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Foreign driving license - validity in Belgium ? How long ? Rules ?

Question

People are often questionning the obligation or not to convert their foreign driving license into a Belgian one.

What are the rules ? Obligatory to convert or not ? What when the foreign license is lost or expired ? .....

You can find them (in french) on this site which is regularly updated because it concerns the instructions given to the communes about this subject.

http://mobilit.belgium.be/fr/circulationroutiere/permis_de_conduire/info...

Foreign licenses are mentionned under chapters 27 & 28

a) you have a European licence
http://mobilit.belgium.be/sites/default/files/downloads/chapitre_27_perm...

b) you have a non-Europen licence
http://mobilit.belgium.be/sites/default/files/downloads/chapitre_28_perm...

Hope this will assist some of the readers of this Q&A

Answer
Mikek1300gt Jan 22, 2017 18:50

The EU insists all EU licences are equally valid in all member states and don't have to be exchanged. They are wrong. The rules are being interpreted differently in all member states to the point you can be refused employment for not having the local licence for the amount of time they would like you to hold it for. It's no good the commune knowing the rules when insurance companies and employers are not interested in the rules!

Answer
becasse Jan 22, 2017 21:55

UK licences are a real problem because they are only valid as long as the DVLA have been advised of the driver's current residential address - and the DVLA refuses to accept advice of a residential address outside the UK. This means that if you live in Belgium and have a UK driving licence you must exchange it for a Belgian one, fortunately the Belgians will accept the information the UK licence contains in respect of entitlement.

You will doubtless get away with using a UK-issued licence in Belgium - until you happen to lose it, when neither the DVLA nor the Belgians will replace it! You could also have a problem driving in the UK in a Belgian-registered car.

Answer
CM Jan 22, 2017 22:52

The EU driving licence thing is great, as it's so easy to move around and hire cars or bikes in other EEA countries.

I have experienced the nightmare Becasse talks about with UK ones, so I would recommend getting a Belgian one asap, especially if you plan on driving somewhere with a points based penalty system like the UK.

Answer
Mikek1300gt Jan 23, 2017 06:38

""UK licences are a real problem because they are only valid as long as the DVLA have been advised of the driver's current residential address"".

If the license is invalid, then how come I am permitted to drive on it under UK law? This is the sort of confusion I'm talking about. As far as I can see, it's an offense under UK law to not update the address but it does NOT invalidate the license, it does not remove your right to drive on it. Yes, you will find many articles that assume that because it's an offense to not update it, it's invalid. Not so.

And if a Belgian license is valid in the UK, how do I get away with not having an updated address on it if I am UK resident? Then there is the not so minor issue of UK insurance companies and employers discriminating against non UK licenses. I know this is the case in many other countries too, as my Spanish and French resident friends have told me.

In reality, it's all a bit of a mess.

Answer
kasseistamper Jan 23, 2017 08:45

Whatever the rules say and wherever your licence was issued, if you are in a situation where you have to produce a licence and the police officer - or whoever - is unfamiliar with the rules, you will have a problem even if it is no more than a frustrating delay.

Answer
anon Jan 23, 2017 09:16

"if you are in a situation where you have to produce a license and the police officer - or whoever - is unfamiliar with the rules, you will have a problem even if it is no more than a frustrating delay."

Not necessarily - the fact that the police can't read or understand your license may help you to get away with all sorts:

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/rogue-driver-prawo-is-lost-in-trans...

Answer
CC_R Jan 24, 2017 07:37

U.K. Photo licences don't expire on the paper part BUT the photos do another way to screw your doe cash. after a set time (I think it's ten years) you have to update your photo or it's not valid as a form of ID. Lots of people caught out by that in the uk.
Our commune seemed most bemused that we wanted to swap ours before the photo ran out to change the address. Simple to do with valid uk licence and Belgium ones the photo doesn't expire.

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