I have created a new page for this post because I know this is going to be a long and painful saga. I will update this as I jump, dodge and get blown up by the Italian minefield of bureaucracy.
Last summer I noticed that my driving licence would expire in May 2013. I searched on the internet whether, I could renew my licence with DVLC. Unfortunately this is not ‘legally possible’ because I do not live in the UK. I do have a house in the UK but someone is living in it. Further research seemed to imply that exchanging my UK licence for an Italian licence was easy. I would only need two photos, some money and a completed form. I should have known better, after all this is Italy, a country where I have been stopped for driving with a European UK driving licence.
The carabinieri who stopped me was not the brightest man alive, he tried to explain to Mrs Sensible that I, an Englishman was not allowed to drive in Italy with a Ukrainian driving licence. Mrs Sensible went straight into teacher mode and asked the poor carabinieri, (who was now asking himself why he had stupidly stopped me) when did the Ukraine joined the EU? Still pointing at the European flag on my licence, Mrs Sensible then explained to him, again in teacher style language, that the UK on my licence actually stood for United Kingdom, and no it did not need to have GB for Grand Britannia on it.
So here, we are fifty-eight days from my driving licence melting down; and I decide enough is enough. I asked Mrs Sensible to phone the local office that deals with driving licences and find out what documents I will need to take to the office and how much it take to change my licence.
OFFICE: Why does your husband want an Italian Driving Licence?
MRS SENSIBLE: Because his UK licence expires in May.
OFFICE: UK licences do not expire. Italy is going to change to licences like the UK one.
MRS SENSIBLE: My husbands licence expires on the 17th May 2013. it is clearly stated on the licence.
OFFICE: Really! Tell your husband to pop into the office this afternoon and we will sort it all out.
MRS SENSIBLE: Pecora, if you go to the office now they will sort it out for you… go now… go.
PECORA NERA: He hasn’t got a clue what he is talking about has he…. ALL RIGHT I am going.
Standing in the office the
idota stupido helpful man explained that, for a small sum of money he could stick a sticker on my UK driving licence that would make it valid for another 5 years.
Words failed me, both English and Italian words. I phoned Mrs Sensible and said ” I don’t need a sticker I need a new licence. Hertz car rental is not going to accept an Italian Sticker stuck on my driving licence as proof that it is now valid for another 5 years. Please explain this to this
helpful intelligent cretino. After Mrs Sensible had had a short telephone conversation with the man, the phone was passed back to me and I was told “He will have it all sorted tomorrow. You will need to call back tomorrow around four in the afternoon.
Tomorrow I will update part 2 after I have driven back to the office and had another discussion with Signor Cretino. Right now I am going to have a glass of wine.