PRIOR TO ARRIVAL
Before arriving to the country of assignment, U.S. personnel must have a valid stateside driver's license. The driving age is 18 and above in most European countries. People under age 18, even if they have a U.S. driver's license, are not allowed to drive in the country.
Each country in U.S. Army Garrison Benelux has different process for driver's licenses. The processes are detailed below by country.
MAINTAINING U.S. DRIVER'S LICENSES WHILE OVERSEAS
While living abroad, U.S. personnel who are eligible to drive must have a valid U.S. driver's license. If the license expires during their tour, people should renew it before the expiration date. Each state has different rules and requirements on license renewal for U.S. citizens living abroad. People should check their state's official vehicle department, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, for more information on the application process.
PROCESSES FOR EACH COUNTRY
Duty Station: Brussels, Chièvres Air Base, SHAPE and Zutendaal
Required for driving in country: SHAPE Driver's License
Required for international driving: Belgian Driver's License or International Driver's License (active-duty service members only)
GETTING A SHAPE DRIVER'S LICENSE (ALL U.S. PERSONNEL OVER AGE 18)
The SHAPE driver's license is only valid in Belgium. The driver's license is a translation of the U.S. driver's license.
After arriving to the country, all incoming personnel who are eligible to drive must go to the Driver's Testing Station in Bldg. 220, Room 104, on SHAPE, to sign up for the mandatory class and receive study materials for the SHAPE driver's license.
During the class, people learn about the driving rules and road signage in Belgium. Individuals with only a U.S. driver's license must then pass two written tests on the rules and signs
U.S. personnel who moved from another European country and have a valid U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) driver's license, which is typically issued to personnel stationed in Germany, should hold onto it as they will still need to apply for the SHAPE driver's license. Individuals with a valid USAREUR driver's license are not required to take the written tests, but they must attend the class and get a SHAPE driver's license.
Those who pass both tests will get a certificate from the Driver's Testing Station. They then take their certificate to the SHAPE Registration Office in Bldg. 210 where they are issued the SHAPE driver's license.
GETTING A BELGIAN DRIVER'S LICENSE (BELGIAN PROTOCOL ID CARDHOLDERS)
After receiving the Belgian Protocol ID, people must return to the Driver's Testing Station. The station does not issue Belgian driver's licenses, but the staff will help with the application process.
The required documentation includes:
- A statement of residence (which can be procured from the SHAPE Federal Police in Bldg. 210)
- Two European Union passport photos (3.5 centimeters by 4.5 centimeters in size) People can have their photo taken at the SHAPE Registration Office for a nominal fee.
- SHAPE ID
- SHAPE driver's license
- U.S. driver's license
Step #3: Go to city hall and submit the application.
People should then go to the city hall in the commune they reside in with the application paperwork. People must be in the national registry, which is done when the Registration Office personnel submit the application for the Belgian protocol ID, in order to be issued a Belgian's driver's license. It may take time for people's names to appear in the registry. It is recommended to wait a few weeks after getting the Belgian protocol ID to visit city hall and submit the paperwork.
Each commune has a different fee for the Belgian driver's license. The expiration date for the license depends on the commune. Some communes issue a driver's license valid for 10 years while others may issue the license valid for the person's date estimated return from overseas, or DEROS, listed on their SHAPE ID, Depending on the commune, a card may be issued the same day or a person may pick up the card at a later date.
GETTING AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVER'S LICENSE (NON-BELGIAN PROTOCOL ID CARDHOLDERS)
Since the Belgian Protocol ID is required for the Belgian driver's license, people who do not have a protocol ID, such as active-duty service members living in the barracks, can apply for an international driver's license. This option does not apply to family members and DOD civilian employees.
Similar to the Belgian driver's license, people will first get their SHAPE driver's license and then go to the Driver's Testing Station afterwards. The staff will help individuals with completing the paperwork and ensuring they have the necessary documentation. People then go the city hall in Mons and submit the application and pay a fee. The driver's license is also valid for all countries in Europe but is only valid for three years. If one's tour extends beyond the expiration date, they can renew the license.
Duty Station: Dülmen
Required for driving in country: U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) Driver's License
Required for international driving: International Driver's License
GETTING A USAREUR DRIVER'S LICENSE
The USAREUR driver's license is only valid in Germany. To drive in Germany, people must have a valid U.S. driver's license prior to moving to the country.
Step #1: Complete USAREUR Driver's License training on Joint Knowledge Online (JKO).
People age 18 and over must first complete the training and pass the USAREUR driver's test on Joint Knowledge Online (Course IDs: USA-007 and USA-007B). Common Access Card, or CAC, users can log into JKO. CAC users can sponsor dependents without CACs on the website. To access the USAREUR study guide and practice test, go to this link. U.S. personnel must receive a score of 85% or higher.
