What is an International Driving Permit or License?
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driving License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is accepted by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
On the other hand, an International Driving License is not legally accepted and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries.
How does an IDP work in Italy?
An IDP is valid for either one year or three years in Italy, depending on which kind you get. You may also use your IDP as an identification document while traveling. If your driver’s license is in a foreign language, an IDP can be used as an official translation of your license.
How do you apply for an IDP in Italy?
You can apply for an IDP in Italy through our website.
How long does it take to get an IDP in Italy?
You can receive a printed IDP to your home in 2-30 days, depending on your selected delivery method.
You will also receive a digital IDP in your inbox in as little as 20 minutes if you choose an Express Order or up to 2 hours if you choose the standard option.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
There have been three international automobile traffic conventions. 1926 in Paris, 1949 in Geneva, and 1968 in Vienna. Most countries have agreed to recognize an IDP as a legal document at each convention.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Italy
Functionality as an ID
An IDP is helpful to travel with since it also serves as an identification document. This can be a good option if you wish to keep your passport under lock and key for security reasons. An International Driving Permit can be used instead of a national ID card, primarily if your national ID card is written in a language that is not widely spoken worldwide.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Local police may have trouble deciphering driver information on your license during a traffic stop. Having an IDP ensures that policemen can quickly note down your details and send you on your way. This can be especially useful during emergencies and motor accidents.
Car rental companies
Foreign businesses can be reluctant to rent automobiles to international drivers without an International Driving Permit. An IDP is a legal document recognized by the United Nations; therefore, most foreign and local automobile rental firms accept it as a legitimate driving permit.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Italy
Short-term visitors vs. residents
Short-term visitors will find using their original license with an IDP ideal, though getting an Italian driving license may be the better option for individuals staying for long periods.
When should I get an Italian Driver’s License?
You can use an IDP for a maximum of one year before being required to either renew your IDP or get a domestic Italian driving license. You may want to get an Italian driving license when you decide to move to Italy mid to long-term. The hassle during routine traffic stops and the extra bureaucracy when renewing your original license might not be worth hanging onto your country’s driving license.
How to get an Italian driver’s license
If you are from the EU, the EEA, Switzerland, Iceland, or Norway, you can exchange your driver’s license for an Italian one without hassle. You can drive a moped below 50 ccs above the age of 14 and a moped up to 125 ccs at 16, and you need to be 18 to operate any motorbike above 125 ccs or any other vehicle.
You may get a learning permit in Italy before getting your license. You will need to have a completed TT 2112 form (available from the Motorizzazione Civile office or online), medical certificate, photo ID, one copy of your existing license (if not from a select list of countries), proof of residency, and three passport photographs less than six months old plus an application fee. You need someone below 60 with ten years of experience to accompany you when using a learner’s permit.
You must pass the theory and practical tests to get a valid Italian driver’s license. The theory driving test is based on the Highway Code (Codice della Strada). You may take the theory exam in Italian, French, or German. Bookshops will have copies of the highway code but are almost always Italian. You can obtain an English translation of the code from driving schools. Passing the theory test gives you a ‘pink sheet’ that allows you to drive on Italian roads with someone under the age of 60 with ten years of experience.
You must take the practical test in a manual gear vehicle unless disabled. If you use an automatic for this test, you can only drive automatic cars after that. You must have photo identification, proof of vehicle insurance, and a residence permit (for foreigners) to take the test. You will then be granted a domestic license if you pass the practical test.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Italy
Renewing your International Driver’s Permit
You can renew your International Driving Permit while in Italy through our website.
Renewing your original driver’s license
Since an IDP is not a stand-alone document, you must present a valid driver’s license with your IDP if requested. Suppose your license expires while in another nation; you must renew it to continue driving in that country. The process for renewing a license varies significantly between countries.
Requirements for car rental
You have to be a minimum of 18 years old to rent a car in Italy and under the age of 70 or 75, as designated by the specific car rental company. Like other European countries, the car rental company may charge a premium for renters below 25. Your insurance cover is highly recommended to include theft, as this is a prevalent problem in Italy. If you reside in Italy, you can only use your foreign-registered vehicle for 60 days.
Deposit and costs for car rental
You will probably be charged for a full fuel tank when returning your rental car to the company, regardless of how much fuel is left in the tank. Most cars available for rent in Italy are manual. If you do not organize an automatic car before your arrival, you may not be able to hire one.
Car rental prices in the cities are considerably lower than in smaller towns and villages. You may be able to hire a vehicle for as little as €300.00 for two weeks in a city compared to €900.00 in a town. The deposit for a vehicle will differ depending on the rental car company. Still, it may cost around €250.00 for a smaller vehicle.
You are only required to have 3rd party insurance in Italy like in other European countries. However, getting as much insurance coverage as possible when renting or using your vehicle is recommended. You should ensure you have theft cover as Italian theft rates are sky high for motor vehicles.
