To drive abroad, Italian citizens are subject to different rules depending on whether they go, for short periods of stay or for residence, to:
a) European Union Countries;
b) Extra-EU Countries which are signatories of reciprocal agreements with Italy on the conversion of driving licences;
c) Extra-EU countries which are not signatories of reciprocal agreements with Italy on the conversion of driving licences.
a) EU COUNTRIES
- If you travel for short periods of time to an EU Member State you can drive using your Italian driving licence because, according to the Community Directive n. 91/439/EEC of 29th July 1991, Member States recognise driving licences issued by their respective Authorities.
- If, on the other hand, you establish your residence in an EU country, you have three possibilities:
-convert (attention: it is a possibility, not an obligation) the Italian driving licence into an equivalent one of the Country of residence;
-keep your driving licence and have it recognised by the Authorities of the Country where you reside;
-keep your original licence without doing anything.
However, in this case there may be inconveniences or delays when issuing the duplicate due to loss, theft or destruction of the document, since it is necessary to request information from the State that initially issued the licence.
The conversion consists in the issuance of a new licence, while the recognition consists in the issuance of a validation coupon to be applied on the same licence. In both cases the licence must be valid.
It is possible to renew one's Italian driving licence by contacting local authorities only (see Circular of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport No 30 of 21st May 1999). For further details we suggest you contact the competent consular office.
b) EXTRA-EU COUNTRIES WHICH ARE SIGNATORIES OF RECIPROCAL AGREEMENTS WITH ITALY ON THE CONVERSION OF DRIVING LICENCES.
- In order to circulate temporarily in Countries with which Italy has signed reciprocal agreements, it is necessary to be in possession of an international driving licence (international driving permit) together with a valid Italian licence. The international driving licence or permit is a document enabling citizens to drive in all EU countries and in some extra-EU countries. It is issued by the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. It must always come with a valid Italian driving licence. The purpose of the international licence is to provide foreign Authorities with the exact interpretation of the citizen’s driving licence. The International Conventions currently in force (Geneva 19.9.1949 - ratified by law n. 1049 of 19.05.1952 - and Vienna 8.11.1968, - ratified by law n. 308 of 05.07.1995) have introduced two models of international driving licences. In Italy it is possible to obtain both papers.
- If you establish your residence in a foreign country that is a signatory of a reciprocal licensing agreement with Italy, you will have to request the local Authorities to convert your valid Italian driving licence. The conversion of the licence means the issuance, without the obligation to pass theoretical and practical examinations, of a licence from the State of new residence that is equivalent to the Italian paper. Most of the bilateral agreements on driving licences concluded by Italy require the Authorities of the host country to communicate, once the new licence has been issued, the conversion to the Italian diplomatic-consular Authorities, i.e. to the one designated by the agreement itself.
Once the new licence has been issued, the Italian licence is revoked in accordance with Article 130, paragraph c) of the Highway Code (Legislative Decree 285/1992).
For short stays in Italy (e.g. for holidays) it is sufficient to have the official translation of the driving licence to be shown at the request of the Italian security Authorities. In case of permanent return, you will be able to drive in Italy with the foreign driving licence up to a maximum of one year from the date of return, after which you will need to request the exchange of the foreign driving licence obtained during the conversion. A new Italian licence will therefore be issued for a category that is not exceeding the original one (art. 136, paragraph 5 of the Highway Code).
NB. The updated list of States with which Italy has concluded reciprocal agreements on the conversion of driving licences can be viewed via the link to the website of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.
Eventually, the following categories of citizens who move, for operational reasons, to one of the following States may convert their Italian driving licence:
- Canada: diplomatic and consular staff;
- Chile: diplomatic staff and their families;
- United States of America: diplomatic staff and their families;
- Zambia: nationals on government missions and their families.
In case of loss or theft of the Italian driving licence, fellow countrymen who reside in extra-EU countries must file a report to the Italian Police Authorities - in addition to the local Authorities (DPR 104 of 09.03.2000).
c) EXTRA-EU COUNTRIES WHICH ARE NOT SIGNATORIES OF RECIPROCAL AGREEMENTS WITH ITALY ON THE CONVERSION OF DRIVING LICENCES.
In these countries it is not possible to recognise or convert the Italian driving licence. It is therefore advisable to make due and timely contact with the Italian diplomatic-consular Representation in the place where you wish to drive, or with the foreign Representation in Italy of the foreign country, to find out what documents are necessary and the regulations in force.
Italian driving licence holders residing or staying for a period of at least 6 months in extra-EU countries can obtain confirmation of the validity of their Italian driving licence from the competent Italian diplomatic-consular authorities, which expired no more than three years ago and not falling within the cases provided for in Article 119, paragraphs 2-bis and 4 of the Highway Code (driving licences of drivers suffering from diabetes or whose mental and physical health must be certified by special medical commissions). The interested parties must carry out the planned medical examination to verify the psychic and physical requirements, after which the diplomatic-consular Representation will issue a special certificate of renewal.
The renewal which is carried out at a Diplomatic or Consular Representation is valid to circulate both in Italy and abroad.
Once the residence or abode in Italy has been regained, the driving licence must be confirmed by the competent central office of the Department for Transport, Navigation and Information and Statistical Systems.