Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 1 March 2024, 19:12 NZDT
  • Still current at: 16 April 2024

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If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in Belgium due to the ongoing threat of terrorism (level 2 of 4). 

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Following a terrorist attack in October 2023, the terror threat level for Belgium, including Brussels, is now level 3 of 4, meaning there’s a possible and imminent threat. You should expect an increased security presence at this time. New Zealanders throughout Belgium are advised to follow the advice of local authorities at all times. 

Terrorist groups, individuals returning to Europe from areas of conflict, and individuals adhering to various forms of extremist ideologies, continue to make threats to conduct attacks in Belgium and across Europe. Individuals and groups adhering to various ideologies have conducted attacks in the past. Brussels hosts a number of international institutions, including the European Union and NATO, which are sensitive locations and could be targeted by terrorists.

Past incidents include attacks against both security forces and civilians:

  • On 10 November 2022, one police officer was killed and another injured in a knife attack in Brussels.
  • On 20 November 2018, a man attacked a policeman with a knife in Brussels.
  • On 29 May 2018, two female police officers and one passer-by were killed in a shooting in Liege.
  • On 22 March 2016, two explosions occurred at Zaventem International Airport in Brussels and a further explosion occurred at Maelbeek metro station killing 35 people and injuring over 300.

New Zealanders currently in Belgium are advised to keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities. New Zealanders should exercise a high degree of vigilance in public places – particularly at tourist sites, shopping areas, places of worship, large public gatherings, major sporting and music events, transport hubs, airports and public transport.

Authorities encourage people to remain aware of their surroundings at all times. Security operations are likely and you should expect an increased security presence. If you are in an affected area you should follow the instructions of the Belgian security authorities. Police have asked the public not to comment on security operations via social media. Further information can be found on the Belgian Crisis Centre website. To receive emergency alerts from Belgium’s public alert system, register here.

Petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft and pickpocketing occurs in Belgium and is common in tourist areas, in larger cities and on public transport. We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings.

Take particular caution in major railway stations including Brussels Gare du Midi/Zuidstation (Eurostar and Thayls terminal) and Gare du Nord, and on public transport. Pickpockets and thieves also operate on a number of international train routes so remain vigilant throughout your journey.

Theft from vehicles does occur, including while they are being driven. Do not leave valuable items visible in your car, even when you are in it. Keep car doors locked and windows secure at all times.

Beware of ATM and credit card fraud. Avoid using ATMs that look temporary in structure or location, and only use ATMs in well-lit public areas or inside banks.

Incidents of violent crime, including explosive attacks and shootings, have been reported in Antwerp among organised criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking. The risk primarily concerns those involved in drug crime, but you should be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. In the event of any incident involving violent or serious crime, follow the advice of local authorities.

Civil unrest
Demonstrations and protests are a regular occurrence in Belgium, with a high number occurring in Brussels. New Zealanders are advised to avoid all protests as they can occasionally turn violent.

General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Belgium should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. 

It is a legal requirement to carry a form of identification with you at all times. Failure to produce them could result in a fine or arrest.

It is illegal to cover your face in public places in Belgium, and failure to comply could result in a fine or detainment. There is no exemption for tourists.

New Zealanders in Belgium are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Brussels, Belgium

Street Address Avenue des Nerviens 9/31, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium. Telephone +32 2 512 1040 Fax +32 2 513 4856 Email Web Site Hours Mon-Fri 0900-1300 hrs, 1400-1700 hrs

See our regional advice for Europe

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New Zealand Embassy Belgium

Street Address
Avenue des Nerviens 9/31, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium.

Telephone: +32 2 512 1040

Fax: +32 2 513 4856



Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1300 hrs, 1400-1700 hrs

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