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DRIVING

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.

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

Whether it’s because you’ve moved to a rural location and can no longer rely on public transport, or because you’ve been hit by the Brexit rule change, there are all sorts of reasons why people who have relocated to Italy may have to take their driving test in the country.

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

Unfortunately for those who aren’t fluent in Italian, the country does not give the option to sit the test in English – making the process even more challenging.

But 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’.

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.

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:

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: ‘Expect the unexpected’: What you need to know about driving in Italy

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.

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 tota from obtaining residency in Italy, it’s advisable to get  started as soon as possible.

Member comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

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BUREAUCRACY

EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s new digital invoicing rule for freelancers?

Italy is bringing in new rules from July that mean changes for freelancers on the 'flat tax' rate. Here’s what you need to know about the new ‘fatturazione elettronica’, or digital invoicing system.

EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s new digital invoicing rule for freelancers?

Italy has been slowly moving more of its bureaucratic systems online in recent years, and in many cases this has made it quicker and easier for residents to access services and get their considerable amounts of Italian life admin in order.

It was hoped that the new electronic invoicing rule would do the same for freelancers on Italy’s flat-tax regime, by doing away with the existing need to print out invoices and affix tax stamps by hand.

READ ALSO: Beat the queues: 19 bits of Italian bureaucracy you can do online

But a close look at the details of the new rules shows that it probably won’t make life easier for those on the flat tax rate, who have so far been spared the bulk of that infamous Italian red tape – but now need to get to grips with a new online system.

Known as the ‘regime forfettario‘, Italy’s flat-rate tax scheme for individuals and small businesses was introduced in 2015 to encourage more commercial activity by slashing tax rates and simplifying bureaucracy.

New freelancers who choose this tax system generally pay somewhere between just five and 15 percent tax on earnings, regardless of overheads.

READ ALSO: The pros and cons of Italy’s five percent flat tax for freelancers

Little has changed since its inception seven years ago, but freelancers using the scheme now need to be aware of new rules coming into force from July 1st, 2022.

How you invoice – how you send, receive and store receipts, therefore – is due to move from analogue to digital, bringing new requirements and know-how on digital invoicing software.

Here’s what’s changing for freelancers with the so-called ‘fattura elettronica‘.

Who is required to send electronic invoices?

While this was already a requirement for the self-employed on other tax regimes, those on the flat tax rate will now be included from July 1st.

They were previously exempt, but that changed under the PNRR (National recovery and resilience plan or piano nazionale di ripresa e resilienza) – the Italian government’s plan for using EU funding for post-pandemic economic recovery.

Digital invoicing is intended to fight Italy’s major problem with tax evasion, as well as to further automate accounting processes.

For now, not all freelancers under this tax scheme need to move to digital accounting – only those who received an income in excess of €25,000 in the previous year are required to comply with the new rule.

It will then extend to all freelancers using the flat-rate scheme from January 1st, 2024.

From that date, everyone subscribed to the ‘regime forfettario’ will have to switch to electronic invoicing and there are hefty penalties in place for those who don’t.

How will electronic invoices work?

Italy’s tax authority has defined a couple of notable differences between the digital or electronic invoice (fattura elettronica) and a paper invoice (fattura di carta) in its updated guidelines.

Firstly, the digital invoice has to be created using a digital device (a computer, tablet or smartphone), and secondly it has to be sent to the client via an ‘Interchange System’, the so-called Sistema di Interscambio (SdI).

READ ALSO: ‘Smart working’? Here’s what you need to know about going self-employed in Italy

Italy’s flat-rate tax scheme is going digital. Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

This electronic postal system checks whether the invoice contains the required data for tax purposes, as well as checking the verified e-address (or the so-called PEC address) of the recipient.

In doing so, the electronic invoice automatically checks that the VAT number (partita IVA), or the tax code (codice fiscale) depending on who you send the invoice to, really exist.

Once the checks are completed, the system sends the invoice to the client, which will trigger an alert to the freelancer with a delivery receipt, showing the date and time the document was delivered.

How can you send an e-invoice?

There are a few accounting software options on the market if you’re now faced with having to send electronic invoices.

Some charge a fee of around €1-€4 per month or come at a cost per transaction.

Platforms such as ‘Aruba‘ or ‘Fatture in Cloud‘, are competitive and may offer you a free trial before you deciding to buy.

The Italian revenue agency (Agenzie delle Entrate) has also created free-of-charge services to help send and receive e-invoices. These include websites as well as apps for completing the required steps, which are detailed in their guide here.

You can access their Invoices and Receipts (‘Fatture e Corrispettivi‘) portal to benefit from these free services.

You’ll either need a Spid ID (‘Sistema Pubblico dell’Identità Digitale‘), a Carta Nazionale dei Servizi (CNS) or accounting credentials known as Fisconline/Entrate, which are issued by the Agenzie delle Entrate.

You can also delegate this task to an intermediary, such as an accountant (commercialista) who would do this on your behalf, the revenue agency stipulates 

What about the Italian tax stamp?

Until now, freelancers issuing invoices under the ‘regime forfettario‘ have had to attach a €2 stamp, called a ‘marca da bollo’, to every invoice over the value of €77,47.

So what happens when e-receipts go digital and you can’t physically stick a stamp on a document? Well, that goes digital too and the Inland Revenue has issued a 16-page guide on how you need to go about it.

It seems the previously attractive ‘light’ accounting of this regime is about to get bogged down by time-consuming bureaucracy too.

Authorities will systematically check that the fee has been paid each quarter for all the invoices that require it.

As a general rule, you can see if there are any discrepancies by the 15th day of the first month following each quarter on their Invoices and Receipts portal.

You or your intermediary have until the end of that month to fix any accounting errors, but make sure to check with an accountant if you have any difficulties or need specific advice for your personal circumstances.

Once you receive your final stamp duty bill for each quarter, you can pay either via IBAN, which you set up on the portal, or by filling out an electronic F24 form – details of how to do that are included in the guide.

For further information and FAQ’s, see Italy’s Inland Revenue Agency website on the electronic invoice here.

Please note The Local cannot advise on personal cases and seeking expert financial advice is recommended.

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