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Top tips on learning to drive in Brussels

Passing your driving test is a rite of passage. Not only is it a passport to freedom in your free time, it’s essential for many jobs.

If you need to learn to drive in Belgium but are accustomed to the rules of the road in another country – and maybe don't speak the language – it becomes a bigger challenge.

There are four categories of licence: A3 (scooters/mopeds), A (motorcycles), B (cars) and G (agricultural vehicles).

To obtain a Belgian driving licence, you need to fulfil a number of conditions: pass a theory exam (residence permit necessary), pass a practical exam, declare that you have not been banned from driving or have passed a reintegration test, and declare that you have no physical disabilities or afflictions.

Language

Both the theory and practical tests take place in either French or Dutch; a translation service is available for the theory test and it is possible to have a translator for the practical exam at an extra cost. For the theory (normal cost €15), the translation service is €50.

However, participants hoping to pass the driving licence theory test in Brussels will soon no longer be allowed to bring along an interpreter to the exam. In an effort to combat cheating on the theory test, a new automatic translation system will be introduced in the course of 2017.

Exam participants with insufficient knowledge of Dutch or French will be aided by a computerised translation of the questions, with audio recordings provided in English, German, Spanish, Polish, Turkish, Arabic or Italian, the most widely spoken languages in the capital.

Pass mark

The theory test, valid for three years, can be taken from the age of 17 and is necessary to obtain a provisional licence. Candidates must answer 41 out of 50 multiple choice questions correctly and answer correctly all the questions on serious driving offences. This is followed by an eye test. After the theory test, you receive a certificate and you need to take this to your local commune to receive a provisional licence (permis de conduire provisoire, PCP/voorlopig rijbewijs, VRB).

Provisional licence

The type of provisional licence you will receive depends on age and how you are being taught: an 18-month PCP/VRB for those taking lessons with a driving school, or the 36-month PCP/VRB for those who choose to learn accompanied by an adult (who must have held a valid category B licence for at least eight years). The validity period of the provisional licence depends on the type of licence, with the learner having from three to 18 months to take the practical test.

The practical test

You must be over 18 and hold a valid provisional licence. If you fail the practical twice, you have to take six hours of training with a driving school before retaking the test. It is similar to tests in other EU countries and lasts at least 40 minutes. Either the driving instructor is present or the qualified adult. The examiner sits in the back of the car.

Documents

You need the following original documents at the test: proof of identity, provisional driving licence, proof of identity and driving licence of the accompanying person, proof of payment of the fee, vehicle registration documents and proof of insurance. Once you pass the practical test, take the certificate, two passport photographs and proof of identity to the your local commune to be issued with a full driving licence.

International driving licence

You can obtain an international driving licence from your local commune. You need to provide a Belgian driving licence, passport photo, proof of identity and the fee. The international licence is valid five years.

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Categories:   Administration

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