If you will be studying or working in Belgium, you may want to get a driver’s licence while you are there. If you have a foreign licence, you may be able to exchange it for a Belgian one, or you may need to pass a theory and driving test. Being well informed about your options is the key to saving time and money when it comes to getting your driver’s licence in Belgium.
Who can drive in Belgium with a foreign driver’s licence?
If you are from an European Union country that has an agreement with Belgium which recognizes foreign EU licences, you are eligible to get a driver’s licence in Belgium. You may also be required to carry an international licence (possibly with a translation attached). You can get more information on exchanging a licence, registering for an international driver’s licence and applying for a Belgian licence by visiting your local town hall (maison communale/stadhuis) or commune office.
What about EEA Citizens Driving in Belgium?
You won’t be required to exchange your driver’s licence if you are an expat who is moving to Belgium from a European Economic Area country (EU plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway).
Good things to know:
- Register your national licence with the town hall; in the case that your licence is stolen or lost, you will be able to get a Belgian licence as a replacement.
- You can exchange your EEA licence for a Belgian one as a form of local identification.
- Most EU licences are valid for 10 years and ones with an unlimited validity period may have to be renewed two years after you have officially registered as a Belgian resident.
What if you are a Citizen from a Non-EEA country?
If you are a non EEA citizen, these are important things you need to know:
- You can use your foreign licence for up to 6 months. If you stay longer than 6 months, or register as a Belgian resident, you will require a Belgian licence.
Check with your home country or local town hall office as you may require an International Driving Permit (IDP) as well as a translation of the licence.
Many non-EEA countries have made reciprocal arrangements with Belgium that allow for an easy exchange of their driver’s licence for a Belgian equivalent. You will however, have to be registered in a municipality and be able to show a Belgian residency permit. If you are a non-EEA national you can visit the government website to see if there is agreement for your country here.
- If your country does not have such an agreement with Belgium, you will have to pass the Belgian driving theory and practical exam. Visit the Examination Centres (GOCA or SBAT). They can the theory exam in English if you book well in advance.
If you have already exchanged a foreign driver’s licence for a driver’s licence in another EU country, it will also be accepted as valid in Belgium.
Taking the Belgian theory and driving tests
If you need to take the theory and driving test to get a Belgian Driver’s licence, here are some important things you need to know:
- The driving test will be at an official test centre, and you can take the text in French or Dutch.
- You can have a translator present during the theory test if you book an appointment at the test centre in Schaerbeek, Brussels. New Traffic Books has an English theory book with exercises to help you prepare. Click here for more information (in French and Dutch only).
- Make sure to bring your ID and fee (EUR 15 for the basic or EUR 50 including translator) to the exam. You will be required to take an eye exam
- The cost of the driver’s test is from EUR 30 to 50+ depending on what is required. You can see the price list here in French or Dutch.
- Your certificate is valid for up to three years and your local commune give you a provisional driver’s licence which will be valid for 18 or 36 months. With this licence as long as you are over 18, you can take the practical examination.
What Documents do I Need to get a Driver’s Licence in Belgium?
Take the following original documents with you when you go to take your driving test:
- Proof of identity
- Provisional driving licence
- Proof of the fee payment
- Proof of insurance
- Vehicle Registration documents
How Do I get my Driver’s Licence in Belgium?
Once you have passed your practical test, take your certificate with two passport pictures along with proof of identity to the Town Hall (Maison Communale/Stadhuis) in your locality. They will issue a temporary licence until your full driver’s licence is sent to you.