoption cases from Belgium, including adoptions of Belgian children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in Belgium.

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Belgium is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Belgium, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Belgium also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be resident in Belgium to adopt.

  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Minimum age to adopt is 25, and the minimum age difference between the prospective adoptive parents and the adopted child is 15 years. For the adoption of a child of the spouse/cohabiting partner, the minimum age is 18 and the minimum age difference is 10 years.

  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: To adopt together prospective adoptive parents must be married, be legally registered as a cohabiting couple or have lived together on an ongoing basis and having an emotional commitment for at least three years.

  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: Income is discussed in the home study. There are no minimum requirements but the prospective adoptive parents must be able to take financial care of an adoption child.

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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Belgium is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Belgium must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Belgium attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Belgium's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.

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How to Adopt

BELGIUM'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY(IES)

Residents of the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium should contact:

Kind en Gezin
Hallepoortlaan 27
1060 Brussels
e-mail: adoptie@kindengezin.be
tel.: (02) 533 14 76

Residents of the French-speaking part of Belgium should contact:

Autorité Communautaire pour l'Adoption Internationale (ACAI)
Boulevard Leopold II, 44,
1080 Brussels
tel.: (02) 413 2726.

Residents of the German-speaking community should contact:

Ministerium der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft 
Zentrale Behörde der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft für Adoptionen 

Gospertstrasse 1
B-4700 Eupen
Fax.: +32 (87) 55 64 74
Tel.: + 32 (87) 59 63 46

THE PROCESS

Because Belgium is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Belgium must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Belgium before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Belgium
  6. Bring your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Belgium is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Belgium.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible"? and "suitable"? to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Belgium. Belgium's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Belgium's law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Belgium determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Belgium may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. 

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Belgium's adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Belgium:

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Belgium, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Belgium.

    The following are the adoption procedures for American citizens living in Belgium who want to adopt a child from a third country:

    • ADOPTION APPLICATION - ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: Apply to the central authority of your community (Flemish or French speaking). After submitting your application, you will be invited to take a preparation course required for all prospective adoptive parents.

    • ROLE OF THE COURT: With the certificate of completion of the preparation course, a request is filed with the court to find you eligible to adopt. The court will order a home study. A service for the home study will invite you for four interviews. A social worker and psychologist will do the interview and make a report to advise the judge. The judge will then decide whether you are eligible to adopt. Note: The adoption of a Belgian child by citizens living in the United States (very exceptional, normally only for adoption of family-members) will be pronounced by a Belgian court.

    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Prospective adoptive parents should contact the adoption authority for the region of Belgium where they reside for information on Belgian adoption agencies. The adoption agency will send the file of the applicant(s) to the country of origin and wait for them to propose a child for adoption.

      The country of origin will send the file on an adoptable child to the adoption agency. After the approval of the match by the central authority, the prospective adoptive parents will be informed and the procedure in the country of origin may continue.

    • TIME FRAME: The time it takes to complete an adoption varies, depending on the child's country of origin.

    • ADOPTION FEES: Most fees will depend on the child's country of origin. Belgian fees, not including pre-approved fees (including the home study), vary depending on which community (Flemish-speaking, French speaking) the prospective adoptive parents reside in.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Judgment of eligibility and home study are always necessary. Other documents depend on the country of origin of the child.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help.

  6. Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

      For more information on this process, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Belgium.

    • Belgium Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Belgium.

      A passport can be obtained in the community where the child is registered.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's"? medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.

      Note: The U.S. Embassy in Belgium does not issue Immigrant Visas. All Immigrant Visa for Belgium are issued by the U.S. Consulate General in Naples, Italy.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad : The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States : The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport 
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Belgium. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

Obtaining Your Visa
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Belgium, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip 
Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability. 

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Belgium, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Belgium
Boulevard du Regent 25
1000 Brussels
tel.: (02) 508-2537
fax: (02) 513- 0409
E-mail: uscitizenbrussels@state.gov
Telephone: +358-9-616-25730

Belgium's Adoption Authority (ies)
Residents of the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium should contact:

Kind en Gezin
Hallepoortlaan 27
1060 Brussels
tel.: (02) 533 1476
email adoptie@kindengezin.be

Residents of the French-speaking part of Belgium should contact:

Autorité Communautaire pour l'Adoption Internationale (ACAI)
Boulevard Leopold II, 44,
1080 Brussels
tel.: (02) 413 2726.

