Belgium: Important information for employers following Brussels terror attack

Following the terror attacks in Brussels, employers with foreign employees in Belgium should be mindful of the following:

  • Ensure that all employees -  both Belgian and foreign nationals - carry proper documentation when travelling;         
  • Once Zaventem-Brussels International Airport and other transportation hubs reopen, employees traveling through Belgium should be prepared for close scrutiny and delays; 
  • Belgian government offices are closed and many services are suspended in the wake of the attacks.  The suspension of Belgian postal services could delay the delivery of both Belgian and Dutch immigration documents.  As a result, foreign employees awaiting the approval of applications for extensions of stay and work authorization may experience delays.  Contact your designated Fragomen professional to discuss the impact of these delays on the immigration status and work authorization of foreign employees in Belgium and the Netherlands.

USA: House of Representatives passes bill to tighten security of the Visa Waiver Program

The House of Representatives late Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to increase the security requirements of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) through “The Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act” (H.R. 158).  If enacted, the bill would require all VWP travellers to present an e-passport with a biometric-enabled chip by April 1, 2016.  It would also bar most travellers who have visited Iraq and Syria since March 2011 from entering the United States under the program, and instead require them to go through the formal visa process, which includes an in-person interview.

USA: White House enhances security of the Visa Waiver Program

The White House announced a plan on Monday to further enhance the security of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.  The new security measures are intended to thwart similar attacks in the United States by increasing intelligence sharing between VWP countries and information collection about travellers’ past visits to countries considered terrorist safe havens. Though the Obama Administration has taken a series of steps over the past year to improve the security of the VWP, Monday’s announcement is expected to accelerate these changes and add additional safeguards.

Belgium: Travel update

The Belgian government has confirmed the continuation of the increase in its national threat level to its highest level, very serious, for the Brussels region, indicating that the threat of a terrorist attack is serious and imminent. The Belgian government will review the threat level and the security measures regularly.

France: Restrictive border controls implemented

Due to the recent terror attacks and related state of emergency, France has put strict border controls into place until at least December 13, 2015, at train stations, air and seaports.  Travellers should expect increased security at entry checkpoints.  Issuance of visas and immigration documents could be delayed or suspended at the discretion of the French government. 

Egypt: Travel update

Regular flights to and from the UK to Sharm el Sheikh were suspended on 4 November. Special security measures are now in place to allow travellers already in Sharm el Sheikh to return to the UK by air safely. These extra measures will be in place up to and including Tuesday 17 November.

If you’re visiting Sharm el Sheikh now, you should contact your airline or travel company and make arrangements to leave by Tuesday 17 November at the latest.

If you choose to remain in Sharm el Sheikh after Tuesday 17 November, you’ll need to make your own arrangements for returning to the UK. This may involve having to travel with an airline to which extra security measures eg separate baggage flights, don’t apply. You should make your own decisions about the risk based on the information in our travel advice.

France: Travel update

On Friday 13 November, a number of terrorist incidents took place in Paris resulting in widespread casualties. British nationals are advised to exercise caution in public places and follow the advice of the local authorities. French authorities have heightened security measures due to a risk of further attacks. The advice of the Paris Police is currently to keep movement around town to a minimum. Systematic border control checks have been implemented at all entry points into France. A national state of emergency and a three-day period of mourning have been declared (14-16 November). Public gatherings, the flying of drones and use of fireworks in the Ile de France region (Paris and surrounding area) have been prohibited.