Country-specific travel advice
Select the country you will be travelling in to see motoring information and advice, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.
Driving in Belgium
Driving licences issued abroad can be used in Belgium only by visitors who have reached the minimum ages required for holders of Belgian licences for the same category of vehicle.
A foreign driving licence does not entitle the holder to drive a motor vehicle in Belgium until the age of 18yrs old.
Vehicles from the UK may be imported into Belgium for up to 6 months in any period of 12 months. When driving in Belgium the following documents should be carried:
Full, valid driving licence*
- Proof of insurance (third party or above)
- Proof of ID (Passport)
- Proof of ownership (V5C Certificate)
Visitors driving in Belgium are required by law to carry the following items. Hefty on-the-spot fines can be issued for failing to carry specific items:
- Reflective jackets (must be warn if involved in a breakdown or an accident or alongside a road where stopping or parking is prohibited)
- Warning triangle (compulsory in every vehicle with 4 wheels or more)
- Headlamp beam deflectors (depending on your car, you will either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually)
- First aid kit & fire extinguisher (vehicles registered in Belgium must carry both, but this is not compulsory for vehicles registered abroad)
- Motorcyclists: Motorcyclists riding in Belgium, including foreigners, must wear protective clothing, i.e.: gloves, jacket with long sleeves, trousers with long legs or overall, and boots protecting the ankles.
Children under 3 are not allowed on motorcycles. Children between 3 and 8 may be carried as passengers in a special seat, only on motorcycles up to 125cc.
Rules of the road & regulations
Rules of the road
Overtaking & passing
When overtaking a cyclist or moped rider there should be a distance of least 1m between them and the overtaking vehicle.
When the size of the carriageway makes passing difficult, the driver may use the side of the footway provided that pedestrians are not put in any danger.
Priority must be given to all vehicles coming from the right, except where the driver coming from the right is driving the wrong way in a one-way street.
However, vehicles on rails (trams) always have priority over all other users, whether on the right or on the left.
In built-up areas, a driver must slow down or stop for bus drivers who have indicated that they intend driving away from the bus stop.
Priority at pedestrian crossings
When approaching a pedestrian crossing where traffic is not controlled by traffic lights or by a traffic officer, drivers must slow down and give way to pedestrians already on the crossing or who are about to step on it.
Warning of approach
Warning signals must be as brief as possible. Audible warning should not be given unless there is no other way of avoiding an accident. Outside built-up areas, audible warning devices may be used as a warning to road users of the intention to overtake.
Between nightfall and dawn, except in the case of imminent danger, audible warning signals should be replaced by flashing headlights.
Any person must wear a seat belt whenever one is fitted on the front and rear seats in all vehicles registered in Belgium or abroad.
Travelling with children
A child less than 1.35m travelling in a car, van or lorry, must be seated in a child seat or child restraint. Where a child restraint/seat is not available, a child 3 years and over, measuring less than 1.35 m, must travel in the rear seat of the vehicle using a seat belt or other safety device attached to the seat. If the child is under 3 years old he/she may not be transported in a vehicle without child restraint/seat, except in a taxi.
The following national speed limits apply:
|Normal traffic conditions||120km/h||90km/h|
Unless otherwise indicated by the appropriate sign, vehicles must observe a minimum speed limit of 70 km/h on motorways, except when traffic is congested or conditions are dangerous. Vehicles which cannot reach a speed of 70 km/h on straight level stretches must not use motorways.
In residential areas the maximum speed is 20 km/h.
Certain zones, indicated by appropriate signs, have a speed limit of 30 km/h.
On roads with humps, drivers must approach with care and at a moderate pace so as to pass over them at a speed not exceeding 30 km/h.
A car navigation system with maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras is permitted, but equipment which actively searches for speed cameras or interferes with police equipment is prohibited.
The police may impose on-the-spot fines to visitors who infringe traffic regulations.
There are 4 categories of road traffic offences -
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Parking offence not causing a danger
- Driving in a bus lane
- Using a hand-held mobile phone when driving
- Parking offence causing a danger to others, for example on a pavement, in a disabled bay, near a junction
- Non-observance of the orange traffic light
- Infringement of passing rules
- Not stopping at a red traffic light
- Overtaking when prohibited
- Dangerous overtaking, in a bend or near the top of a hill
- Crossing a railway crossing when prohibited by lights
- Reversing or doing a U-turn on a motorway
Confiscation of vehicles
The police can confiscate a vehicle which is not insured. They can impound a vehicle under certain circumstances, e.g. if the load is unsafe or if the driver tests positive for alcohol.
In certain circumstances, a tribunal can order the seizure or the confiscation of a vehicle which has been involved in a serious offence.
Any vehicle standing must have its engine switched off, unless absolutely necessary.
Any vehicle standing (for the time necessary to load or unload persons or goods) or parked must be left on the right-hand side of the road, except in the case of a one way street when it can be left on either side (but see also below).
Paid parking is regulated by parking meters or automatic parking machines; methods of payment and parking conditions are specified on the machines in question.
