HOW TO GET A DRIVER LICENSE IN ITALY AS A FOREIGNER

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driver license

You would need a valid driving license to drive in Italy otherwise you will pay a hefty fine if caught without one.

If you already have a valid driver license and you are from a country that is outside the EU planning to drive while in Italy, you can drive up to one year from the acquisition of residence if you have an international driving Permit or a sworn translation of the license.

However, after the conclusion of the first year, it is mandatory to convert your license if there are reciprocity ties between your country issuing the drivers license and Italy and if there is none, you must request for the Italian driver’s license. To find out if your country has reciprocity ties with Italy, click HERE.

To obtain the Italian driver’s license, you would need to complete a driver’s education course and passing a two-stage test: a theory test and a road test. Oh! did I mention that the course is in Italian!

In this post, we shall provide answers to the most common questions asked by foreigners who want to drive while in Italy. What do you have to do to get one? How long does it take to get a driver’s license in Italy? What is the legal age for driving in Italy? What happens when you drive without a license in Italy? How many years is the Italian license valid and how much does it cost to get one amongst others. Let’s now take a look!

WHAT IS AN EU DRIVER’S LICENSE?

The European driver’s license is a license issued by the member states of the European Economic Area (EEA); all 27 EU member states and three EFTA member states; Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. It is credit card-style with a photograph and a microchip. They were introduced to replace the 110 different plastic and paper driver’s licenses of the 300 million drivers in the EEA. The main objective of the EU license is to reduce the risk of fraud and harmonized validity periods and medical examination rules which will give more legal certainty for many Europeans who move to another Member State.

An EU driver’s license not only allows you to drive in the EU members states, it can also be used as an identification document making it almost impossible to falsify.

A SAMPLE OF THE FRONT VIEW OF ITALIAN DRIVER’S LICENSE.
A SAMPLE OF THE BACK VIEW OF AN ITALIAN DRIVER’S LICENSE

WHAT ARE THE PROCEDURES TO GET A DRIVER’S LICENSE IN ITALY

The first thing you need to know is that in order to obtain a driver’s license in Italy, you must be of a certain age and be in a suitable physical condition and mental health. Then, you can make a request to the Civil Motorization in Italy or visit your nearest  certified driving school, or autoscuola. The driving school can handle all of your paperwork for the Civil Motorization on your behalf.

The procedure for obtaining an Italian driver’s license is:

  • Pass a theory test (multiple choice, in Italian)
  • Obtain a learner’s permit (foglio rosa)
  • Practice driving
  • Pass a practical driving test (road test with instructor and examiner)

WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED FOR DRIVER’S LICENSE?

The documents required may vary, but in general, you will need the following documents:

  • Completed form TT 2112
  • Tax code (Codice Fiscale)
  • Identification document
  • Proof of residency (Permesso/Carta di Soggiorno)
  • Two recent passport photographs
  • Medical declaration, issued by your general practitioner (original + photocopy)
  • Application fee

WHAT ARE THE CATEGORIES AND AGE FOR DRIVER’S LICENSE?

There are various categories of driver’s license for different vehicle types and ages in Italy, that follows the standard obtainable in the EU. The most common include AM, A1 and A2 for mopeds and motorcycles, B for cars, C for trucks and D for buses. The minimum age to obtain a driver’s license is as follows:

  • 16 years for a motorcycle of 125cc with a limit of motor power of 11 kW; a quadricycle motor (cars with a weight of 400 kg – 550 kg if it is for freight transport) and a motor power not exceeding 15 kW)
  • 18 years for a car or a motorcycle without a limit for the engine cylinder capacity and a limit of motor power of 35 kW
  • 21 years for minibuses, three-wheelers without a limit of motor power, and cargo vehicles
  • 24 years for motorcycles without limits of motor power; buses

WHAT IS THE ITALIAN DRIVER’S LICENSE POINT SYSTEM?

