Information regarding COVID-19 related questions (education, travel, testing and vaccination) for international students

Update 24/01/2022

Where can I find information on the COVID-19 measures applicable to education in the academic year 2021-2022?

The information is regularly updated here.

Where can I find information about travelling to and from Belgium? What to do when I arrive in Belgium?

Travelling within the EU+ (= the 27 EU Member States + Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland) is different than travelling to and from non EU+ countries.

The travel policies may change rapidly in Belgium, the EU+ countries and worldwide.

Please check

Read also carefully the information about the Public Health Passenger Locator Form (PLF)

Where can I find information on the current general COVID-19 measures in Belgium?

The government has set rules to stop the spread of coronavirus. You find information here.

Where can I find information regarding the COVID-19 measures at Ghent University?

Check relevant information for staff and students

Where can I find information about COVID-19 tests (when, where, how to proceed...)?

    All information about COVID-19 testing can be found here

    Is the COVID-19 test for free?

    The test is free of charge for UGent students with a valid Belgian health insurance

    • who have had a high-risk contact according to contact tracers of UGent or the government,
    • who are returning from a red zone abroad
    • who need a test before an admission or procedure in hospital
    • who have COVID-19 symptoms

    Students without valid Belgian health insurance pay the cost of the lab analysis (€ 47.18) + € 31,93 administration cost at the consultation itself but can possibly get it refunded through their own health insurance.

    Other students who suspect that they are at risk of COVID-19 infection can have themselves tested at UZ Gent on their own initiative. In that case, the cost (47.18 euros) will not be reimbursed by the health insurance.

    What if I have tested positive?

    If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please  strictly follow the recommendations of the student doctor / your general practitioner.

    Which vaccines are approved by Belgium?

    The following COVID-19 vaccines are recognised by Belgium:

    • EMA (European Medicines Agency) certified vaccines
      • Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty)
      • Moderna
      • AstraZeneca/Oxford (Vaxzevria)
      • Janssen
    • Covishield

    If you have further questions about this, please check the official webpage or consult a medical professional/student doctor.

    In Belgium COVID-19 vaccination is a right and not an obligation. For more information please check here

    I have not yet been (fully) vaccinated or I received a non-EU approved vaccine. Can I get my EU/Belgian approved vaccine in Belgium? 

    Yes this is possible.

    • If you will stay longer than 3 months in Belgium
      • You need a BIS number or a (Belgian) National Registration number (=rijksregisternummer) to make an appointment (see below)
      • You can make an appointment for vaccination by calling the vaccination hotline (+329 210 10 44) or with the assistance of the student doctor (+329 264 70 20 between 9 am – 12 am) or a general practitioner of your choice.

    Can I receive a booster vaccination?

    Please make sure to take the booster in your own country if possible. This makes life a lot easier…However it  is possible in Belgium.

    • If you will stay/or have stayed longer than 3 months in Belgium
      • In any case you need a BIS number or a (Belgian) National Registration number (=rijksregisternummer) to make an appointment (see below)
      • You can make an appointment for vaccination by calling the vaccination hotline (+329 210 10 44) or with the assistance of the student doctor (+329 264 70 20 between 9 am – 12 am) or a general practitioner of your choice.

    You can register on the QVAX list. Thanks to QVAX, you voluntarily register on a reserve list to get a Covid-19 vaccine faster. You don't pass anyone by, but are called up quickly when people don't show up at a vaccination centre.

    What is a BIS number and how to obtain this?

    The BIS number is a unique identification number for persons who are not registered in the Belgian National Register (yet), but who have social security related contact with the Belgian government. You need this BIS number to make an appointment in the vaccination centre.

    Once you are registered as a degree Bachelor, Master or PhD student at UGent, you will automatically be assigned a BIS number. Check the number on your Certicate of Enrolment in MyOasis/Certificates . This BIS number will be replaced by your Belgian National Registration number (“rijksregisternummer”) after official registration in the municipality.

    If you are an international exchange student you don’t receive this automatically but you can apply for a BIS number by e-mail to actueel@ugent.be in order to initiate your BIS number. Include the following documents in your e-mail:

      • A scan of your ID/passport
      • This document– completed with your information.