Residents of the German-speaking community should contact:

Ministerium der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft 
Zentrale Behörde der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft für Adoptionen 

Gospertstrasse 1
B-4700 Eupen
Fax.: +32 (87) 55 64 74
Tel.: + 32 (87) 59 63 46

Embassy of Belgium
3330 Garfield Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
tel.: (202) 333-6900
Fax (202) 333-5457
E-mail: washington@diplobel.org

Belgium also has Consulates in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 24 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. Issued upon a written request by the Office of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil/Burgerlijke Stand) of the commune of birth.

Death/Burial

Available. Issued by the Officer of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil/Burgerlijke Stand) of the commune in which the death occurred.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available. Issued upon a written request by the Officer of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil/Dienst Bevolking) of the commune where the marriage took place.

Divorce

Divorce Decree: If desired, it may be obtained by written request, addressed to the Clerk of the Lower Court (Greffe du Tribunal de lere Instance/Griffie van de Rechtbank van Eerste Aanleg) in the commune in which the judgment was rendered.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Certificate of Residence

Available. Issued by the Census Office (Bureau de la Population/Dienst Bevolking) of the commune of the applicant's last residence.

Certificate of Nationality

Available. Issued by the Census Office (Bureau de la Population/Dienst Bevolking) of the commune of last residence.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Persons 16 years of age and older should request a police certificate (French, Dutch) from the Ministry of Justice, Boulevard de Waterloo, 80 at 1000 Brussels. Application may be made in person or by mail. A written request (also by fax), indicating the reason for the request, should contain the following:

  • Full name (including middle and maiden names)
  • Current address
  • Date and place of birth
  • The number and place of issuance (if known) of the Belgian Identity Card used while the person resided in Belgium and/or the number of the passport used while living in Belgium
  • Reason why the police certificate is needed

Court Records

Available. (Proces Verbal and Jugement or Pro Justitia). Issued upon written request by the Clerk of the Court (Greffe du Tribunal/Griffie van het Gerecht) where the conviction occurred.

Prison Records

Available. Persons 16 years of age and older should request a police certificate (French, Dutch) from the Ministry of Justice, Boulevard de Waterloo, 80 at 1000 Brussels. Application may be made in person or by mail. A written request (also by fax), indicating the reason for the request, should contain the following:

  • Full name (including middle and maiden names)
  • Current address
  • Date and place of birth
  • The number and place of issuance (if known) of the Belgian Identity Card used while the person resided in Belgium and/or the number of the passport used while living in Belgium
  • Reason why the police certificate is needed

Military Records

Military service was abolished in Belgium in 1992 and as a result many town halls may refuse to provide a military record making it unobtainable in individual cases. The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that any offense which occurred during military service will be reflected in police records.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Belgium machine-readable passports are described below:

  • Regular Passports: Serial numbers are preceded by the letters ED, EF, EG.
  • Diplomatic Passports Serial numbers are preceded by the letters LA.
  • Official Passports Serial numbers are preceded by the letters LD.
  • Refugee Travel Documents Contain numbers only and have a red cover.
  • Travel Document for Foreigners (Used by people who have permanent Belgian residence, but are not Belgian citizens) - Serial number is preceded by the letter B, and has a blue cover.

The Regular, Diplomatic and Official passports have burgundy covers conforming to the EU standard.

All of the passports will be valid for five years.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Brussels, Belgium (Embassy)

Mailing Address:
APO AE 09724-7600

Street Address:
27 Boulevard du Regent
1000 Brussels

Consular Section:
25 Boulevard du Regent

Tel: (24 hours) (32) 2-508-2111

Fax: (Embassy) 02-511-2725
(Consular Section) (32) 2-513-0409

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Belgium. Immigrant visas for Luxembourg.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 333-6900 (202) 338-4960

Atlanta, GA (404) 659-2150 (404) 659-8474

Los Angeles, CA (323) 857-1244 (323) 936-2564

New York, NY (212) 586-5110 (212) 582-9657

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Brussels
27 Boulevard du Régent (the Consular Section is at 25 Boulevard du Régent)
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
Telephone
+(32) (2) 811-4000
Emergency
+(32) (0) 2-811-4000
Fax
+(32) (2) 811-4546
Belgium Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Belgium
Kingdom of Belgium
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

2 pages minimum

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under 90 days

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

10,000 Euros or equivalent

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

10,000 Euros or equivalent

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Brussels

27 Boulevard du Régent (the Consular Section is at 25 Boulevard du Régent)
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
Telephone:+(32) (2) 811-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:+(32) (0) 2-811-4000
Fax: +(32) (2) 811-4546

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Belgium for information on U.S.–Belgium relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Belgium is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Visit the Embassy of Belgium website for the most current visa information.

  • Passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your stay. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
  • You may enter for Belgium for up to 90 days for tourist purposes without a visa.

HIV/AIDS RESTRICITONS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Belgium.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our customs information page

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Safety and Security

Terrorism: Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. 

Demonstrations occur regularly. Large, public demonstrations take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstrations tend to take place on politically significant holidays and during international summits hosted in the country. 

  • Demonstration organizers must obtain prior police approval, and police routinely oversee participants.
  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. 
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates on the situation and traffic advisories.  
  • Security messages issued regarding demonstrations are now posted on the U.S. Mission’s website.  

Crime:

  • Low-level street crime including robberies, smash and grab car robberies, purse snatchings, and pickpocketing is common, particularly in major cities, in public areas such as restaurants, the Brussels metro at night, and the Gare du Midi. Thieves often operate in teams, by bumping into or shoving the target, especially in crowds. Be alert to distractions.
  • Theft from vehicles is a common problem. Always drive with your windows up and the doors locked, as thieves sometimes target cars stopped at traffic lights. Thieves may smash the window and grab valuables. Use parking garages when possible, and if you must use street parking, look for a spot near a street light. 
  • Carry only a minimum amount of cash, credit cards, and necessary personal identification. 
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and watches.

U.S. citizens have lost tens of thousands of dollars in scams, in Belgium. See our website on international financial scams to protect yourself while traveling. A common internet scam is for friends, family, or others receive a message that a U.S. citizen traveler is stranded in Belgium and in need of funds to pay for customs fees. These are confidence schemes. Funds transferred in response to such offers are rarely recovered. U.S. citizens in the United States who have been victimized by Internet crime should report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. U.S. citizens present in Belgium who have been victimized should contact the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels (Telephone 011-32-2-811-4057). Depending on the circumstances, the Regional Security Office can then direct you to the appropriate Belgian, U.S., or international law enforcement agency.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 101. For all other emergencies, please dial 112. Contact the U.S. Embassy at +(32) (2) 811-4000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

The Belgian Commission for Financial Assistance to Victims of Intentional Acts of Violence provides financial compensation, under specific circumstances, for victims of crime and for those who have suffered injuries and consequent losses caused by such incidents. The Commission also provides for dependents or immediate family members of homicide victims. For more information, contact the Commission by phone at 32 2 542-7208; 32 2 542-7218; 32 2 542-7224; 32 2 542-7229, or 32 2 542-7244; by e-mail at commission.victimes@just.fgov.be or commissie.slachtoffers@just.fgov.be; or visit the Ministry of Justice website (French, Dutch, and German only).

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Belgium are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our webpageon crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Belgium.

See our LGBTI travel information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights Report for further details.

Persons with Mobility Issues: While in Belgium, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. Although Belgian law requires that any new building with public or community space must be accessible for persons with disabilities, many existing buildings as well as public transportation systems are less adapted to individuals with disabilities. General information on the accessibility of tourist accommodations, public transportation, museums, and other tourist facilities can be found on the Belgian Tourist Office's website.

Students: See our students abroad page.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.

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Health

High-quality medical facilities and services are widely available in Belgium. The large university hospitals can handle almost every medical problem. The Embassy's Consular Section maintains a list of English-speaking doctors. Equivalents for most, but not all, U.S. medications are available through local pharmacies with a prescription from a Belgian physician. The responsiveness of emergency services is also generally excellent.

  • Emergency medical treatment is free of charge, however, the patient is charged for follow-up care.
  • We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that the U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
  • Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
  • Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.
  • Obtain supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
  • Carry prescriptions medication in its original packing, along with your doctor’s prescription.
  • Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Obtain travel insurance that covers illness, injury, death, and medical evacuations.

