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Driving and Public Transportation

Belgium - Driving and Public Transportation


Driving licences issued in EU countries are valid for use in Belgium for the period of their validity. Non-EU nationals can use their own licence or an international driving licence initially, but are required to apply at their local town hall for a Belgian licence if their stay in Belgium exceeds 90 days, submitting their existing licence, two passport-type photos and their residence permit.

Nationals of EU countries, Israel, Japan, Malta, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Switzerland and the US can swap their own licences for a Belgian one without the need to take a driving test.

Driving is on the right in Belgium, and the speed limits are 31 mph (50 kph) in built-up areas, 75 mph (120 kph) on motorways and 75 mph (120 kph) on other roads. It is compulsory to wear front and rear seat belts where fitted, and children below 12 are not allowed to travel in the front passenger seat. The maximum blood alcohol level permitted is 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood.

There are various taxes associated with car ownership in Belgium. Circulation tax has to be paid to the Administration des Contributions Directes on purchase of the car. The level of this tax is based on the engine size of your car. Road tax, paid annually, is also based on the engine power and on whether your car is used for business purposes. Finally, there is a registration tax of EUR62. The rear number plate is sent to you in the post following registration and you are required to arrange for the front one to be made at one of the shops which provide this service.

As a driver you are required to take out personal liability insurance, but do not need to insure the car. Third party liability is the minimum legal requirement, but fully comprehensive cover is recommended. Insurance companies issue a Green Card and an accident report form, which should be kept in the car at all times. In the event of any accident, you should complete and sign the form.

Belgium has an excellent public transport system and its cities have fully networked train, tram metro and bus services, making connections very easy. It is possible to buy single tickets or season tickets which cover travel on all forms of city transport.

There are efficient rail services connecting all parts of the country, and train fares are relatively low, especially if you buy in advance online.

Taxis are widely available in the cities, but you have to hire them at designated ranks or call them by telephone, it is not usual practice to hail one on the street. All taxis are metered and operate according to standard tariffs.


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