COVID-19 related questions for international (Phd) students

Update 27/04/2022

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) for travels from outside the EU.

Where can I find the COVID-19 related measures for Belgium?

Please find the current Belgian measures.

COVID-19 testing (when, where, how to proceed...)?

    Regulations from the Belgian government regarding 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 (mandatory for all international students staying in Belgium)

    • 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.

    How to consult your COVID-19 test result

    The different ways of how to obtain the result are mentioned on https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/testing/#result. Via the digital platform My Health Vieweran official Belgian webpage that you can only access with a digital key.  

    There are several digital keys:

    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.

    What if I have tested positive?

    Follow the recommendations of your general practitioner or student doctor based on the regulations from the Belgian government.

    COVID-19 measures

    Vaccination(s)

    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, please check the official webpage of the European Medicines Agency 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 an 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) (see below) to make an appointment . 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.
      • Once you have an appointment, you can go the vaccination point at the General Practicioner’s post in the Ghent University Hospital UZ Gent (“Huisartsen wachtpost”) located at C. Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Gent entrance 26B.
      • Check public transport possibilities to UZ Gent or go by bike.  You can also park for free in the parking tower of UZ Gent.
      • Bring your identity card, a mouth mask and your proof of appointment.

      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. If not possible you can receive a booster vaccination in Belgium when:

      • You will stay/or have stayed longer than 3 months in Belgium
        • You need a BIS number or a (Belgian) National Registration number (=rijksregisternummer) (see below) to make an appointment . 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.

        • Once you have an appointment, you can go the vaccination point at the General Practicioner’s post in the Ghent University Hospital UZ Gent (“Huisartsen wachtpost”) located at C. Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Gent entrance 26B.

        • Check public transport possibilities to UZ Gent or go by bike. You can also park for free in the parking tower of UZ Gent.

        • Bring your identity card, a mouth mask and your proof of appointment.

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

      What is a Covid Safe Ticket (CST)?

      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 (valid vaccination certificate - see below)
      • received a negative test result or
      • recovered from COVID-19

      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.

      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.

      A Covid Safe Pass or similar system is no longer required within Belgium (e.g. for restaurants etc,) but is still needed to travel.

      How do I obtain a certificate of vaccination 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.

      If you have problems to see your certificates in you can call the hotline 078 78 78 50. You’ll hear a robot voice in Dutch. You can ignore this message and press the number 2, then you’ll get in touch with a person. You’ll have to ask this person to recreate your vaccination certificate. They’ll be able to help you in English.

      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 Pass (= 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.

      Digital platform to access your vaccination status & Belgian Covid Safe Pass

      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.

      I feel unhappy/lonely during my quarantine/isolation. 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.