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: 

  • Belgium’s road network is generally well built and maintained.
  • Sufficient lighting exists on major highways, but on rural roads it is often insufficient or nonexistent.
  • Roadside assistance and information on road conditions are available in English from Touring Mobilis, telephone 02 286-3040. Belgian police will also provide information on road conditions, telephone 02-642-6666.
  • Emergency services are efficient and responsive. For police emergencies, dial 101 by phone within Belgium. For all other emergencies, dial 112.

Traffic Laws:   

  • Traffic coming from the right generally has priority at uncontrolled intersections, even if coming from a smaller street.
  • The maximum speed limit on Belgian highways is 120 kilometers (72 miles) per hour, but is not always posted.
  • The maximum speed in urban areas is 50 km (30 miles) per hour, but in central Brussels it is 30 km (19 miles) per hour.
  • While Belgian authorities strictly enforce speed limits, many Belgians still drive significantly faster than the posted limit. Claiming ignorance of the speed limit may not prevent you from getting a significant fine for speeding, and your vehicle may be impounded if you can’t pay the fine on the spot. Automated radars with cameras are common and violators are issued citations through the mail.
  • Belgian police also conduct breath analysis checks for alcohol use, particularly at night and during major holidays. The legal limit for operating a motor vehicle is .05 percent blood alcohol content.
  • You must use your seat belt while driving in a vehicle.
  • Bicycling is very common in Belgium, for both recreational and more traditional transportation purposes. It is strongly advised to wear helmets at all times.

Public Transportation: Brussels and most major cities of Belgium have extensive and efficient public transportation systems. Trains, buses, and ferries connect Brussels with other major cities in Belgium and with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands. Traveling by train is considered to be safer than driving.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the country’s national tourist office and the Belgian national authority responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Belgium’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Belgium’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Belgium should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci.  Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil, and the NGA broadcast warnings website and select “broadcast warnings.”

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Brussels

27 Boulevard du Régent (the Consular Section is at 25 Boulevard du Régent)
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
Telephone:+(32) (2) 811-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:+(32) (0) 2-811-4000
Fax: +(32) (2) 811-4546

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General Information

Belgium and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since May 1, 1999.

For information concerning travel to Belgium, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Belgium.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Belgium.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website: travel.state.gov

The Belgian Central Authority (BCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Service Public Fédéral Justice.  The BCA has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications.  The BCA forwards completed Hague applications to the appropriate Public Prosecutor in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides.  The Public Prosecutor brings the case on behalf of Belgium.  The BCA can be reached at:

The BCA can be reached at:

Belgium Central Authority
Service Public Fédéral Justice
Direction general de la Législation et des Libertés et Droits fondamentaux
Service de cooperation international civile
Autorité centrale d’Entraide judiciaire internationale en matiére civile
Boulevard de Waterloo 115
B-1000 Bruxelles
Tel.:  +32 (2) 542 67 00
Fax:  +32 (2) 542 70 06
e-mail: rapt-parental@just.fgov.be/ kinderontvoering@just.fgov.be

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Belgium, the USCA encourages parents to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the BCA.  All documents written in English must be translated into either Dutch or French, depending on the area where the child is located in Belgium.  The USCA can help you determine the correct language for translation.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  Any competent person or organization may translate the documents.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the BCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or Belgian Central Authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Belgium.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Belgium.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit a Hague Abduction Convention application to a court in Belgium.  The BCA assigns a Public Prosecutor to present a Hague case before the appropriate court.  However, the Public Prosecutor does not represent the left-behind parent or legal guardian who submitted the application; instead, the Public Prosecutor represents Belgium and submits the request for return on behalf of the BCA.  The Public Prosecutor will not have direct contact with the left-behind parent or legal guardian. 

Parents or legal guardians have the option to hire a private attorney to represent them.   However, all attorney fees will be the applicant’s responsibility.  The BCA will withdraw from the Hague case if an applicant hires a private attorney, but they will continue to provide information on the Hague Abduction Convention, if requested, and will monitor the progress of the case, if they are aware of it.

The U.S. Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases.  The BCA does not provide mediation services directly; however, the BCA provides referrals to private and non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services.  Mediation is voluntary.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Belgium is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Belgium and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

Belgium is not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption. While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a Belgian orphan by foreigners is unlikely. No Belgian orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas in the past five fiscal years. The information provided is intended primarily to assist in extremely rare adoption cases from Belgium, including adoptions of Belgian children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in Belgium.

