Part 3: How to swap a UK driving licence to an Italian one in 340 difficult steps

Englishman in Italy

Englishman in Italy

Quick update to part 1 and part 2

So I have just received a telephone call from Mr Cretino, the man who is supposed to be transferring my UK driving licence to an Italian one. To be honest I do not receive many calls on my Italian mobile, normally the caller is Mrs Sensible asking what sort of trouble I am about to or are in. Sometimes Vodafone or one of the other networks call to try and get me to swap carriers, but they give up as soon as they here…. Io sono inglese!!

This afternoon Mr Cretino called, so I asked Luagina the secretary at work to talk to him. The long and short of it is, when I married Mrs Sensible we hyphenated our surnames. It was all my fault I wanted to add her Italian surname to mine.

I am the proud owned of a mix of official documents, some in my birth surname and some in my adopted Italian hyphenated surname name. Mr Cretino is more than a little confused, as is his office.

As I type this, Mrs Sensible is trying to resolve the situation. I somehow have to prove I am both the pazzo inglese with the hyphenated name and also the pazzo inglese with the birth surname.

An update is sure to follow tomorrow.



Part 1

Part 2 

Part 4








48 thoughts on “Part 3: How to swap a UK driving licence to an Italian one in 340 difficult steps

    • Two weeks ago I had to visit Mr Cretino and Mrs Altri Dieci Giorni. It seems the head office in Alessandria had decided that the UK was not part of the EU and I would have to apply as an “esterno” someone outside the EU.

      We had a quick 30 min discussion on the difference between the UK United Kingdom and the Ukraine, Gran Bretagna and Great Britain was also thrown around.

      In the end we signed some more forms, stamped a couple of stamps and decided it would take another 10 days.

      Today I went armed with UK (not Ukraine I hasten to add) tax forms and bank statements in my hyphenated name and the same for Mrs Sensible, which caused quiet a fluster in the office.
      Altri Dieci Giorni … ha ha ha noway


    • Italy is a wonderful place to live, but the bureaucracy and the taxes are a nightmare.

      We have found that if you go to an official office and ask a question, if they say no it can’t be done… you go back the following day and ask again, they will then say yes. It is either because the rules have changed once again over night or they are in a better mood.

      Liked by 1 person

    • If my licence doesn’t arrive in the next 10 days. We will drive to the head office in Alessandria and discuss it with them.

      I think part of the problem is I am trying to deal with this the English way, I need to adopt the Italian way and go in there and start shouting and waving my hands about.


      • I really do wish you luck.
        My latest experience is in paying my Spanish property tax (IBI). I asked my lawyer to set it up for me. He filled in the form for me to take to the government office where I was to add my name, address and bank account No. The man in the office looked at the form (not his computer screen) and told me that everything is correct and I should get a green bill between July and September. If not come back. I’ll see him in September then. What fun !!


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  3. oh this has made me giggle. I’m looking forwards to tasting this crazy bureaucracy myself soon enough. I’m an Aussie so I imagine there’s no hope for me of driving at all. Maybe that’s the trick. I’ll keep my expectations very low.


    • Nooooo, you should have high expectations!!! Then when it all goes wrong, you will have a good excuse to go and drink a glass or 2 of Italian wine. Which is one of the few things they get right over here (oh and of course the sunshine and food, they get those right)


  4. Please don’t take offence when I say I was happy to read someone elses bureaucratic nightmare in getting an Italian licence!

    Maybe I can return the favour, and tell you my story! I am an Australian living in Italy, but my husband and I had expired UK licences after living in the UK for 3 years….

    We found out today that we could’ve renewed our expired UK licences here in Italy (…breathe, swear, breathe, cry, breathe…try not to lose the plot, breathe some more…)
    Rick showed his expired UK licence (as we had lived in the UK for 3 years) to the local motor agency before we signed up to this LONG process of getting our Italian licences.
    He was adamantly told that because it was expired, it was no longer valid, and it couldn’t be renewed for an Italian licence (because the UK is part of the EU, you’re able to renew your licence in another European country i.e. your new European country of residence).
    Because our Australian licences are no longer valid in Italy after one year of residency, after receiving this information, what we did do was then:
    * Pay a lot of money (all up it’s around 2,000 euros!) to register and obtain Italian driver’s licences and begin as newly licenced drivers (like P-platers).
    * We spent countless hours searching for a car online that was suitable for three kids in the back, including a booster seat (due to the restrictions on the power/size newly licenced drivers are limited to less powerful cars, and therefore smaller-sized cars)
    * We swapped over 2 cars, paid the difference and also incurred the costs of re-insuring and registering.
    * I went to 3 evening lessons per week (1.5 hours each) for about 7 weeks.
    * Had to wait another month to sit the theory test after being told I was considered absent after the 5 hour delay on the motorway due to the road accidents. (We were never told this policy)
    * I have not driven for nearly 3 months
    I turned up to my second driving lesson last week, but the instructor was sick so didn’t show up (I received no message). I was hoping to move my driving practical test forward – however, instead I was given a date later than the original.
    My patience and resilience have been tested, and re-tested.
    By chance, I met an English expat at the end of last week, who said she renewed her UK expired licence (it expired 5 years ago) in Italy only 6 months ago, and all she did was sit for an eye test. Our UK licences expired less than 5 years ago.
    Today, we went to another motor agency office nearby to find out more, only to be told, that from THIS year the rules changed:
    * Firstly, Rick, with his already new Italian licence cannot do anything. We were hoping at least he could not be considered a P-plater (which means double demerit points for 3 years, 100km/h speed limits and zero alcohol for 3 years, plus the restrictions on the size/power of the car you can drive). However, if we had done this last year, it would’ve been different!!!
    * Secondly, if I was to apply to have my UK licence renewed in Italy, I am certain to have to re-sit my theory, which is risky, plus I still need to do my practical. However, if we had done this last year, it’s possible I would not have had to do anything bar an eye test, and we would’ve spent a lot less money and had less stress!
    I think I need to take up a kick-boxing class…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have realised that if an ‘official’ tells you it can’t be done, the best policy is to go back the following week and ask again. Because either the rules will have changed or the official will have forgotten his stance on interpreting the rules.

      If by chance this doesn’t work then go to the next village / city and ask at a different office.
      If all fails you need to find somebody who knows somebody who works in an office that can rubber stamp your application, this is the Furbo way. Mrs Sensible doesn’t like it when I become Furbo… but sometimes needs must

      Liked by 1 person

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