For applicants under age 18 who already possess a valid U.S. driver's license, their sponsor must email a request to get an exception to policy memorandum. The request should include the sponsor's name, rank, organization, APO mailing address and a copy of the front and back of the applicant's U.S. driver's license.
Step #2: Go to the Driver's Testing Station at USAG Rheinland-Pfalz to apply in person.
After passing the online test, personnel should then go to the Driver's Testing Station (Bldg. 3213, Room 207) on Kleber Caserne in U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz in Kaiserslautern. It takes a minimum of 48 hours for the scores to be processed to the driver's testing station. Personnel will then fill out an application (190-1T), take an eye test and pay a fee for the USAREUR driver's license.
The current fee is $20, and, until further notice, only checks or money orders are only accepted for payment. Personnel will receive a temporary driver's license on-site. The hard-copy license will be sent to their APO mailing address within three to four weeks.
USAREUR driver's licenses are valid for five years. If someone's tour extends beyond five years, they must renew the license and pay the fee.
Fore more information on the process, visit the USAG Rheinland-Pfalz website.
GETTING A INTERNATIONAL DRIVER'S LICENSE
U.S. personnel must request an application for the international driver's license at the nearest driver's testing station for U.S. government employees. To apply for this license, they must submit the provided application to the rathaus, or city hall, in their town of residence. People must possess the hard-copy USAREUR driver's license before beginning the process for the international driver's license. For the application, personnel must provide a copy of their U.S. driver's license, one EU passport photo (3.5 centimeters by 4.5 centimeters) in addition to paying a fee. Fees will vary per town. For more information, personnel should talk to the rathaus personnel in their town.
Duty Station: Eygelshoven, JFC Brunssum and Schinnen
Required for driving in country: U.S. Army Garrison Benelux in Schinnen Driver's Permit
Required for international driving: NATO Driver's License, International Driver's License
GETTING THE USAG BENELUX IN SCHINNEN DRIVER'S PERMIT
The U.S. Army Garrison Benelux in Schinnen driver's permit is only valid in The Netherlands.
After arriving to the country, incoming personnel age 18 and over must report to Schinnen Bldg. 4 to sign up for a mandatory driving class and receive study materials. Applicants must bring their U.S. ID card, AFNORTH ID Card, a valid U.S. license or another license such as an U.S. Army Europe, or USAREUR, driver’s license, and a copy of assignment orders.
They will fill out an application for the U.S. Forces POV Certificate of License. They will also have their picture taken and electronically sign documentation. Afterwards, U.S. personnel will then receive a study manual.
U.S. personnel will attend the four-hour mandatory class, typically held on Wednesdays starting at 8 a.m., to learn about driving rules in Europe. Attendees must pass both the Dutch I European Law test and Dutch I European Road Signs test. They will then receive the USAG Benelux in Schinnen driver’s permit, which issued at the driver’s testing station.
GETTING THE NATO'S DRIVER'S LICENSE
The NATO driver’s license is only valid for three years, and people can drive in countries in NATO and the European Union. If an individual’s tour extends beyond three years, they must renew the license.
After receiving the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux in Schinnen driver's permit, personnel must go to JFC Brunssum Bldg. H-102 to get a NATO driver’s license. Personnel must present their Schinnen driver’s permit to get the NATO driver’s license. No additional testing is required.
Drivers are expected to keep their U.S. driver’s license and NATO driver’s license with them at all times.
GETTING THE OFFICIAL DUTCH DRIVER'S LICENSE
U.S. personnel age 18 and over are strongly advised to get an official Dutch driver’s license in addition to the Schinnen driver’s permit and NATO driver’s license if they plan to drive in Europe throughout their tour. The Dutch driver’s license is valid for life, but it must be renewed every 10 years.
The following documents are required for a Dutch driver’s license: A U.S. ID card, valid U.S. driver’s license and the Schinnen driver’s permit. In addition, applicants must provide two EU passport photos and a medical statement, or Eigen Verklaring in Dutch, and pre-stamped envelope. The medical statement form must be obtained at the city hall in the town where the person is living for a fee.
Personnel must go to the Driver's Testing Station on Schinnen. The staff members will help with the process by completing the necessary forms for the Dutch government. They will review the application and mail it to the Dutch government.
After the application is approved, the Dutch driver’s license will be sent to the Driver’s Testing Station in Schinnen. The station staff members will notify applicants when the driver’s license is available for pick-up. The entire process typically takes about two to three weeks.
The Driver’s Testing Station staff members in Schinnen are the only authorized personnel in the Netherlands to do this process for U.S. government employees. Please contact the staff members for additional information on the process.