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When you need to drive asap…

Recently, I changed job and the need for a driving license has arisen. 5 years ago, I had given it a try mainly to gain some independence and because driving is just a normal thing. I successfully passed my theory examination, did my 20 hours with the school and then I drove for 6 months but I hated it so I just kept using the bus…for 5 years. Today, I am in a race to get my license!

Kia Picanto GT Line

If you want to drive in Belgium here is how it works:

  • Pass the examination at an official Exam Center. You need to achieve 41 points out of 50, questions are multiple choices on PC with only one correct answer and about 15 seconds to answer.

  • Learn to drive, here you have 2 options:

  • Do 20 hours with a driving school, then you will get a temporary license valid for 18 months. Once you complete your hours and your coach validates your abilities to drive, you can drive on your own with an L sign visible on your car;

  • Find yourself a teacher (your dad, your mom, or anyone who has enough driving experience), a car and ask for a 36 months temporary license. This is called “Filière Libre” and you can only drive with your teacher;

  • Pass the practical examination which represents 2 hours of driving on an exam route without making mistakes a.k.a don’t burn a red or yellow light, don’t cross a STOP without stopping, don’t cross a continued white/yellow line, don’t be dangerous on the road, be able to park your car in 4 moves,… You can fail the exam twice, then you need to take an extra 6 hours of driving lessons with a driving school.

  • Starting 2018, you will need to have a first aid certification;

  • Drive Drive Drive!

License validity in Belgium

  • Your results at the theory exam remains valid for a period of 3 years;

  • Your temporary license with a driving school is valid for a period of 18 months;

  • Your temporary license with a guide is valid for a period of 36 months;

If you let your temporary license expire, you won’t be able to get a new one before 3 years. Your only options are to wait 3 years to redo the full process OR to pass the exam immediately.

In my case, I let me temporary license and exam results expire so I couldn’t drive for 3 years. Now, however, I am eligible to take the practical exam after 6 hours of driving school BUT to get my temporary license back, I need to finish the 20 hours.

Driving School - Auto Ecole Européenne

Costs involved to get a temporary license:

  • First you need to pass the theory exam and each attempt will costs you 15€;

  • If you fail twice the theory, you must follow 12 hours of course at a driving school to learn your theory with a teacher. This costs 95€ and after completion, you will receive a paper allowing you to take the exam as many times as you need;

  • Starting 2018, you will need to learn first aid, probably through a training with the Red Cross or an affiliate…

  • Then you need to learn to drive. If you do it on your own, costs involve the fuel if you use your parent’s car or to buy a second hand car, insure it and the fuel. With a school, the 20 hours package (car, fuel, insurance and coach) will costs 1080€, this is the rate from the European Driving School.

  • Finally, you will need to pay for the examination > count about 2 hours and a fee for the car (if you use the one from the school) so let’s say about 150€.

  • If you fail the examination twice, you will need to take 6 hours of lessons with a driving school, which amounts to 325€ - 350€.

In my case, I had to take the theory exam again and driving lessons. I can limit myself to 6 h and be eligible to go for the exam depending on when it will take place. I need to drive by end of October so it might be more interesting for me, time wise, to finish 20 hours and get my temporary license. This way, I can keep practicing before taking the exam.

It is also important that I can drive by the end of October because this is when my car arrives in Belgium and I definitely want to get used to it as soon as possible. I chose a Kia Picanto GT Line, not the most powerful car but one that is practical to drive in the city and that has some character. Why a new car you might ask? I had a second hand car in 2012 and it didn’t go so well hence my preference for a new one…

Do you have questions? Fire away!

If not, stay posted for a little something about owning a new car and insuring it in Belgium!


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