HOW TO GET AN ITALIAN DRIVER’S LICENSE
After only four months in Italy I had successfully navigated the labyrinth system to get a permit of stay, taking what seems like dozens of passport photos, paying for dozens of marche di bollo, the required stamp (with newly raised prices!) and visiting multiple different bureaucratic offices; I’d also found an apartment, applied for residency, gotten married and started paying taxes. It was a lot, and I was ready to be done with my “settling down” phase and simply be settled.Then, I found out I had to retake my driver’s license tests as well.segnali-stradaliUnited States citizens can legally drive on their US license in Italy for up to a year. After that, they’ll need to get an Italian driver’s license.Though many countries in the world have conventions allowing them to simply convert their driver’s licenses from that of their country to that of their new country, Europe and the United States, unfortunately, don’t have that relationship. Meaning that not only did I have to pay a lot more, but I also had to take the classes, study and pass the written test in Italian, do at least six hours of driving with an instructor and then pass the practice exam – all before my international license expired in the next six months.People do it, but at the time, after all I had already done to set down roots in Italy – legally – it just seemed like too much. And like most bureaucratic things in another country, it wasn’t easy! Though I wanted to throw a fit, instead I threw myself into studying, learning how to say things like windshield and trailer hitch and acceleration lane in Italian. It was a pain in the butt, but I have to admit that what I learned has proved useful. Of course anyone can drive in Italy, but the road signs are different and the intersections much more complicated. I appreciate that I never have to doubt if what I’m doing is correct or not.During the process, I discovered that many expats to Italy simply skip this step. Either they continue to drive on their U.S. license (illegal, but difficult to catch) or they drive with no license or they simply don’t drive at all. None of the above was an acceptable option for me. If that’s how you feel, this post is for you.
HOW TO GET AN ITALIAN DRIVER’S LICENSE:
1. FIND AN AUTOSCUOLA
You can bypass the driving school or autoscuola and go straight to the Ufficio Motorizzazione Civile, Italy’s DMV, but it’s not recommended. Though you will save money, the test is considered more difficult and the instructors much harsher. Multiple legends recount the evil instructors who don’t pass the driving students simply to gain the money the driving school would have gained anyway. Perhaps it’s just a way for the failed students to feel better, but the autoscuola helps you to study and deals with your exams and paperwork, making the process much more streamlined. De
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