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Belgium is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Belgium, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Belgium also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be resident in Belgium to adopt.

  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Minimum age to adopt is 25, and the minimum age difference between the prospective adoptive parents and the adopted child is 15 years. For the adoption of a child of the spouse/cohabiting partner, the minimum age is 18 and the minimum age difference is 10 years.

  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: To adopt together prospective adoptive parents must be married, be legally registered as a cohabiting couple or have lived together on an ongoing basis and having an emotional commitment for at least three years.

  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: Income is discussed in the home study. There are no minimum requirements but the prospective adoptive parents must be able to take financial care of an adoption child.

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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Belgium is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Belgium must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Belgium attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Belgium's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.

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How to Adopt

BELGIUM'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY(IES)

Residents of the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium should contact:

Kind en Gezin
Hallepoortlaan 27
1060 Brussels
e-mail: adoptie@kindengezin.be
tel.: (02) 533 14 76

Residents of the French-speaking part of Belgium should contact:

Autorité Communautaire pour l'Adoption Internationale (ACAI)
Boulevard Leopold II, 44,
1080 Brussels
tel.: (02) 413 2726.

Residents of the German-speaking community should contact:

Ministerium der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft 
Zentrale Behörde der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft für Adoptionen 

Gospertstrasse 1
B-4700 Eupen
Fax.: +32 (87) 55 64 74
Tel.: + 32 (87) 59 63 46

THE PROCESS

Because Belgium is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Belgium must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Belgium before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Belgium
  6. Bring your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Belgium is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Belgium.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    Once the U.S. government determines that you are "eligible"? and "suitable"? to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Belgium. Belgium's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Belgium's law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Belgium determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Belgium may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. 

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Belgium's adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Belgium:

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Belgium, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Belgium.

    The following are the adoption procedures for American citizens living in Belgium who want to adopt a child from a third country:

    • ADOPTION APPLICATION - ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: Apply to the central authority of your community (Flemish or French speaking). After submitting your application, you will be invited to take a preparation course required for all prospective adoptive parents.

    • ROLE OF THE COURT: With the certificate of completion of the preparation course, a request is filed with the court to find you eligible to adopt. The court will order a home study. A service for the home study will invite you for four interviews. A social worker and psychologist will do the interview and make a report to advise the judge. The judge will then decide whether you are eligible to adopt. Note: The adoption of a Belgian child by citizens living in the United States (very exceptional, normally only for adoption of family-members) will be pronounced by a Belgian court.

    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Prospective adoptive parents should contact the adoption authority for the region of Belgium where they reside for information on Belgian adoption agencies. The adoption agency will send the file of the applicant(s) to the country of origin and wait for them to propose a child for adoption.

      The country of origin will send the file on an adoptable child to the adoption agency. After the approval of the match by the central authority, the prospective adoptive parents will be informed and the procedure in the country of origin may continue.

    • TIME FRAME: The time it takes to complete an adoption varies, depending on the child's country of origin.

    • ADOPTION FEES: Most fees will depend on the child's country of origin. Belgian fees, not including pre-approved fees (including the home study), vary depending on which community (Flemish-speaking, French speaking) the prospective adoptive parents reside in.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Judgment of eligibility and home study are always necessary. Other documents depend on the country of origin of the child.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help.

  6. Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

      For more information on this process, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Belgium.

    • Belgium Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Belgium.

      A passport can be obtained in the community where the child is registered.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's"? medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.

      Note: The U.S. Embassy in Belgium does not issue Immigrant Visas. All Immigrant Visa for Belgium are issued by the U.S. Consulate General in Naples, Italy.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad : The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States : The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport 
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Belgium. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

Obtaining Your Visa
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Belgium, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip 
Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability. 

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Belgium, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Belgium
Boulevard du Regent 25
1000 Brussels
tel.: (02) 508-2537
fax: (02) 513- 0409
E-mail: uscitizenbrussels@state.gov
Telephone: +358-9-616-25730

Belgium's Adoption Authority (ies)
Residents of the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium should contact:

Kind en Gezin
Hallepoortlaan 27
1060 Brussels
tel.: (02) 533 1476
email adoptie@kindengezin.be

Residents of the French-speaking part of Belgium should contact:

Autorité Communautaire pour l'Adoption Internationale (ACAI)
Boulevard Leopold II, 44,
1080 Brussels
tel.: (02) 413 2726.

