Can I drive in Italy with my own driving licence?
HOLDING A EU DRIVING LICENCE
Once you have registered as a RESIDENT with the Vital Records Bureau (Anagrafe) of your local Town Hall (Comune), in accordance with the EU directives you can:
- Convert your foreign driving licence into an Italian driving licence, which will be replaced by a duplicate in case of loss or theft.
- Hold your driving licence issued by another EU member state until its expiration date. In case of loss or theft, you will have to contact the competent authorities of the Country where your licence was issued to ask for a duplicate. To be said that this process could be unexpectedly complex, therefore please double check with said authority and/or with your Consulate in Italy to know more and to avoid further/possible difficulties.
HOLDING A NON-EU DRIVING LICENCE
If you are the holder of a non-EU driving licence, this document must be accompanied by an International Driving Permit (Certificato di Guida Internazionale) which is issued in your country by the competent Authority, such as the American Automobile Association (AAA) in the United States, and has to be obtained before travelling to Italy.
To know more: international-license.com.
Art. 135, paragraph 8 of the Italian Highway Code recalls:
The holder of a driving licence issued by a country not belonging to the European Union or to the European economic Area who drives in Italy without an international permit or an official translation as indicated in sub-section 1, shall be subject to an administrative fine of between 400 and 1600 euro.
So, if you hold a non-EU driving licence and you come to Italy every now and then, for business or tourism, you can drive with no limitations or requirements other than holding, together with your national licence, the above mentioned International Driving Permit or the sworn translation. However, if you’re planning to move and stay in Italy for a longer time, after the first year of permanent residency in Italy your International Driving Permit is no longer valid and you will need to get an Italian driver’s licence. Therefore, within one year from your registration as a RESIDENT with the Register Office (Anagrafe) of your local Town Hall (Comune), you must:
- Convert your driving licence into an Italian one, should a bilateral agreement be in place between the country issuing your licence and Italy. This is a relatively simple bureaucratic process. As an example, Italy has reciprocal agreements with Argentina, Japan, South Korea, Morocco and Tunisia.
- Obtain an Italian driving licence, should a bilateral agreement be NOT in place between the country issuing your licence and Italy. As an example, Italy has no reciprocal agreements with Australia, Canada, China, India and USA. The list of convertible driving licences may change depending on possible forthcoming bilateral agreements between Italy and other countries. The list of convertible driving licences may change depending on possible forthcoming bilateral agreements between Italy and other countries.
Art. 135, paragraph 11 of the Italian Highway Code recalls:
Holders of driving licences issued by a country not belonging to the European Union or to the European economic Area who, after more than one year from becoming resident in Italy, drive with a driving licence which is no longer valid* shall be subject to the penalties indicated in article 116, sub-sections 15 and 17 (heavy fines and, based on specific circumstances, your vehicle can be locked for a period of 3 months and/or your driving licence can be suspended for a period between 3 and 12 months).
Driving licence has to be always carried on while driving.
* The driving licence of anyone residing in Italy for more than 1 year is, even if valid, considered expired in order to drive in Italy.
Can I drive my car in Italy?
Importation of Motor Vehicles from an EU Member State
If you are moving to Italy with a motor vehicle, this has to be registered in Italy within 2 months from your Town Hall registration (Art. 93 Highway Code). The process can start only once you have obtained your Italian ID card (Carta d’Identità), to be requested at your local Town Hall after your registration as a RESIDENT with the Register Office (Anagrafe) has been successfully completed.
Before registering your vehicle at the Italian Motor Vehicles Agency (Motorizzazione Civile), check whether it is type-approved (omologato). In addition, if the vehicle is more than 6 months old or 6000 km, it may be required to undertake a roadworthiness inspection (collaudo) in order to check its conditions. Instead of registering a new vehicle, less than 6 months old or less than 6000 km driven, the Motor Vehicles Agency requires the declaration of newness and the payment of VAT (IVA) on the entire vehicle cost.
If the vehicle is a model which has obtained EC type-approval, the Certificate of Conformity – CoC (Certificato di Conformità) issued by the Manufacturer is valid in all EU Member States. You can find out whether your vehicle has undergone EC or national type-approval from the car documents or from the manufacturer. If you do not have the Certificate of Conformity ask the Manufacturer in your EU Member State to issue it. Please be sure to obtain the CoC before moving to Italy to simplify the vehicle importation process.
When you have completed your car registration, an Italian number plate will be fitted and you’ll be provided with the Italian vehicle registration certificate (libretto di circolazione) and the ownership certificate (certificato di proprietà). In Italy, there are specialized agencies on automobile bureau service (Agenzie Pratiche Auto) dealing with vehicle registration.
Importation of MOTOR VEHICLES from a non-EU Member State.
It is inadvisable to import Motor Vehicles from a non-EU country.
Can I buy a car?
Documents normally required to buy a vehicle are:
- Taxe Code (Codice Fiscale)
- Italian ID (Carta Identità)
- Driving Licence (Patente)
In the case of a car lease, these additional documents are generally required:
- Italian Pay Slip
- Italian Bank Account Coordinates