On 5 January we announced the new measures that applied to business travel. Just one day after the introduction of the new BTA form the government detected a number of instances of misuse. As a result the form was taken offline for several days. Following a number of modifications the form has meanwhile been made available again. The information in this article is up to date until 11 January 2021.
Distinction between business travel and personal travel
As of 4 January 2021 the government officially makes a distinction between business and holiday travellers. In concrete terms this means that business travellers do not have to go in quarantine when entering or returning to Belgium, not even when coming from a red zone, on condition that they didn’t take any risks while abroad.
No quarantine but mandatory testing
If they had a safe trip, professional travellers benefit from less stringent measures. They don’t have to go in quarantine when coming from a red zone. Contrary to earlier communications by the government, Belgian citizens must still submit to Covid-testing on days 1 and 7. For those who test positive quarantine is naturally mandatory. Non-residents must be able to present a negative PCR test from their country of origin to enter Belgium.
Who is eligible?
For travel to our country: the BTA form cannot be used for travel to our country by non-residents of Belgium for the purpose of temporary or permanent employment in our country (not even in essential sectors or critical positions), but it can be used for limited business contacts related to a specific project or file, of a maximum duration of 5 days
For travel abroad of Belgian residents: travel must be unavoidable in connection with cases or projects that necessitate limited interventions on site. There is no time restriction.
For official travels: it must be the diplomatic community, officials of international organizations in Belgium or official visitors (ministers, heads of state, etc.).
The BTA form must be completed by the Belgian employer, the Belgian client or an international organization established on Belgian territory where or under whose authority this traveller is temporarily employed/on an official mission or visit. This applicant is responsible for a correct application in the system.
If someone is travelling for professional reasons, but does not have a valid certificate number according to the above-mentioned procedure, the professional travel section cannot be activated and the non-professional travel programme, including obligatory quarantine, applies.
TAKE THE FOLLOWING 3 STEPS
1) BTA form supplied by your employer
A new form has been created: the Business Travel Abroad form. This form must be completed beforehand by the employer. When the application is submitted the employer immediately receives a BTA certificate number, which the business traveller will need for the PLF. One form must be completed per traveller and per trip.
2) Complete the Passenger Locator Form (PLF)
Max. 48 hrs before returning to Belgium the (business) traveller must complete the PLF. From now on the section ‘Arrival in Belgium’ has an extra option. You can now indicate you’re travelling for business purposes. Ticking this box opens a field where you must fill in the BTA certificate number you received from your employer.
3) Complete the self-evaluation form
This self-evaluation form has been part of the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) for several months. Business travellers are also still required to complete this form. Based on the answers a risk assessment score is calculated. If the score is low and you filled out a valid BTA certificate number, you don’t have to go in quarantine, even if you’re returning from a red zone. Testing, however, is still mandatory.
Someone travelling for professional reasons who does not have a valid BTA number in accordance with the procedure outlined above will not be able to activate the professional travel section of the PLF and will therefore fall under the regulations governing non-professional travel, including mandatory quarantine. The employer (applicant) is responsible for the proper application of the system. You will find more details and the format of the forms under the ‘new on this website’ section of the website corona-tracking.info