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How to Exchange your Driver’s Licence

Image of Drivers licence in Belgum Ghent

This guide is about how you exchange your current driver’s licence to one that is valid to drive with in your new home in Ghent, Belgium.

Who needs to exchange a licence?

Licences obtained in one of the EU countries + Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein don’t need to be exchanged. But it is advisable to register them at the city hall. If you lose your licence or it gets stolen you can get it replaced by a Belgian licence quicker if it’s registered.

Picture of EU flag in article about exchanging driver's licence in Belgium and Ghent
Driving Licenses from EU nations don’t need to be exchanged in Belgium

Some countries have signed an agreement on driving licence recognition with Belgium. Your home country driving licence is valid in Belgium and no tests need to be taken, however, you have to exchange it for a Belgian version. See the procedure later in this guide.

The list of countries which have signed such an agreement (including countries like U.S, Turkey, Morocco and Brazil) can be found here.

You will need to do both the theoretical test and practical one in order to be allowed to drive if

  • you are registered as a Belgian resident
  • your licence is from a non-EU country
  • you are from a country that is not included in the above list

How? Read this.

The Belgian government may grant a one-year grace period for those needing to pass a Belgian driving test, as long as they’re holding an International Driving Permit (along with their original driving licence) at all times. An IDP can only be obtained from your own country/the country that issued your driving licence, so you need to get it before you come to Belgium! More info in the link.

Exchanging your current driver’s licence for a Belgian one

The first step is to go to the city hall in Zuid. Here are the opening hours in Dutch. It is worth checking the opening hours before you go to the city hall as they are quite irregular.

Go to the counter Rijden, Reizen en Verkiezingen with your licence. If you live outside of the centre of Ghent you need to go to the administrative centre in your neighbourhood. You can find a list with the centres in Ghent here.

Bring your Belgian residence card, your licence and 26€. You will have to fill out a form, pay your money, and then you’ll be given a ticket with a date on when you can collect your new licence. This process can take anything from a few days to two months. 

When you go to collect your licence, bring the ticket, the payment receipt and your Belgian residence card.

Once you are on the road with your car, you can check how to park in Ghent in this post. And you can find out about driving in Gent with the circulation plan here.

Note: the information on this page is based on the information found on official government and local websites, and on the experience of the authors. While we have done our best to make sure it is accurate, rules and regulations change and each individual situation might be different. It is always a good idea to check with appropriate authorities for the latest information. Consequently, the authors do not assume any responsibility or liability for any issues or damages stemming from the use of the information found on this website.

Guest author
Guest authors are expats and Gentenaars who enjoy spreading the word about Gent to the world. If you'd like to join us, contact us at hello@thesquare.gent.

10 thoughts on “How to Exchange your Driver’s Licence

  1. Hi I have international driving licence from Kenya, am I eligible to drive temporary , until I pass my exam for Belgian driving licence ?

    thanks

  2. Thanks Jenny for your feed back. Well my licence is not transferable. I just want to know if I can drive temporary for some time like 6 months , until I take my exam ?

    1. Hi Ben! I think you can’t drive without a valid licence, but try to check the site for International Driving Permit to obtain a temp licence.

  3. Hi,

    I possess driving licence from my home country, India and it is not part of the list of countries that have signed an agreement. I have already cleared my Theory test and before appearing for the practical test, I would like to do some practice.

    I would like to know if there is any possibility to obtain a practice licence?

    1. Hello Priya

      Thanks for your comment. Check the link for IDP and contact the authorities in your home country alternatively a driving school should be able to answer your question in detail. Good luck.

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