Where these exist inside blue zones, parking discs must not be used, except when the parking meter or ticket machine is out of action.
Enforcement of parking regulations
Wheel clamps are sometimes used to immobilise vehicles which are not legally insured. They are not used to penalise drivers who have illegally parked their vehicles.
Disabled parking access
Foreign disabled permits are recognised in Belgium.
Special parking places are reserved for the disabled. These are indicated by sign E23, with the addition of the international symbol.
Badge holders may also park without time limit where parking time is otherwise restricted by road signs, in blue zones and by parking meters.
Traffic lights & road signs
The international three-colour traffic light system is used.
Green, amber and red arrows are used at some intersections
The present legal limit is 0.05% of alcohol in the blood (ie: 0.5g of alcohol per litre of blood) or 0.22mg per litre of exhaled air.
Anybody driving, about to drive or presumed to be the author of an accident (even as a pedestrian), may have to undergo a breath test on the spot.
If the test is positive (i.e. shows there is between 0.05% and 0.08% of alcohol in the blood), the person is not allowed to drive for at least three hours, their driving licence is withdrawn for that period.
If the alcohol level is 0.08% or more or if the driver refuses to undergo the test, he is not allowed to drive for at least 6 hours.
Roads & fuel
Belgian motorways are currently toll-free except for vehicles of 12t +.
There are service areas with a petrol station, restaurant, shop, showers and toilets, and sometimes a motel. Rest areas have picnic facilities.
Availability of fuel
Unleaded petrol, diesel oil and lubricating oil are readily available throughout Belgium.
The fuel SP95-E10, which contains up to 10% of ethanol and 90% of unleaded 95 petrol, is available. This fuel can be used in 60% of petrol-driven cars, especially in recent models.
Means of payment
Credit cards are generally accepted at petrol stations.
Automatic petrol pumps
Automatic petrol pumps are found in some large towns.
Emergency telephones linked to an SOS telephone network are installed at 2 km intervals along the motorways.
Vans or motorhomes weighing over 3.5 tonnes
If you're driving a van or motorhome weighing over 3.5 tonnes, there are some other rules you should be aware of:
- You mustn't use the left-hand lane on roads with more than three lanes (unless the lanes are forking off in different directions)
- You should never exceed 90kph, even on motorways
Useful guides and maps
Michelin - National Map Benelux
Michelin Motoring Atlas: Europe
- Still current at:
- 10th Dec 2016
- Updated at:
- 1st Dec 2016
- Latest update:
- Latest update: Summary - there may be increased security in place over the Christmas and New Year period, including at Christmas markets and other major events that might attract large crowds; you should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities
Information and advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe, following the result of the EU referendum.
There is a high threat from terrorism and the Belgians assess this to be a serious and real threat (level 3). Police operations are ongoing and there have been a number of police raids and arrests, including on 17 June 2016, relating to past and potential terrorist attacks.
There have been a number of high profile terrorist attacks across Belgium. On 6 August 2016, 2 police officers were attacked with a machete in the city of Charleroi. On 22 March 2016 co-ordinated terrorist attacks killed 32 and injured hundreds more at Brussels Zavantem airport and on the metro system.
Security operations are likely to be carried out at short notice. You should remain vigilant and follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities. Police have asked the public not to comment on police operations on social media. You can find more information on the Belgian Crisis Centre website and Twitter feed.
Public events and busy public areas across Belgium are likely to see additional security. Some public events may be cancelled and some tourist attractions closed. Contact event organisers for information on whether specific events are going ahead.
There may be increased security in place over the Christmas and New Year period, including at Christmas markets and other major events that might attract large crowds. You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.
Travelling via Calais? Check our travel advice for France.
Up to 1.8 million British nationals visit Belgium every year. Most visits are trouble-free. Take out travel and medical insurance before you travel.
If you need to contact the emergency services, call 112.
If you’re travelling to commemorate the First World War centenary, see this information and advice page to help plan your trip and make sure it’s safe and trouble free. Some sites will become extremely busy at certain times of the year, and some may have access restrictions.
When visiting former WW1 battlefields in north west Belgium, stay on the footpath and exercise caution if you see anything that looks like shells or munitions. Unexploded shells have recently been uncovered. Move away from the site and call the police emergency number 112 to report any incidents.
European summits and demonstrations often take place around the Schuman area. They can cause some disruption and access to the British Embassy and the British Consulate General can be affected. Check local news and transport sites: train & metro info and also road info.
Theft and pick pocketing is a problem in crowded areas. Take care of your belongings and passports at all train stations in Brussels. See Crime
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Office: Embassy Brussels
Street Address: Avenue d’Auderghem 10
ZIP Code: 1040
Telephone: (+32) 2 287 62 11
Fax: (+32) 2 287 62 50
British Consulate Brussels
Office: British Consulate Brussels
Street Address: Avenue des Nerviens 9-31
ZIP Code: 1040
Telephone: (+32) 2 287 62 11