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The British Embassy Brussels' advice for a GREAT holiday in the UK

For a stress- and problem free holiday from Belgium to the UK, read our general tips and tricks.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The United Kingdom is a prime holiday destination. Whether it is the vibrant cities of London, Manchester or Glasgow, the Welsh castles or the landscapes of the Lake District and the Giant’s Causeway of Northern Ireland, the UK has a lot to offer, regardless of your destination. In 2012 for instance, there were 1,113,000 visits coming from Belgium, spending a total of £311 million. Belgium also ranks ninth on the ranking for visits to the UK.

In order to make your holiday smooth, problem- and stress-free, please have a look at the most frequently asked questions regarding travelling and entry to the UK.

Can I travel to the UK with my Belgian ID Card?

If you are a Belgian national, you can travel to the UK with just your Belgian ID card (identiteitskaart / carte d’identité / personalausweis / identity card) or with a valid Belgian passport.

It is every traveller’s responsibility that their travel document is valid. For travel within the EU this is up to the date of travel. We encourage everyone to check the validity of their travel documents before you go. If your travel document such as your Belgian passport or Belgian ID Card is out of date, you may not be allowed to travel to the UK.

I am not a Belgian National but I have a E or E+-Card for EU nationals or an F-Card for non-EU nationals. Can I travel to the UK?

When you arrive in Belgium you are obliged to register at your local commune, and by doing so you will be issued with a Belgian Residence Card. This card is not a valid travel document and you should not attempt to use it as one.

To enter the UK you will need to be in the possession of a valid travel document from your home country and to apply for a visa if necessary.

Do I need a visa ?

Whether or not you need to obtain a visa before you travel to the UK depends on your nationality and the reason you want to travel to the UK.

You will not need a visa if you hold a passport issued by the UK or any other country in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

For more information or finding out if you need a visa, please consult this section as it provides a visa tool information from the UK Border Agency, an agency of the Home Office: Do you need a visa?

How do I apply for a visa?

The British Embassy Brussels no longer deals with Visa enquiries or enquiries regarding entry into the United Kingdom. The British Embassy Brussels also does not issue visas. For all your visa questions or for applying for a UK visa, please consult the following webpages of the UK Border Agency, an agency of the Home Office: How to apply for a visa

For further information on how to apply for a Visa for the UK or how to submit a Visa enquiry, please access the following website: https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/. You need to make your visa application, pay your fee and book your appointment for the visa application centre online.

You then need to register on the site of the commercial company Teleperformance after booking your appointment – otherwise you risk unnecessary delays.This site provides you with a guide to applying for your visa. It also gives you information about the visa application centre and the type of services it provides.

Travelling with children to the UK

If your child is travelling to the UK alone, with another family member or friends it is advised that you go to your local commune and ask to complete a parental declaration to give your consent to the trip. This is the same as you do when your child goes on a school trip.

What about with school children travelling to the UK as part of organised school groups?

School children, who are visa nationals, and, are resident in an EEA country do not need a visa if visiting or transiting the UK as a member of an organised school group. To qualify under this measure, school children must:

  • be accompanied by a teacher; and

  • have their names included on the officially approved ‘List of Travellers’ form.

Schools must obtain the ‘List of Travellers’ form from the foreign ministries of the EEA country where the school party is travelling from. The European Commission website provides contact details. For more information, please consult the publication School children travelling to the UK as part of a school group.

For more information on travel facilities for non-EEA national school pupils resident in Member States, please consult the following guidance.

What if I travel via Eurostar departing from Brussels Midi station?

If travelling to the UK by Eurostar from Brussels, UK passport checks will be conducted at the Eurostar Terminal prior to your boarding the train. You should ensure that you allow sufficient time to complete frontier controls before the scheduled departure time of the train, and non-EEA nationals will need to complete an immigration landing card for presentation to the immigration officer.

General tips and tricks

  • Have the address and the emergency contact number of your embassy within the UK close at hand. Also give this to your family and friends
  • Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page, and credit card at home with family or a friend
  • E-mail yourself a copy of your passport data page and contact numbers of family and friends as this can be accessed at your embassy
  • Check your medical insurance coverage before departure and mail yourself the policy number and a contact phone number
  • Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws
  • Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime
  • Check the local weather conditions before you go

In case of loss or theft of your documents or for assistance in case of an emergency, please contact the local police and your local embassy.

For the police, please call 999 or online information via: http://www.police.uk/contact/

For serious emergency medical assistance, please call 112 or find an accident and emergency service location online via:
http://www.nhs.uk/

For non-emergency medical assistance, you can find a doctor in your area online via: NHS Direct

As Belgian citizen, contact the Belgian embassy in London for assistance: Belgian embassy in London

The British Embassy Brussels wishes you good cheer and safe travels!

Published 10 December 2013