When issued a license to drive a car (Patente B), you have 20 points that can be deducted depending on the offence committed. If no offence is committed for 2 consecutive years, drivers with less than 20 points are given back all 20 points. Drivers with 20 points after 2 years of driving receive 2 points until they reach a value total of 30 points. When your points have been exhausted, you no longer have a right to drive a car. Drivers whose licenses are revoke can not obtain a new license until at least one year.

When issued a license to drive a car (patente B), you have 20 points that can be deducted depending on the offence committed.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DRIVER’S LICENSE?

The time it takes to get a driver’s license in Italy is actually dependent on individuals. If you are not so fluent in Italian, you may have to consider taking some lessons in Italian before you can pass the theory test. Also, if you have never driven before, you may have to do more practice driving before you can take the practical driving test. Depending on your personal determination and skill, you can go from start to license in 3-5 months or so. Ideally, you have 6 months to pass the theoretical exam and another 5 months to take the practical exam.

WHEN CAN I GET AND DO WITH LEARNER’S PERMIT(FOGLIO ROSA)

The  learner’s permit(foglio rosa) is given once you have passed the theory exam. It is valid for a period of six months. The learner’s permit allows the holder to practice driving only while accompanied by a person no older than 60 years old (if practicing using a dual-control vehicle, the accompanying driver may be no older than 65 years old). The accompanying driver must have held a valid license for at least 10 years in the category the driver will be tested for.

Practice vehicles must be marked on the front and back with a vertically and clearly displayed uppercase black letter “P” (principiante) against a reflective white background, indicating to other drivers that the driver is a learner.

Learner drivers may not drive on the Autostrada and may face a fine of €78 euros if they practice in a busy area.

A SAMPLE OF FOGLIO ROSA

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM THE THEORY TEST?

You will be tested on the knowledge on the Italian Highway Code and the habits and customs of drivers in Italy. The practical examination of the Italian driving license is composed of 30 questions to answer in 20 minutes. The candidate will not have to make more than three mistakes, with the exam carried out on the computer. If the exam is not successful, then it is possible to retake it again only 1 month after having missed it, not before. In the event of a second failure in the examination of the Italian Highway Code, you will have to represent a brand-new file, and therefore pay all fees.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM THE PRACTICAL TEST?

Before, you can take a practical test in driving, you should have completed at least 6 hours of driving in the presence of a professional driving instructor. The main areas covered during practical learning includes urban driving, driving on expressways and night driving. You will be tested in any of these areas with special attention paid to the knowledge of the Italian highway code and its observance.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET A DRIVER’S LICENSE

The total cost you pay to get a driver’s license can vary depending on your situation. For example, if you are converting your license if there are reciprocity ties between your country issuing the drivers license and Italy, then you will only be required to pay only administrative fee for the conversion which can range from 50 – 100 euros. You can request a conversion to the Civil Motorization in Italy or visit your nearest  certified driving school. The driving school can handle all of your paperwork for the Civil Motorization on your behalf.

However, if you have to take the exam to get the driver’s license, that means you would have to pay for application fees and tests. The cost will go up, if you are not successful in the theory test after two attempts and if you spend more hours in the practice driving. Considering all these factors, It could cost say about 800 – 850 euros all-inclusive to get an Italian license. Yes, and it’s cheaper than in most other countries.

HOW LONG IS THE ITALIAN DRIVER’S LICENSE VALID?

The Italian driver’s license has limited validity periods that depend on age of the driver and the category of the license: Licenses in A and B categories are valid for ten years for people under the age of 50. Five years for those between 50 and 70 years of age. Three years for those over 70 years of age with every renewal subject to medical examinations.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DRIVE WITHOUT A LICENSE

When, you are caught in Italy driving without having passed the test or using an expired license, currently, Article 116(15) of Italy’s Highway Code envisages a fine (of between €2,257 and €9,032) but in practice, you could be made to pay a hefty fine of between €5,000 and €30,000. A second offence within the space of two years will be punished with up to one year in prison and a heavier fine.

Here you go, I hope I have been able to answer most of the common and important questions about how to get an Italian driving license as a foreigner.

I would like to hear from you: What are your thoughts on this subject. You can share your thoughts and experiences with me and others in the comments section below!

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