Residents of the German-speaking community should contact:

Ministerium der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft 
Zentrale Behörde der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft für Adoptionen 

Gospertstrasse 1
B-4700 Eupen
Fax.: +32 (87) 55 64 74
Tel.: + 32 (87) 59 63 46

Embassy of Belgium
3330 Garfield Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
tel.: (202) 333-6900
Fax (202) 333-5457
E-mail: washington@diplobel.org

Belgium also has Consulates in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 24 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. Issued upon a written request by the Office of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil/Burgerlijke Stand) of the commune of birth.

Death/Burial

Available. Issued by the Officer of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil/Burgerlijke Stand) of the commune in which the death occurred.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available. Issued upon a written request by the Officer of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil/Dienst Bevolking) of the commune where the marriage took place.

Divorce

Divorce Decree: If desired, it may be obtained by written request, addressed to the Clerk of the Lower Court (Greffe du Tribunal de lere Instance/Griffie van de Rechtbank van Eerste Aanleg) in the commune in which the judgment was rendered.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Certificate of Residence

Available. Issued by the Census Office (Bureau de la Population/Dienst Bevolking) of the commune of the applicant's last residence.

Certificate of Nationality

Available. Issued by the Census Office (Bureau de la Population/Dienst Bevolking) of the commune of last residence.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Persons 16 years of age and older should request a police certificate (French, Dutch) from the Ministry of Justice, Boulevard de Waterloo, 80 at 1000 Brussels. Application may be made in person or by mail. A written request (also by fax), indicating the reason for the request, should contain the following:

  • Full name (including middle and maiden names)
  • Current address
  • Date and place of birth
  • The number and place of issuance (if known) of the Belgian Identity Card used while the person resided in Belgium and/or the number of the passport used while living in Belgium
  • Reason why the police certificate is needed

Court Records

Available. (Proces Verbal and Jugement or Pro Justitia). Issued upon written request by the Clerk of the Court (Greffe du Tribunal/Griffie van het Gerecht) where the conviction occurred.

Prison Records

Available. Persons 16 years of age and older should request a police certificate (French, Dutch) from the Ministry of Justice, Boulevard de Waterloo, 80 at 1000 Brussels. Application may be made in person or by mail. A written request (also by fax), indicating the reason for the request, should contain the following:

  • Full name (including middle and maiden names)
  • Current address
  • Date and place of birth
  • The number and place of issuance (if known) of the Belgian Identity Card used while the person resided in Belgium and/or the number of the passport used while living in Belgium
  • Reason why the police certificate is needed

Military Records

Military service was abolished in Belgium in 1992 and as a result many town halls may refuse to provide a military record making it unobtainable in individual cases. The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that any offense which occurred during military service will be reflected in police records.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Belgium machine-readable passports are described below:

  • Regular Passports: Serial numbers are preceded by the letters ED, EF, EG.
  • Diplomatic Passports Serial numbers are preceded by the letters LA.
  • Official Passports Serial numbers are preceded by the letters LD.
  • Refugee Travel Documents Contain numbers only and have a red cover.
  • Travel Document for Foreigners (Used by people who have permanent Belgian residence, but are not Belgian citizens) - Serial number is preceded by the letter B, and has a blue cover.

The Regular, Diplomatic and Official passports have burgundy covers conforming to the EU standard.

All of the passports will be valid for five years.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Brussels, Belgium (Embassy)

Mailing Address:
APO AE 09724-7600

Street Address:
27 Boulevard du Regent
1000 Brussels

Consular Section:
25 Boulevard du Regent

Tel: (24 hours) (32) 2-508-2111

Fax: (Embassy) 02-511-2725
(Consular Section) (32) 2-513-0409

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Belgium. Immigrant visas for Luxembourg.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 333-6900 (202) 338-4960

Atlanta, GA (404) 659-2150 (404) 659-8474

Los Angeles, CA (323) 857-1244 (323) 936-2564

New York, NY (212) 586-5110 (212) 582-9657

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Brussels
27 Boulevard du Régent (the Consular Section is at 25 Boulevard du Régent)
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
Telephone
+(32) (2) 811-4000
Emergency
+(32) (0) 2-811-4000
Fax
+(32) (2) 811-4546
Belgium Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.