Reference: SHAPE/NMR/COVID/UK_Travel- 7 May 21

1.       Introduction.  Following recent confusion regarding the ‘actions on’ when returning to BEL from the UK where the trip was less than 48 Hrs, I felt it wise to provide a summary of the points that should be considered if you are intending to travel.

2.       BEL Passenger Locator Form (PLF).  The Belgian NMR has confirmed there have been no changes to the PLF rules. If you have been outside BEL for less than 48 Hrs, you do not need to fill in a BEL PLF on return – providing you have not travelled by air, boat, train or bus.  You will also not be required to have tests on return, or isolate.  All rules on being outside BEL for more than 48 Hrs remain extant.

3.       UK Day 2 & 8 Tests.  If you intend to visit the UK for less than 48 Hrs, you are not required to purchase the day 2 & 8 Tests.  If your stay extends you must purchase the relevant tests for the length of your extended visit.

4.       Our status.  Our status as residents of Belgium, as confirmed by our Protocol ID cards, is the key factor that allows us to benefit from the 48 Hr rule.  Without this status we are no different to tourists and therefore fully subject to RED country COVID restrictions. If you do not have a Protocol ID, this is the time to get one.

5.       Returning to work when directed to quarantine.  There have been no changes to applicability of exemptions for essential workers of international organisations. A SHAPE 2* and the UK NMR remain the authorities able to designate certain work and workers as essential.

6.       Returning to Belgium and SHAPE.  As a reminder, when returning to Belgium the following guidance should be followed;

a.                All personnel that have been out of Belgium for more than 48 Hrs must complete a PLF, found here:

b.                All testing and isolation requirements must be adhered to in line with the direction from the PLF, less that explained at para 4.

c.                No access to SHAPE is permitted until a Return to Work form has been authorised through the NMR Registry, even where a Essential Worker declaration has been received.

7.            Next Steps.  We continue to engage regularly with the Host Nation authorities to seek clarity on all matters relating to COVID, in addition to regular dialogue with UK MOD. If at any time you have questions regarding COVID policy, please speak to the UK NMR team for guidance.

Capt Charles Ashcroft RN