MANILA, Philippines?Filipinos in Belgium holding valid Philippine driver?s licenses can now exchange these licenses for a Belgian driver?s license without undergoing written and practical examinations, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
In a statement, the DFA said this development was a result of an administrative arrangement made by the Philippine embassy in Brussels with the Belgian Federal Public Service, Mobility, and Transport, an initiative that the embassy has been working on for the past eight years.
Prior to the implementation last April 22, Filipinos living in Belgium took written and practical examinations in either French or Dutch/Flemish to obtain a Belgian driver?s license.
Those who wanted to take the exams in English had to pay for translation fee of 50 euros. Filipinos who did not want to take the exams were allowed to use an international driver?s license obtained in the Philippines to be able to drive in Belgium.
Filipinos have already started to avail of this new arrangement with the first Filipino expatriates, Alex Fernandez and wife Jovelle Fernandez, getting their Belgian driver?s licenses on April 22.
?They had absolutely no trouble. They simply presented the requirements, including their valid Philippine driver?s licenses at their local commune, and a week later, they received their Belgian driver?s licenses,? Philippine Ambassador to Belgium Cristina Ortega said.
She added that this arrangement is a manifestation of Belgium?s recognition of Filipino competence especially those who work as drivers for diplomats and local Belgians.
Belgium agreed to the arrangement since the Philippines is a signatory to both the 1949 and 1968 Geneva Conventions on Road Traffic.
In her meeting with the Belgian officials, the ambassador gave her assurance that only valid Philippine driver?s licenses will be exchanged for Belgian ones.
The Philippine Land Transport Office (LTO) submitted a list of security features to the embassy with which the embassy or Belgian officials could check the validity of the driver?s license.
The following are required for exchanging the Philippine driver?s license to the Belgian driver?s license: valid Philippine driver?s license; Belgian identity card or work permit; one passport size photo; and fee of 16 euros.
For further information, Filipinos in Belgium can visit the Federal Public Service, Mobility and Transport website or contact their local commune.
This arrangement also applies to Belgian nationals living in the Philippines who can also exchange their valid Belgian driver?s license for a Philippine driver?s license at any LTO office in the Philippines.