Many holders of a standard driving licence issued by a country outside the European Union/European Economic Area (non-EU/EEA) may drive in Italy using the foreign licence for up to one year after obtaining residency. For a full list of countries to which this applies, see below.
If the licence or permit does not conform to international conventions, the driver must have that licence officially translated into Italian or carry an International Driving Permit (IDP). The translation or the IDP must be carried at all times together with the original driving licence. A translation of a licence can be obtained from the appropriate Consulate or Embassy for a small fee.
For holders of a driving licence issued by a non-EU/EEA country who wish to continue driving in Italy after their first year of residency an Italian licence must be obtained, whether by exchange or by completing the required theoretical and practical tests before the end of the first year of residency.
Note: On being issued with an Italian licence in exchange for a non-EU/EEA licence, the original licence will no longer be valid anywhere and may be marked as such or taken away by the authorities.
Some countries have a reciprocal exchange arrangement with Italy whereby a person with a valid licence issued by one of these countries may swap their licence for an equivalent Italian one. If such a reciprocal arrangement exists, the foreign licence must be exchanged for an Italian driving licence within the first year of residency. If the exchange is not done within a year, full testing must be successfully completed in order to receive an Italian licence.
As of March 2012, the countries with a reciprocal exchange agreement are: Albania (until 15/08/2014), Algeria, Argentina, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador (until 19/9/2014), the Philippines, Japan, Iceland, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Morocco, Moldova, Norway, Monaco, Republic of Korea (South Korea), San Marino, Sri Lanka (until 14/11/2016), Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, and Uruguay (Note: This list is subject to change. Please check beforehand with the relevant Embassy or Consulate or through a local office of the Ministry of Transport/Ministero dei Trasporti)
To convert a foreign licence the holder should go to the nearest Provincial Office of Motor Vehicles (Ufficio Provinciale della Motorizzazione Civile) and be prepared to provide the following:
Requirements may vary by regional office. The original licence will be retained or stamped as exchanged. Expect the process to take up to four months after which an Italian licence will be issued.
For licences issued by Argentina and Romania, proof of authenticity must also be provided. This can only be obtained from the Italian Consulate in those countries.
Drivers with licences that may not be exchanged will need to take a full Italian theory and practical driving exam to obtain an Italian licence.
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