“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”.
#UKlicenseholder in 🇮🇹 with a valid 🇬🇧driving licence?
While discussions on agreement continue, Italy has confirmed valid UK licences issued before 1 Jan 2021 can be used until 31 Dec 2022.
Watch out for updates on the Italian circolare expected soon on https://t.co/RkXPhplhiT pic.twitter.com/LzFhkr92zr
— UK in Italy 🇬🇧🇮🇹 (@UKinItaly) December 24, 2021
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.
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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.