BREXIT: Italy extends UK driving licence use to end of 2022

There's some good news for British residents of Italy who haven't converted their UK licence to an Italian one as Italy has confirmed that UK licences issued before January 1st, 2021 can now be used in Italy until the end of 2022.

A general view taken from a bridge shows a few cars driving through a deserted highway leading to Rome's Fiumicino international airport 
Most other EU countries have already announced reciprocal agreements with the UK, allowing driving licences to be exchanged without the need for a test, but there's still no arrangement confirmed with Italy. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

“While discussions on agreement continue, Italy has confirmed valid UK licences issued before 1 Jan 2021 can be used until 31 Dec 2022,” stated the British Embassy in Rome in social media posts on Christmas Eve.

“All other licence holders can use their licences for 12 months from becoming a resident in Italy but need to take a test to exchange licence within this period,” it added.

No further details were immediately available, but the embassy advised people to keep an eye on the UK government’s ‘Living in Italy’ website for updates “expected soon”.

Though nothing more is known about the 12-month extension so far, the news will at least provide UK licence holders with some further breathing space after a tense wait for confirmation that licences would not become invalid in Italy on December 31st this year.

Most other EU countries have already announced reciprocal agreements with the UK, allowing driving licences to be exchanged without the need for a test, but there’s still no arrangement confirmed with Italy.

A UK government spokesperson told The Local on Wednesday that negotiations were continuing with the Italian government on the right to obtain an Italian licence without the need to re-sit a driving test.

Since Britain left the EU at the end of 2020, UK licence holders living in the country were granted a 12-month grace period in which they could continue to use their British licence in Italy, which, before the extension, had been due to end on December 31st, 2021.

Residents in Italy with UK licences had initially been warned they may need to take an Italian driving test immediately.


After December 31st, 2022, and if no long-term reciprocal agreement is reached, residents in Italy will still have to take a test to exchange their UK licence for an Italian patente di guida (driving licence). 

Reciprocal driving licence agreements are in place between Italy and around 20 non-EU countries, including Switzerland, Brazil, the Philippines and Turkey (full list here), which allow holders of these licences to swap their permits without a test.

The rules apply to UK nationals who are resident in Italy. People visiting Italy for short periods can continue to drive on a UK licence.

 Find our latest Brexit-related news updates for UK nationals in Italy here.

Find more information on the UK government website’s Living in Italy section.

Member comments

  1. I agree. This has made my Christmas after trying to exchange last year around Christmas time, only to be declined because the ACI did not submit our application until late January and then lied to us for months.

    Hoping this arrangement is sorted out by end of next year.

  2. Huge massive sigh of relief ! It would have been bonkers for them to have made us take a test especially with Omicron just bubbling up. I had just got my first 36 correct out of the 40 questions. That can all go in the pending tray and I shall break out the Prosecco. As you all say best pressie we could possibly have.

    1. Wait, nowhere does it say they WILL reach an agreement to exchange come the end of 2022… if they don’t, taking the test in italian will still be the only option

    2. Agreed, great News. Thank you to the Local for keeping us updated.

      It would be useful to have a link to an Italian notice of the extension to assist anyone who needs evidence of the extension.

      In the meantime, Godspeed to those negotiating the exchange agreements!

        1. 🙁 it didn’t work sorry. It’s linked via the gov U.K. driving in Italy page though if that helps.

          1. Rachel

            Thank you, much appreciated.

            The link doesn’t work because it ignores the “.pdf” at the end. When the “.pdf” is included it goes straight through to the declaration 👍

            I personally, will keep a copy with me when driving in case someone tries to tell me that I am not compliant with the law.

            Let’s hope that the authorities can now come to a sensible conclusion so that we can exchange our licences as soon as possible.

            Thank you again and Happy New Year.

  3. Does anyone know the name of the Minister who is responsible for this section of law ? The real problem is even if the test is passed, you are treated as a neopatentati meaning like a 18 year old kid the cars you can drive for a year a restricted and limited on the speed you can drive.

    I think a petition and proposal should be put together by the collective interests of Canada, UK, Britain and Australia as this impacts all their citizens living in Italy.

    Any ideas who’s problem this is in the government?

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Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

After years of campaigns and promises British citizens living abroad finally won the lifelong right to vote in UK general elections in April 2022. But campaigners say more needs to be done to allow all those Britons abroad to be able cast their votes easily.

Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

What’s in the law?

The Elections Act 2022 introduced several changes to the current legislation on electoral participation. Among these, it removed the rule by which British citizens lose their voting rights in the UK if they have lived abroad for more than 15 years

The new rules also abolished the requirement to have been previously registered in the UK electoral roll to become an overseas voter. In addition, the registration in the electoral roll will now last up to three years instead of only one year.

It is estimated that these changes could increase the number of overseas voter registrations by some 3 million. But the way new measures will be applied in practice is still to be defined.

READ ALSO: ‘Mixed feelings’ – British citizens in Europe finally get right to vote for life

Defining the practicalities

Under the new law, Britons living abroad will have to register to vote in the last place they were registered in the UK. This means that people who have never lived in the UK will be ineligible to vote, regardless of how long they have been overseas, while those who left when they were children will be able to use a parent or guardian’s address.

But given that the UK does not require residents to register with local councils, how to prove previous UK residence? “Typical documents accepted as a proof of residence are Council tax or utilities bills, but not everyone will have them or will have kept them in an international move,” says Fiona Godfrey, co-founder of the British in Europe coalition.

Ballot papers are pictured in stacks in a count centre as part of the 2019 UK general election. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)

Other questions concern how people will effectively cast their ballot. UK citizens overseas will be able to vote by post or by proxy or in person at their polling station if they are in the UK at the time of the election. However, few people are likely to travel to the UK for an election and in the past there have problems and delays with postal voting.

The Electoral Commission has recommended that overseas electors appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf. But who could that be for people who have been away from their constituency for a long time?

New secondary legislation will have to answer these questions, defining how to be included in the electoral roll and how to exercise the voting right in practice.

According to British in Europe, the government should present draft legislation in the first half of the year so that the parliament can adopt it before summer and registrations of overseas voters can start in the autumn.

British in Europe survey

British in Europe are currently running a survey to understand the difficulties UK citizens abroad may face in the registration and voting process, as well as their intention to participate in elections.

The survey asks for instance which documents people can access to prove their previous residence in the UK, what problems they had voting in the past, and if and how they plan to vote in the future.

“We need to get an up-to-date picture of British citizens living around the world and have information to make recommendations to the government, as it prepares secondary legislation,” Godfrey said. “If millions of people will exercise their voting rights, there will be consequences for council registration offices, post office and authorities that will manage the process, among other things” she argued.

The right to vote concerns only UK parliamentary elections and national referendums, not elections in the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, or at local level.

The survey is open to UK citizens living anywhere in the world and is available at this link.