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DRIVING

Brexit: Do you need to swap your British driving licence for an Italian one?

With the end of the transition period looming, we look at the rules for British drivers in Italy - both residents and visitors - after the UK exits the EU.

Brexit: Do you need to swap your British driving licence for an Italian one?
Photo: AFP

*Note: This article is no longer being updated. Please see the latest information on driving in Italy post-Brexit here*

Driving from Britain to Italy has in recent years been a fairly painless experience. British driving licences are accepted and most standard car insurance packages will cover you for driving in Italy.

But how is Brexit changing that?

Transition period

At present we are in the transition period, which lasts until December 31st, 2020.

During this period British licences continue to be accepted by Italian officials and most car insurance policies should continue to cover a trip to Italy (although it's always a good idea to check the small print).

But what happens next?

Resident in Italy

The UK government advises all British citizens living in Italy to swap their licenses for an Italian one before the end of the transition period.

The government's Brexit information page for British nationals living abroad states: “If you are resident in Italy, exchange your UK licence for an Italian one before 31 December 2020.”

For further information, see UK government advice on what you need to drive abroad and driving licence exchange and renewals
 
See the bottom of the article for more information on how to swap your UK license for an Italian one.
 
 
Photo: AFP
 
Moving to Italy later

The above applies to anyone who has or will become a permanent resident of Italy at any time before December 31st, 2020.

After that we don't yet know what new rules will be put in place for British nationals who move after that date.

As things stand now new arrivals who come to Italy after December 31st may have to apply for an Italian licence as Third Country Nationals unless new rules are laid out by the Italian government.

The system – the same one currently in place for non EU residents such as Australians – gives you 12 months after moving to exchange your licence. You will only be able to drive on a UK licence for 12 months, so if you don't manage to exchange it in that time you will be faced with taking the Italian driving test to gain an Italian licence.

It all depends on whether the UK leaves with an agreement in place or crashes out with no deal.

Currently, holders of a British licence can swap it for an Italian one without taking either a theory or practical test. But if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, according to the British government's advice, “you will not be able to exchange your driving licence without taking another driving test”.

In other words, you'll no longer be able to do a simple swap – you'll have to get your Italian licence from scratch.

However a separate deal may be done between now and December 31st.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Just visiting

The above all applies to people who actually live in Italy, but what about people who are visiting, either regularly in the case of second home owners or infrequently in the case of tourists?

During the transition period nothing changes and you can continue to drive on your UK licence. But what happens after the transition period ends is one of the things yet to be negotiated.

The UK and Italy could come to a bilateral agreement that tourists can drive on the licence of their own countries.

If this agreement is not reached, drivers from the UK may be required to get an International Driving Permit. If these do become necessary for Italy, they cost just £5.50 and are available over the counter at British post offices. 

READ ALSO: How can British second home owners spend more than 90 days in Italy after Brexit?

Can I drive in the UK with an Italian license?

if you have the opposite problem and want to know if you can use your Italian license in the UK after Brexit, the government doesn't have any firm adviceon that either.

“Until the end of the transition period, you can still use your Italian licence in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test. These rules may change from 1 January 2021. We will update this page once more information is available,” the British government's Brexit information page states.

How do I swap my British license for an Italian one?

The first thing to do is to check when your licence expires. If it's about to expire or has done already, you'll need to get a medical certificate from an authorized doctor stating that you are fit to drive (any practicing GP with the National Health Service, or ASL, should be qualified to issue it; if in doubt, search here).

The certificate must have been issued within three months of you applying to exchange your licence, and it must be accompanied by a revenue stamp (bollo) of €16.

If your licence is expired you should expect to face extra checks to confirm that you are indeed the rightful holder and that your licence wasn't suspended or revoked before it ran out. And if it expired more than three years ago, you might have to take a driving test.

READ ALSO: Brexit meets Italian bureaucracy: How to deal with the ultimate paperwork nightmare

If your licence is still valid you can apply without a medical certificate, but be aware that your new Italian licence will have the same expiry date as your current one. You may prefer to get a medical certificate in order to get the full validity period on your Italian licence: ten years if you're under 50, five for 50-70 year olds, three for 70-80 year olds, and two for over-80s.

Next step: get to photocopying. You'll need at least one copy of each of the following:

  • Your driving licence (front and back)
  • Your ID
  • Your Italian codice fiscale (tax code)
  • Your medical certificate, if applicable

Stop off at the photo booth on your way to the copy shop: you'll need two identical passport-style photos to go on your Italian licence.

Take all of your original documents plus photocopies to your local Ufficio Motorizzazione Civile, or Office of Motor Vehicles. You'll be asked to fill out form T2112 ('Domanda per il rilascio della patente di guida') and to pay two separate fees using pre-filled payment slips (bolletini). Currently these amount to around €40, but fees may vary by region. 

All being in order, you'll be issued your new Italian licence within a few weeks or possibly longer, depending on the documents required and processing times.

Make sure to document your application so that you have evidence you submitted it before December 31st.


Checklist

To recap, here's everything you'll need to exchange your British driving licence for an Italian one:

  • Your driving licence + front-and-back photocopy
  • Your ID + photocopy
  • Your codice fiscale + photocopy
  • Your medical certificate, if applicable, dated, photocopied and accompanied by a revenue stamp of €16
  • Two recent passport photos
  • Form T2112 (available at the Ufficio Motorizzazione Civile or online)
  • Payment slip (bolletino) c/c 9001 for €10.20 (available at the Ufficio or a post office)
  • Payment slip c/c 4028 for €32 (available at the Ufficio or a post office)

More information:

Member comments

  1. I am a British citizen and have recently (at the beginning of 2020) transferred my residence from Monaco to Italy. I am currently attempting to obtain an Italian driving licence, using my (still valid) Monegasque driving licence, which was issued on the basis of my old British licence. The Italian authorities are refusing to convert my Monaco licence, saying that Britain is no longer in the EU and the interim period has expired. I had understood that we had until 31st December 2020 to finish this type of business. My original British licence is still in the hands of the Monegasque authorities, though I should receive it in the post shortly. but has undoubtedly expired. Have you any comments, advice or suggestions?

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BREXIT

‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's Universities Minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

Ranked: Italy’s best universities and how they compare worldwide

“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.

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