The extension was formalised in a decree issued by the Italian government on December 30th.
It entitles “holders of driving licences issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland resident in Italy at the date of entry into force of this decree” to drive on Italian national territory “until December 31, 2022”.
After 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.
The British embassy in Rome first announced the news of the extension via its social media accounts on Christmas Eve, but at the time no official statement was released by either country.
On Friday the British government updated its guidance on its ‘Living in Italy’ webpage to reflect the changes.
“If you were resident in Italy before 1 January 2022 you can use your valid UK licence until 31 December 2022,” the guidance reads; however, “you must exchange your licence for an Italian one by 31 December 2022. You will need to take a driving test (in Italian).”
For those who became resident in Italy on or after 1 January 2022, “You can use your valid UK licence for 1 year from the date you became a resident. You will need to take a driving test (in Italian) to exchange your UK licence for an Italian one,” the webpage says.
While the news comes as a relief for UK licence holders who had feared their licences would become invalid in Italy on December 31st, the extension merely postpones the deadline by which British drivers must obtain an Italian licence.
After December 31st, 2022, 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), and UK authorities are now urging people to consider starting this process.
The British Embassy posted an update on its Facebook page which reads: “The UK is determined on reaching a long-term agreement with Italy so that residents can exchange their UK driving licences without taking a test.”
“In the meantime UK license holders will need to take a test to exchange their UK licence for a local one. It is important that you consider all your options, which may include looking into booking a driving test now.”
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.
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.