Nowadays, driving is an essential part of life for the majority of us. When moving to Italy you may need to know what exactly you can and cannot do with a driving licence you already possess. Here is a brief, yet, precise review of the most significant and useful rules for both EU and non-EU expats to be aware of to ensure that driving in their new home, i.e. Italy, goes smoothly.
Driving licences issued by another EU or SEE country are recognized in Italy without any formalities but we need to make a distinction.
If the holder, who has taken up residence in Italy, has got a driving licence whose expiry date is the one set out according to the EU rules he/she can drive with it until its date of expiry. Once expired the driving licence is to be converted at the “Motorizzazione Civile”. The conversion can be asked for even before its expiry date by showing a medical certificate and the license duration will be renewed according to the expiry dates provided for in Italy.
If the holder, who has taken up residence in Italy, has got a driving license without the expiry date or with an expiry date longer than the one set out according to the rules issued by the EU (art. 7, paragraph 2 of EU Directive 2006/126/CEE) he/she is requested to convert the driving license after 2 years of having obtained the Italian residence status.
It is a little-known fact that if foreign driving licenses need to be translated into Italian and legalized before the local court and who infringes such a rule is punished with a fine whose amount goes from 400 up to 1,600 Euro.
Please note that in all EU member states the validity of EU driving licenses due to expire from 1 February to 31 August is postponed by 7 further months.
CONVERSION OF DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED BY A NON-EU COUNTRY
The holder of a non-EU driving licence who has become a resident in Italy is allowed to drive with it for up to one year and, after that, he/she is supposed to apply for the conversion of their existing foreign driving license into the Italian one.
The conversion is possible if the country of the driving license holder has signed a reciprocity treaty with Italy. In this event the conversion is allowed without taking any examination under the following two conditions:
– the non-EU driving license has been obtained before becoming a resident in Italy;
– the driving license holder has been resident in Italy for less than 4 years at the time of the submission of the conversion application.
See below the list of countries whose driving licenses can be automatically converted into Italian ones:
Principality of Monaco
Republic of Korea
On the other hand, if the driving license has been issued by a country with which there is no agreement with Italy, the holder shall be bound to take the oral and driving test to get the Italian license released. If he/she passes the exam he/she is given the Italian license and his/her foreign non-EU license is handed back to the Consulate of his/her country of nationality.