What is the change? Belgium and other European countries have taken security measures since Tuesday’s attack in Brussels that may continue to present challenges when traveling in or around Belgium, especially if travelers lack proper documentation.

What does the change mean? Border security in Belgium and other European countries has been enhanced. Brussels Airport remains closed at least through Sunday, and security has been increased at other European airports. Travel in and around Brussels remains challenging, and business travelers are advised to always carry proper identification as well as a “back pocket” letter providing verification of their business travel. This letter should include, but not be limited to, a short description of the traveler’s company, proof of permanent ties outside of Belgium and confirmation of insurance. The letter should be written in both English and French or Dutch.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Who is affected: Anyone traveling in or to Belgium.
  • Business impact: Businesses may have to make adjustments to timelines due to travel challenges.
  • Next steps: Up-to-date information is available on the government’s Crisis Center website.

Background: Attacks at the Brussels Airport and the nearby Maelbeek metro station Tuesday left dozens dead, prompting officials to take a number of security measures.

Belgium and other European countries, including France and Germany, have increased border checks, further testing the freedom of movement that is at the heart of the Schengen Agreement among 26 European countries. Since the attack, some EU leaders have again called for tighter controls on the EU’s external borders. Internal border checks will likely remain in place for the near future, however, even as the European Commission works to lift national border controls by the end of the year. Brussels Airport remains closed at least through Sunday, after which it is expected to reopen with military reinforcement.

For now, people traveling in Belgium should be sure to carry identification at all times along with a letter, as described above, explaining their reasons for visiting.

BAL Analysis: Delays and enhanced security checks should be expected throughout Belgium, including at the Brussels Airport when it reopens. BAL can assist in drafting letters that would be of use to foreign travelers. U.S. citizens are also encouraged to check the U.S. Embassy’s website for up-to-date information security information.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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