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DRIVING

Reader question: How do I renew my Italian driver’s licence?

Wondering how to renew your driver's licence in Italy? Here's what you need to know.

What documentation do you need to renew your driving licence in Italy?
What documentation do you need to renew your driving licence in Italy?Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

Once you’ve done the work of getting your Italian driver’s licence, renewing it is relatively straightforward – but you’ll still want to make sure you have everything ready to go to so the process is as smooth as possible when the time comes.

READ ALSO: What you’ll need to do if you bring a car to Italy from another country

Here’s everything you need to know about applying to renew your driving licence in Italy.

How often do I need to renew my licence?

A or B Italian driving licences, which allow the holder to drive cars, mopeds and motorcycles, need to be renewed:

  • Every ten years up to the age of 50.
  • Every five years between the ages of 50 and 70.
  • Every three years between the ages of 70 and 80.
  • Every two years after the age of 80.

People who have epilepsy or have ever had a seizure must complete a medical examination every two years to retain their licence; this does not apply to drivers who have gone ten years without a seizure.

Drivers with diabetes also need to undergo semi-regular medical exams to keep hold of their licence – in this case the required frequency is determined by the doctors conducting the exams.

What do I need to do?

You’ll need to renew your permit at your local Ministry of Transport office, the ‘ufficio della motorizzazione civile’, often known simply as the ‘motorizazzione‘, which is the Italian equivalent of the DMV in the US or the DVLA in the UK.

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

To renew your licence, you will need:

  • Receipts for two separate payments made to the Italian government: one for €10.20 to the DMV, another for a tax duty fee of €16.

The easiest way to pay these is via postal order at your local post office or your nearest DMV office. The €10.20 payment should be made out to c/c 9001, the current account for the DMV, while the €16 tax stamp payment should go to c/c 4028.

You can also pay the bills online by registering in advance either with the Italian post office website poste.it or with the Ministry of Transport’s motorists’ portal; and at certain tobacconist’s shops, if they are affiliated with Banca 5 (formerly Banca ITB).

You will also need:

  • Your expiring driver’s licence.
  • A valid identity document, such as your Italian carta d’identita (ID card) or passport (take photocopies in case you need to hand them over).
  • Your Italian tax code (codice fiscale). This can be found on your carta d’identita or Italian health card (tessera sanitaria).
  • Two passport photos.

What happens next?

Once you have these documents ready, the next step is to book a medical exam.

The exam can be arranged through your local health authority office (Azienda Sanitaria Locale, or Asl), or through a DMV office or driving school. You can expect to pay between €60 and €90 for the exam – booking with the DMV or a driving school will cost more than going through the Asl.

You will need to bring all the items listed above to your doctor’s appointment. They will review your documents and test your sight, hearing and general physical fitness.

READ ALSO: ‘Anyone can do it’: Why passing your Italian driving test isn’t as difficult as it sounds

When do I get my new licence?

Here the advice differs depending on who you listen to.

Some guides say that your licence will be issued automatically following your medical check up; others that you need to take your medical certificate, along with all the other documents listed above, to your local DMV in order for them to send off for your licence.

Ask your doctor at the time of the check up which applies in your case, and whether or not you need to make the additional visit to the DMV.

A carabinieri police officer checks a driving licence.
A carabinieri police officer checks a driving licence. Photo: Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Once either your doctor or the DMV official has confirmed that the application process is complete, the licence will be prepared by the Ministry of Transport and sent directly to your home address.

You will need to pay the postal worker who delivers the licence a fee of €6.80.

Your licence should be delivered within a couple of weeks of sending off for it.

If you haven’t received anything once this period is up, you can call the Ministry of Transport toll free on +39 800232323 or the Italian Postal Service toll free on +39 800979416 (this last number can only be reached via landline) to enquire about its status.

When should I start the process of renewing my licence?

You can start applying for a new licence within four months of the expiry date of your current licence.

Italian bureaucratic processes can take some time, so it’s recommended to start the application process as soon as possible once you enter the four month window.

What if my licence has already expired?

If your licence recently expired, you’re in luck: due to the coronavirus pandemic, Italy extended the validity of driving licences that expired (or are due to expire) between January 31st, 2020 and May 31st, 2022 until June 29th, 2022.

That means there’s likely to be a rush of applications in June – so if your licence has expired or is set to expire before then, it’s a good idea to start the process now.

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: Can I buy a car in Italy if I’m not a resident?

If you spend extended periods of time in Italy, can you buy a car to use while in the country? It all depends on your residency status.

Reader question: Can I buy a car in Italy if I'm not a resident?

Question: ‘We own a second home in Italy and we’d like to purchase a car to use there during our visits. But we’re not registered as residents. Are we allowed to buy a car in Italy?’

It’s a common question from people who spend extended periods of time in Italy but are, for one reason or another, not registered as Italian residents.

The short answer is: if you’re a legal resident in Italy, then you can buy a car in Italy.

As a general rule, if you don’t have residency in Italy – even if you own property in Italy or have business interests in the country – you are not legally allowed to buy a car in Italy.

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners get an Italian residence permit?

According to the Italian highway code, you need to have registered your residency with an Italian municipality to be able to buy a new or used vehicle in Italy.

While you might find a friendly neighbour willing to sell you their old motor regardless, you would also need to register the change of ownership with the Motor Vehicles Office (Ufficio Motorizzazione Civile) and the Public Vehicle Registry (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico or PRA).

This is where you’d run into trouble without the right paperwork, which includes a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), or if you’re an EU citizen, your proof of residence (certificato di residenza). You’ll also need your Italian tax code (codice fiscale) and other documents, some of which you may not be able to obtain without residency.

So could you instead bring your own car to Italy from abroad? For short periods, there’s no issue with doing this – assuming that you’re willing and able to drive between Italy and your home country.

READ ALSO: Q&A: Your questions answered about driving in Italy on a British licence

But for the longer term, importing a car to Italy and registering it here would again require you to be able to show proof of Italian residency.

If you live between two or more countries, there’s a lot to consider when deciding whether you should – or could – register as a resident in Italy.

Doing so is more than a simple declaration of your presence in Italy; being registered as a resident means you’ll face certain requirements (most notably those related to paying taxes) as well as rights in the country. Read more about the process of obtaining Italian residency here.

So if registering as a resident is not an option in your circumstances, you may have to stick with the rental car for now or explore the longer-term alternatives to hiring a car in Italy.

Please note that many bureaucratic processes and requirements often vary from one part of Italy to another. This article is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to purchasing or registering a car in Italy.

For further information and advice please contact your local Motorizzazione Civile office or consult the Automobile Club d’Italia.

See more in The Local’s Driving in Italy section.

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