Getting an Italian Driver's License
Getting your license is a test not of your knowledge but of patience.
After getting your license you may want to send flowers back to your hometown DMV in the states to thank them for doing a great job.
The entire process from the initial application until the day you get that wonderful document can take up to 6 months although if you study and are lucky you can do it all in about 3 to 4 months.
- Step one, go to your local Motorizzazione (you can find them in the phone book) and get the application. Here you will be given the application that you must fill out, 2 bolletini that need to be paid at the post office and a list of the items that you need to bring back:
- Completed application
- Receipts from the post office showing payment
- Two passport style photos
- Doctor's certificate
- A valid identity document (passport or carta d'identità)
- Two photocopies of the doctor's certificate and one of the identity document
- Two photocopies (front and back) of your home state driver's license
- Permesso di soggiorno and a photocopy of it.
- Step two, go back to motorizzazione with the above and you will be given your foglia rosa which is your practice permit and a date to come back to take the test. This is normally around 1 month from the date of application (mine was 7 weeks from the date I applied).
- Step three, sign up at a driving school. You can do the whole thing as a self study project but it is not easy. I did it this way and I failed the first written test.
- Step four, take the written test. This is a test with 10 subjects, each having 3 true or false questions. Little words can change whole questions so you really have to study and pay attention. You are allowed to miss 4.
- Step five, if you pass you go back to the office and get a release for the driving school. They will then have you practice behind the wheel and they will also set up your driving exam. The test will normally be more than one month from the date you pass the written. If you fail, you go back to the office to get another exam date. This will be no earlier than one month plus one day from the day you failed.
- Step six, take the driving part of the exam. This is about as fun as having teeth pulled. Of course if you have been driving for a while (for me, I had been driving for 21 years) you develop bad habits. That is not allowed. You have to do a lot of things like a beginner. You cannot do some of the things that you are used to but the instructor will help with this before the exam. Once you pass, they hand you your license. This will be one of the happiest days of your life so go out and celebrate!
Special note: if you are not confident with your Italian, you can opt to take the written test orally. It will still be in Italian but it is easier to understand some of the questions when they are spoken. If you chose to do this you will need to go to the US Embassy/Consulate and have them give you a document stating that you do not understand Italian well.
There is a wonderful program that you can download called Web Patente that you can use to practice for the exam or test your knowledge.
SPECIAL NOTE: The test will be given in English as well as other languages starting in the fall of 2006. Updates on when and more can be found on our forum www.expattalk.com