Reader question: Do British second-home owners in Italy need to get an Italian driving licence?

Karli Drinkwater
Karli Drinkwater - [email protected]
Reader question: Do British second-home owners in Italy need to get an Italian driving licence?
A car with Italian plates returns back to Italy after being denied entry to Slovenia at the border crossing in Nova Gorica/Gorizia, Slovenia on June 3, 2020. (Photo by Jure Makovec / AFP)

Brits in Italy now need to sit an Italian driving test if they wish to continue driving in Italy. But what about Brits who own a home in Italy, but aren’t residents?


Question: I've read that Brits in Italy need to get Italian driving licences. Does that apply to me? I live in the UK but have a second home in Italy. The house is in a rural area so we need to drive when we're there.

There are several sources of worry and frustration for Brits living in Italy after Brexit, and one of these is a possible requirement to retake your driving test in Italian, if you didn’t already convert your UK driving licence before Britain left the EU on 1st January 2021.

For anyone who's just visiting Italy, however, there is no need to obtain an Italian patente di guida. You can use your UK or NI driving licence, as long as it’s valid. The British and Italian authorities have also agreed that there is no need for an International Drivers’ Permit either. 


But what about those who have a home in Italy and aren’t just visiting for a holiday?

Theoretically, they are treated as tourists. Since Brexit came into effect, there are limits on how long British nationals can stay in the EU. You can find an explanation of how it works HERE, but in essence, it limits trips into the Schengen zone to 90 days out of every 180.

If you want to stay in your second home for longer than 90 days in every 180, you must apply for a visa (find out about the visas available to Brits HERE).

“The Italian government has confirmed that visitors to Italy (non-residents) using a UK driving licence will not require an International Driving Permit or a translation of the licence to drive here,” stated The British Embassy.

READ ALSO: Can Brits stay more than 90 days in the EU if they have a European spouse?

This means that unless you become a resident in Italy, you will be able to go to your second home for a shorter stay and be counted as a tourist. Therefore, there is no need to take an Italian driving test to obtain an Italian driving licence - you can use your UK or NI licence.

Only if you want to change your full-time residence status to Italy - for which you will need a visa - would you need to get an Italian driving licence.

Find more information about what you'll need when driving in Italy on the British government's website here.


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