Information regarding travel, COVID-19 testing and vaccination for international students

Update 08/10/2021

Where can I find information about travelling to and from 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

  • the travel and entry measures of the Belgian government. Measures are different depending on your country of departure, but they may also be adapted to your place of residence in Belgium.
  • the travel advice from your government for Belgium or for another country of destination
  • with the Belgian Embassy/Consulate in your country of departure
  • the information on travel restrictions to and EU+ countries 

Where can I do a COVID-19 test in Belgium?

There are testing facilities in the airports and in some train stations, however we suggest to take the test in Ghent. Students can get tested for Covid-19 at the test centre of the Ghent University Hospital. It is mandatory to make an appointment.

Is the COVID-19 test for free?

The test is free of charge for UGent students whit 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.

Vaccination is a right and not an obligation. If you agree to be vaccinated you must be able to take both vaccines (if needed according to the sort of vaccine) in the same country. There is no exchange of information between your home country and Belgium between your first and second jab. 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 have an official domicile address 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.

What is a BIS number and how to obtain this?

The BIS number is a unique identification number for persons who stay longer than 3 months in Belgium and 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.

If you are PhD student with a contract/bursary agreement from UGent ask your contact person for your BIS number.

If you come as PhD student with an external scholarship, first check if you don’t have such a number yet, for example you can find it on your letter of enrolment if you have this already, if not, please send an e-mail to both Barbara Lobert and Peter Hunor 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.

Once you are registered as a degree Bachelor or Master 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.

How do I obtain a vaccination certificate in Belgium when I have been (partially) vaccinated in my home country with an EU/Belgian approved vaccine?

  • 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 Vaccinet.

How can I consult my certificate of vaccination?

You can consult your health related information, such as test results or vaccinations, via My Health Viewer about two days after your received the last dose of your vaccination or has been registered in Vaccinet. 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.

You can then also download  the Covid Safe app which is needed for travelling within the EU or for certain events.

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.

Where can I find general guidelines regarding (possible) infection, high risk contacts and quarantine?

Please check  this webpage

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