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EXPLAINED: How do you take your driving test in Italy?

The Local Italy
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EXPLAINED: How do you take your driving test in Italy?

Many foreign residents find themselves needing to take a driving test in Italy, but the process can be daunting for non-native Italian speakers. Here’s what you need to know.

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Whether it’s because you’ve moved to a rural location and can no longer rely on public transport, or because your country doesn't have a reciprocal agreement with Italy, there are all sorts of reasons why people who have relocated to Italy may have to take their driving test in the country - even if they already have a licence issued by their home country.

If you’re a resident in Italy and want to drive on the nation’s roads, it’s currently mandatory to have an EU driving licence or Italian patente di guida (Non-residents do not face this requirement).

This means that if you've moved to Italy permanently from a country outside the EU (now of course including the UK) this rule probably applies to you.

Italy does have agreements in place with some countries to allow their citizens to directly exchange their driving licence for an Italian one without the need to take a test. As of the end of 2022, the UK is one of those countries, but the US, Canada, and Australia are not.

The EU recently said it plans to draw up a list of countries with 'comparable' driving standards to its own and allow people with a licence from those countries to swap their licence for a local one - in which case the countries named above are likely to be included.

READ ALSO: What to know about planned changes to EU driving licence rules

But in the meantime, the only option for drivers holding a licence from these countries is to resit the test; and unfortunately for those who aren’t fluent in Italian, the country does not give the option to take it in English, making the process even more challenging.

But as many of The Local's readers have shown, it can still be done. Here’s a breakdown of the steps to obtaining your licence in Italy, and the resources you'll need.

Medical certificate

To apply for a Patente B, which is the licence for cars (and motorbikes up to 125cc), you have to be at least 18 years old and in a good enough state of health. You’ll need a medical certificate, obtained via a checkup on your eyesight, physical condition and mental health.

The country's highway code states that this certificate must come from an authorised doctor.

Photo by Jure Makovec/AFP

Permit application

With your medical certificate in hand, you can then apply for your provisional licence or permit at the local Ministry of Transport office, the ‘uffici della motorizzazione civile’.

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There’s usually at least one of these in every town. You can find a list of locations on the Ministry's website.

A driving school, or ‘autoscuola’ can in fact obtain the temporary driving permit on your behalf.

This document is valid for six months - which is the time frame for passing your theory test, as stated on the Italian Ministry of Transport website.

What documents do you need?

To apply for the licence, you need to provide:

  • A completed TT 2112 application form.
  • Proof of payment of €26.40 to current account 9001 (pre-printed stamps, ‘bolletino’, available at post offices and motor vehicle registration offices)
  • Proof of payment of €16.00 to current account 4028 using the same methods as above.
  • A valid identity document, for example a passport + photocopy.
  • Photocopy of the medical certificate along with receipt of payment.

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Taking the theory test

You’ve got two shots to pass you theory exam within the six month timeframe.

From there, you have five months from the month following the date you pass the theory test to take the practical test. You have two chances to pass that test too.

A driving school can coach you on what you need to learn to pass the theory exam - and some may even offer language help.

The theory test is often the part non-Italians who need to sit the Italian driving test find most daunting - with some readers telling us they’re still putting it off because they don’t feel confident enough with either the language or the large amount of detailed theoretical knowledge needed.

READ ALSO: The language you need to pass your Italian driving test

The following sites contain useful resources to supplement your lessons, along with the Italian Driver’s Manual:

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Once you’ve passed your theory exam, you’ll receive the foglia rosa, the ‘pink slip’ permit which allows you to move on to the practical test. 

Taking the practical test

After you’ve been issued with this, you have six months to take and pass the practical driving exam.

But there’s another step to complete first.

Six hours of driving lessons with an approved instructor are compulsory - even if you’ve already been driving for many years and already have a licence from another country.

The lessons must include driving at night, on motorways and on roads outside of urban areas.

READ ALSO: How drivers in Italy face new problems after passing Italian driving test

Once that’s out of the way, the practical exam is the final stage of the process.

To take the practical exam, you must provide the following:

  • Photocopy of your tax code (codice fiscale) or health card showing your tax code at the time of booking the practical test.
  • Proof of payment of €16.00 to bank account 4028 (pre-printed stamps, ‘bolletino’, available at post offices and motor vehicle registration offices).
  • A certificate of attendance to show you took those compulsory six hours of driving tuition.

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The test usually takes around 20 minutes, and if you pass you’ll receive your Italian licence there and then.

Remember:

You can’t hold two licences at the same time, so you’ll surrender any from other countries when you get your Italian patente.

There’s a time limit from the moment you pass the theory part. If it expires, you have to start from the beginning. If you fail, you need to account for the time it takes to re-sit a test.

As you have 12 months in total from obtaining residency in Italy, it’s advisable to get started as soon as possible.

Please note The Local is unable to advise on individual cases. To find out how Italy's rules on driving licences may apply to you, check with the relevant Embassy or Consulate or the Ministry of Transport uffici della motorizzazione civile.

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Comments (5)

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Kent Martin 2023/04/30 19:13
This is a very helpful article. Thank you!
Anonymous 2021/09/27 16:25
Everyone I have spoken with who has a non-EU license has not had to hand over their foreign license after passing the practical exam. I have assumed this is because you are not exchanging your license but instead becoming a neopatente like any 18 year old.
Anonymous 2021/09/13 11:42
No, the question is why has Italy and the UK not come to an agreement like all other EU countries have to exchange the UK licence for an Italian one, WHY?
Anonymous 2021/08/26 16:35
your Italian B license allows you to drive up to 125 cc motorcycle or scooter: above that level you must take further road tests and have other qualifications, mostly age related. Rmastri.it has good prep materials for the driving theory test.
Anonymous 2021/08/25 20:21
So, if I have an Italian driving licence but want to add motorcycle to it, is the procedure the same? I'm thinking specifically about being able to ride a scooter bigger than 50cc.

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