The crime rate in Italy is very high for a developed country. It is recommended to get car and travel insurance when traveling to Italy. Some points to look out for when getting your travel insurance are given below:
Medical expenses that cover hospital stays
Coverage for funeral costs in case of an extreme situation
Coverage for damaged and lost baggage while traveling
Rental car excess in an accident to cover expenses not covered by your car insurance
You should also make sure your credit card has theft cover in Italy. While credit card companies have insurance for most countries within the EU and EEA, Italy is often not covered due to its high crime rate.
Driving and Safety in Italy
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
The Highway Code book for Italy can be bought at any bookshop across the country. However, the handbook will certainly be Italian and aimed at Italian drivers. You may also download a copy of the handbook in Italian with ease. You will be hard-pressed to find a driver’s handbook in German or Spanish – both languages in which you can take the Italian driving license theory test. Most driving schools will have an English version of the driving handbook, and regional driving schools where you can take the test in German or Spanish will have the handbook in these languages.
Overtaking on Italian roads
You are advised to only overtake from the left-hand side as long as there have been no signs signifying otherwise. You must check your mirrors, judge the speed correctly and make sure that the lane ahead is sufficiently clear for you to enter back into its traffic.
Turning and right of way on Italian roads
Drivers of the main road have priority over a lane coming into the main road. On equal roads, vehicles approaching the junction from the right have the right of way. When approaching a roundabout, drivers already on the roundabout have the right of way. You have to stop or slow down before a junction. Trams and trains have priority over you when driving, and you must slow down when driving near school buses.
Speed limits on Italian roads
You can go up to 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas. On roads outside urban areas, you may go at 90 km/h (56 mph) or 110 km/h (68 mph), depending on the road markings. You can go up to 130 km/h (81 mph) on a motorway. If your motorhome or caravan weighs 3.5 to 12 tons, you can only go 90 km/h (56 mph) outside built-up areas and 100 km/h (62 mph) on motorways. You may still go at 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas.
Tips for driving in Italy
People drive on the right side of the road in Italy
You must dip your headlights on roads and two-way motorways
You may only use your horn in an emergency when traveling in towns and villages (though this rule is not strictly enforced)
You must wear a seat belt if it is available in your vehicle
You are not allowed to use your mobile phone unless you use a hands-free device
Drivers and passengers on mopeds and motorbikes are required to wear helmets
Drinking and driving
You are only permitted to have a blood alcohol level of 0.05% when driving in Italy. If you are under 21 and have less than three years under your belt as a licensed driver, this limit is a strict 0.0%. There is a minimum fine of €527.00 and a maximum of €3,000.00 for driving under the influence. You can also be penalized 10 of the 20 points on your domestic driver’s license, with the maximum jail sentence for drunk driving being one year.
Top 3 Destinations to Visit in Italy
Visiting the Colosseum, built by the Roman Empire in its height, is an excellent way to start your journey in Italy. Made for the entertainment of the masses and as a political tool, the Colosseum is packed throughout the week with competitions, punitive shows, and other wonders worth viewing. The magnificent proportions of the building will leave you spellbound, and you will wonder how advanced the civilization was to be able to have built such a wonder. You can decide to roam the ruins yourself or go with a tour guide who will describe the complexity of those ancient times.
The Romans originally built the Pantheon as a place of worship, and it was later converted to a Christian church around 600 AD. It also went through renovations during the 2nd century AD. It is an excellent example of the exquisite beauty of Roman architecture. The walls are decorated with frescoes, paintings, and stucco reliefs. The Pantheon also has the largest dome built without reinforced concrete. Part of the Pantheon has been used as a burial ground for historical figures such as Raphael and Perin del Vaga, in addition to Roman kings.
You should make it a point to enjoy the beauty of Venice when you visit Italy. Being a water city, it has an unending supply of romantic canals winding around its blocks of buildings. The most visited waterway is the Grand Canal which a Vaporetto can access. You can also enjoy its world-famous gondola rides. The romance of Venice can be enjoyed if you are with the people you love or alone, as you can still enjoy the beauty and history engraved into the city. Make sure you visit the Palazzo Grassi, Ponte de Rialto, and Santa Maria Della Salute before leaving Venice.
Am I required to have an International Driving Permit in Italy?
Having an IDP to drive in Italy is highly recommended as many countries require you to have a valid driving license and an IDP.
Can I use my EU driver’s license in Italy?
Yes, you may use an EU driver’s license indefinitely in Italy.
How long will my International Driving Permit be valid in Italy?
Since Italy was contracted to the Geneva Motor Traffic Convention in 1949 and the Vienna Motor Traffic Convention in 1968, you may use your IDP for one year.
How long will transferring my license to an Italian license take?
You may get your Italian license within a couple of weeks if you have a license from the EU, EEA, or a select group of countries. Getting a license from scratch will take much longer.
On which side do you drive in Italy?
You drive on the right-hand side of the road in Italy.