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Driving Licenses

Italy - Driving Licenses

Driving licenses in Italy (patenti di guida) are issued to individuals of 18 years and older. The rules vary depending on whether a license holder is a citizen of a European Union member state.

Expats from EU member states can drive in Italy using their European driving license issued by their home country. The new European driving license introduced in January 2013 does not have the residential address displayed on the permit and is valid in all EU member states until it expires. Therefore no formal recognition is required for these licenses in Italy.

If the original license has an expiry date, it is necessary to obtain a new Italian license. Anyone who has obtained residence in Italy must comply with Italian license regulations. Therefore license holders under the age of 50 will have a license validity period of 10 years, regardless of the expiry date on their EU license. For residents between 50 and 70, licenses will expire 5 years after the first day of official residency.

An Italian driving license can be obtained by exchanging the foreign license for an Italian one. It is not necessary to take the written and practical tests. When applying for exchange (conversione), the license holder is required to submit an application within the validity period of the foreign license to the local department of motor vehicles (Ufficio Provinciale della Motorizzazione Civile), along with the TT 2112 application form, original license and a photocopy of the same, valid ID and a photocopy of the same, residence permit and a photocopy of the same, two passport-sized photographs and receipt of fee payment. In some cases, a medical certificate with a passport-sized photograph may also be requested, stating suitable physical and mental condition. The certificate needs to be issued by an authorized doctor within the last six months. The Motorizzazione will be able to provide a list of authorized doctors. The entire process takes up to four months, and after that an Italian driving license is issued.

Individuals from non-EU member states can drive using their original license for a period of one year after obtaining residency in Italy. If the license is not in compliance with the norms of certain international agreements, then it is necessary to also have an authentic Italian translation or an equivalent document. A new license, with an Italian number and new date of expiry, will be issued.

Those with licenses issued by countries that are party to an agreement of mutual recognition with Italy can have their licenses exchanged. Some of these countries include Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland among others. The updated list of countries may be checked in advance with the relevant consulate or at the local Ministry of Transport Office (Ministero dei Trasporti). Some citizens are eligible to have their licenses exchanged in certain cases only. These include diplomatic and consular personnel of Canada, diplomatic and consular personnel and their family members of Chile and the United States; and citizens involved in governmental missions and their family members of Zambia.

The process of exchanging a non-EU license is the same as that for an EU license. The requirements may vary slightly in different regional offices. Non-EU nationals must also submit proof of the date they acquired residency in Italy, either through a residence certificate or a self-certification.

Once an Italian license is issued, the original foreign license is not valid anymore. Those holding licenses that may not be exchanged will need to undergo full theoretical and practical testing in order to obtain an Italian driving license. The theory test is administered on a computer in Italian and lasts for half an hour and comprises 40 true/false questions. It must be taken at the department of motor vehicles. On passing this test, a learner’s permit is issued (foglio rosa) with a validity of six months. The individual must then undergo a minimum of six hours of driving lessons, following which a practical driving exam is held. This lasts for up to 40 minutes and includes some oral questions, parking, turning and driving tests.

Individuals who do not intend to move residency to Italy can use their original driving license, but must carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by their home country.

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