    This BIS number is needed for vaccination in Belgium!

    What is a Covid Safe Ticket?

    This is the same as a Covid Safe Pass or a EU Digital COVID Certificate (in some EU countries also called Corona Pass or Green Pass…)

    It is a proof that either

    • You have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with an EU approved vaccin
    • received a negative test result or
    • recovered from COVID-19

    More detailed information can be found on the Covid Safe app website.

    If you experience problems to access your Covid Safe Ticket all information is available in this document.

    If you are a EU citizen you are advised to use the “CST” of your own country. This is valid in all European countries, including Belgium and all vaccines given in other countries can be registered in your own country, to update the national system. A growing number of non-EU countries also have Covid Certificates that are valid in the EU/Belgium.

    What is the validity in Belgium of the vaccination certificate?

    A repeat dose (booster) is an important protection against the virus. the validity of the vaccination certificate in the Covid Safe Ticket (= Belgian corona pass, Pass Sanitaire, Green Pass….) changes from 270 days to 150 days from March 1 2022.

    This means that anyone who was vaccinated with one dose (Janssen only) or two doses (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford) before October 1 2021 must have had a booster shot before March 1. Otherwise, the validity of the vaccination certificate will expire.

    How do I obtain a certificate of vaccination in Belgium when I have been (partially) vaccinated in my home country with an EU/Belgian approved vaccine and my country doesn't issue a EU recognized corona certificate?

    • Apply for a BIS number (see above) or use your Belgian National Registration number (‘Rijksregisternummer’)
    • Contact the student doctors by phone (+32 9 264 70 20) between 9 am – 12 am, or contact a general practitioner of your choice, to activate your BIS number. The activation is done by phone, so please do not book an online appointment.

    About three days later you will be invited to go to the student doctors to have your vaccination registered in the official government database Vaccinnet.

    How can I consult my certificate of vaccination or COVID-19 test result?

    You can consult this via My Health Viewer. About two days after you received the last dose of your vaccination or has been registered in Vaccinnet this is already consultable in My Health Viewer . My Health Viewer is an official webpage by the Belgian government, that you can only access with a digital key.  

    There are several ways to obtain this digital key:

    1. If you have a Belgian eID, you can easily activate this digital key. If you don't have a Belgian eID, you should go in person to the registration office of the city where you live. In Ghent, this is the Gent Infopunt.You will be registered once your identity has been checked. Use e.g. your international passport of you EU ID Card. During registration you will be given a personal activation code on paper and a link will be sent to your e-mail address. As soon as you have activated a digital key through the activation link and code, you will be given access to the online services of the government, based on your user name, password and digital key, and you will also be able to manage your digital keys. Check this video for more detailed information. 
    2. Through a recognized authentication system of your country (currently the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, Latvia, Portugal and Slovakia)
    3. Through an Itsme account granted after one-time authentication at a Belgian bank office
    4. After a one-time registration with a general practitioner.

    Is vaccination mandatory in Belgium?

    Vaccination is not mandatory unless you work/do an traineeship in a (para)-medical profession (from 1/4/2022 onwards).

    However, if you want to participate in daily life in Belgium (restaurants, cafes, cinema, fitness, theater...) you will need to present a Covid Safe Ticket (QR code).

    How about health insurance?

    All international students are obliged to have a health insurance during your stay in Belgium.

    Please consult your private health insurance before you leave on whether you are covered for covid-19 related matters.
    If you are a student moving to Belgium from outside the EU, we strongly recommend arranging travel insurance for the first month. Travel insurance plans usually cover your medical and urgent dental fees, as well as exceptional events such as repatriation and medical transport.

    Please read this information carefully.

    I have rented a room/flat in the University Halls of residence, what measures are taken so that I can self-isolate myself?

    Please check the webpage of our housing office.

    I have rented a room/flat on the private housing market, what measures are taken so that I can self-isolate myself?

    You have to contact your landlord in order to see what extra measures are to be taken.

    I feel unhappy/lonely during my quarantine. Can I speak to someone? What can I do?

    You can contact one of our student psychologists/counselors at studieadvies@ugent.be or 09/331.00.31
    Please check some tips