Information regarding travels, quarantine and COVID-19 testing for international students

Update 16/09/2021

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

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

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.

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

  • who according to contact tracers of UGent or the government, have had a high-risk contact
  • 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.

Up-to-date information about who must/can be tested when can be found on the official government site. Info about the test center of UZ Gent can be found here

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please send an e-mail to contacttracing@ugent.be immediately. In consultation with you, we will map out your contacts, so that we can discreetly provide them with the necessary information about the risk of infection and the need for quarantine, and so that we can quickly take any additional measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

Can I get a vaccine in Belgium as an international (exchange) student?

Yes. If you have not yet been vaccinated, or if you have been vaccinated in your home country with a vaccine that is not recognized by the EU, you can be vaccinated in Belgium.

If you have an official domicile address in Belgium, follow one of the following steps:

  • You can also easily get a quick vaccine close to your home during the vaccination bus tour. There is no need to make an appointment or to book in advance, you can just drop in. Check this link for more information and to see where the bus will be stopping.  It is also possible to talk to a medical professional in this bus if you would like to get more information about vaccinations in general.
  • You can make an appointment for vaccinationin a vaccination center by calling the vaccination hotline (+329 210 10 44) or by calling the student doctor (+329 264 70 20 between 9 am – 12 am) or a general practitioner of your choice.

You can download your vaccination certificate through the Covid Safe App.

If you don’t have an official domicile address (most exchange students are in that case) and you stay longer than 3 months in Belgium, then please take the following steps:

  • Apply for a BIS number (see below: What is a BIS number and how to obtain this? )
  • After possible quarantine upon your arrival in Belgium, go to Gent Infopunt to obtain a digital key
  • After that, you can get the vaccination
    • You can easily get a quick vaccine close to your home during the vaccination bus tour. There is no need to make an appointment or to book in advance, you can just drop in. Check this linkfor more information and to see where the bus will be stopping.  
    • You can make an appointment for vaccination in the vaccination center by calling the vaccination hotline (+3292101044) or by calling the student doctor (+32 92647020 between 9h and 12h) or a general practitioner of your choice.
  • After the last dose of your vaccination, please consult https://www.myhealth.belgium.be/, log in with your digital key and download your vaccination certificate. The certificate is available about two days after you received the last dose of your vaccination.

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 https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/vaccination/.

How do I obtain a vaccination certificate when I have been vaccinated in my home country with an EU approved vaccine?

  • Apply for a BIS number (see below: What is a BIS number and how to obtain this?)
  • After possible quarantine upon your arrival in Belgium, go to Gent Infopunt to obtain a digital key.

Attention: even when you are fully vaccinated and you come from a non-EU country that is marked in red, you need to quarantine until the negative result of your first PCR test.

  • 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 database.

What is a BIS number and how to obtain this?

The BIS number is a unique identification number for individuals who stay longer than 3 months in Belgium and are not registered (yet) in the National Register, but who have social security related contact with the Belgian government.

Whith this BIS number you can access some health related information (COVID 19 test result, vaccinations…) through https://www.myhealth.belgium.be/. You can also access the Covid Safe app.

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.

If you are a Bachelor or Master student first check if you don’t have such a number yet (e.g. see your letter of enrolment), if not, please send an 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.

Which vaccines are approved by Belgium?

Belgium follows the EU vaccination strategy. The EU approved following vaccines : BioNTech and Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV.

If you have questions about this, you can consult a medical professional, or go to the vaccination bus. For more information about this bus, please check this link.

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

Is it possible to commute between a residence address abroad (in the Netherlands, France, Luxemburg or Germany) and Ghent University for study/exams without going in to quarantine and get tested?

Commuting means that you regularly travel between Ghent University and your home country (at least once per week) by car or public transport.

If you commute for study/trainee/exam activities you are exempted from a corona test or quarantine.

You don’t need to fill out the Passenger Locator Form!

However please check the national measures in your home country such as possible testing, quarantine and/or curfew measures.