You must obtain an international driver’s license for Italy if you plan to explore the country on your own by car.  Also known as the international driving permit, this document allows you to drive in Italy. It works hand in hand with your U.S. license and makes it easier for foreign officials to interpret your credential. However, it is not a valid license to use in your state. Obtaining the IDP requires documentation and the completion of a few steps. While it is recommended that you purchase the IDP before your trip, you can also submit the application while overseas.

With so many fraudulent sites on the internet, it is important to know that there are only two agencies in the US that issue the IDP in Italy: the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Association (AATA). For details on how to obtain the permit, read the following sections.

What is an IDP?

When visiting a foreign country, you must often obtain an international driver’s license to operate a vehicle. In Italy, the rules are no different. An IDP is an official translation of your U.S. driver’s license that you must obtain before traveling to the country. It translates pertinent information relating to your identity and driving rights.

Despite popular belief, the permit is not valid by itself. You must always have it on hand along with your U.S. driver’s license. If you drive with one and not the other, you may face consequences for violating Italy’s driving laws.

When do I need an international driver’s license in Italy?

If you plan to drive in Italy, you must obtain an AATA or AAA international driver’s license. Without it, you do not have the proper credentials to operate a vehicle in the country.

The permit is valid for one year and is nonrenewable. This means that once the permit expires, you must submit a new application. Visitors with a long-term stay in Italy will have to get the Italian license.

How to Get an International Driver’s License in Italy

To get an international driving permit for an upcoming trip to Italy, you must first be eligible. The agencies only issue IDPs to applicants who are older than 17 years of age with a valid U.S. license. The information on your U.S. license is the same that will be included in the permit. The next step is collecting important documents. You will need to present the following:

You cannot submit an application for an international drivers license online. You must visit an agency’s office in person or mail it in. Moreover, in addition to the $20 international driver’s license fee, some shipping fees may also apply.

How long does an Italian International Driving Permit last?

The AATA or AAA international driving permit is valid for one year and is tied to your license. It is non-renewable, which means that if your permit expires while you are abroad, you must submit another application.

U.S. citizens who plan to remain in Italy for an extended period of time will eventually have to obtain the Italian driver’s license. The Ministry of Transportation in Italy does not waive the skills and road tests for U.S. driver’s license holders. As such, you must complete a series of tests at the local driver’s license office in Italy to obtain a license.

Where to Get an International Driver’s License in Italy

If you are already abroad, you can still obtain an international driver’s license in the USA. You must gather documents such as recent passport photos and a photocopy of your license. You must also complete the international driver’s license application form, which can be found on the AAA or AATA’s website.

Once you fill out the form, you must include your payment and mail the envelope overseas to one of two agencies. It is important to keep in mind that if you are submitting the application to the AAA, you must use FedEx. However, with the AATA, you may use DHL’s international express service. It may take up to one month and half to receive the IDP.

Tips for Avoiding International Driver’s License Fraud

The AAA and AATA are the only agencies that can issue international driving permits. Websites and companies who claim to offer this service are fraudulent. They often charge up to $400 for fake documents to get access to your sensitive information. Fraudulent websites often claim that you can use the international driver’s license to drive in the U.S., which is false.

To drive in the U.S., you must obtain a driver’s license from your state of residence. If you are the victim of an IDP scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately to file a report.

Driving Rules in Italy

In international driving permit countries like Italy, it is important to understand the traffic laws. The first thing to keep in mind is that most vehicles use a stick shift. Automatic vehicles are harder to come by and generally, more expensive. Aside from that, there are traffic rules to take note of before getting on the roads.

Some areas of a city, known as ZTL driving zones, require specific permits to drive through. There are signs to designate where the boundaries of the restricted zones are. If you do drive in the ZTL zone, an officer will not stop you. Instead, without an appropriate permit, motorists will receive a fine within a year of the violation.

When it comes to speed limits, they are generally listed on the roadways. There are automatic traffic control cameras that monitor your speed on certain highways. If you exceed the limits, you will receive a traffic ticket. Other rules to keep in mind include:

  • Motorists must drive on the right side of the road.
  • Motorists may not turn right during a red light.
  • Motorists and their passengers must always keep their seatbelts on while in the vehicle.
Last updated on Friday, March 6 2020.