An open letter to the Chief Executive DVLA

Dear Sir,


Please will you help me to convert my UK driving licence to an Italian driving licence. I have requested your help because the process is becoming a farce and would be worthy of any Italian opera.



During March 2013, I started the process of exchanging my UK driving licence for an Italian licence. I knew this would not be an easy process, because it involves Italians and their wonderful bureaucracy; however I was politely surprised when it only took four or five visits to their office and a medical to get the process started.

In May Dott: Giampierro Allegro from the Italian Ministry for Transport wrote to the DVLA (UK) requesting two pieces of information; he asked if the DVLA would confirm that my driving licence was authentic, and the second question was, is Pecora Nera (original name changed) born in Malta on the 3/11/1961 and Pecora Sensible-Nera (changed again) born in Malta on the 3/11/1961 the same person? The confusion has arisen because I adopted my wife’s surname when I married her and updated my UK driving licence. In Bella Italia changing ones name is unheard of.

Since then the process has halted,  DVLA (UK) denied receiving the letter, this may be true, because Poste Italia is exceptionally unreliable, you have more chance of a letter reaching its destination if you put it in a bottle and throw it from the Naples ferry into the sea.

Quicker than Poste Italia

Quicker than Poste Italia

Since July I have contacted DVLA on several occasions including, one letter, two e mails, made four telephone calls and filled in two DVLA web based complaints form.  Today I phoned Angelina at the DVLA call centre and was told they are still looking at the attachments that I sent during August!!!

Please will you ask someone to write to Dott: Giampierro Allegro at the Italian Ministry for Transport and confirm that my licence is authentic and that Pecora Nera and Pecora Sensible-Nera are the same person.

The ongoing saga

Part one

Part two

Part three


Yours faithfully

Pecora Nera

Post updated because Mr Simon Tse is no longer the Chief Executive of DVLA, Oliver Morley becomes the new Chief Executive in November. I wonder if this will be sorted before then?

51 thoughts on “An open letter to the Chief Executive DVLA

  1. OOHHHH when I applied to have my UK licence swapped to a Spanish one, the Spanish authorities must have contacted the DVLA by email to confirm my driving licence was authentic, because they received a response within 5 days. I returned to the traffic office in Malaga two days after that and received my new driving licence by post within two weeks!


    • I first approached the Italian office in March… 7 months later I am not much closer. The Italian office said “DVLA normally don’t reply to their letters….. By the time I get an Italian licence I will be eligible for an Old persons free bus pass.


  2. Hi again, I’m so sorry to hear this but did VERY much enjoy your letter (every cloud and all that!). Anyway, my (Italian) husband says this is just your punishment for being so “new man” and taking your wife’s name!! Molto sympathetic my hubby!

    At least we can take some consolation from the fact that the DVLA seem utterly incompetent too. Maybe Italy isn’t all that bad after all! Good Luck.


  3. Hurrah! You’re back! I’m even happy that this is unresolved because it means more entertaining posts 😉 I do feel a little guilty about that though! I’m actually thinking of starting driving lessons here, taking the test and failing a couple of times, passing on the third or fourth attempt and seeing if I can get a Latvian driving licence before you get your Italian one 😉


    • There is a great driving school in Latvia Called Learn with Janice, I think they use either a Lada or a Moskovich 🙂 🙂 Either way I put put money on you learning and passing your test before DVLA or their Italian counterparts pull their finger out.

      I sent a letter of complaint via their website, I received an automatic reply that said they would reply within 10 days. I then sent them another complaint because they did not reply to my first complaint within 10 days. Oh such joy.

      I wonder if I could flag this up to the newspapers…


  4. Oh my…what a logistical nightmare! Why do they need to make things so complicated and difficult? Is it because they need to keep people employed and therefore drag these things out indefinitely? You’ll be glad to know that dealing with the Italian consulate in San Francisco is just as painful. My husband applied for Italian citizenship through marriage (to me) about 2 years ago and we still haven’t heard a thing. If I call the “cittadinanza” office at the consulate, I get a message that says “recorder full”. If I call the main number, they tell me I need to speak to the “cittadinanza” department and transfer me without giving me the opportunity to tell them that the recorder is full. If I send an email, I get no response. Makes me want to pull my hair out because there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to turn to! Well, I wish you luck in getting your license taken care of – hopefully you won’t have to wait 2 years!


    • I expected the Italian office to be a nightmare, but I thought the DVLA back in good ol’ blighty might be a tad more efficient.

      Applying for Italian Citizenship, mmm now that is something only proper masochists apply for. I am sure there would be enough material for several books if I applied. Good luck with your application.


  5. Your letter is fab; it’ll definitely catch their eye, and even boost your traffic on the blog as the DVLA team all read about your exploits…. you’ll become an international star……. 🙂 I was told that my French licence would be edited. That was on the 22nd July. Silence has ensued…. Still no licence here, either!


    • The DVLA might put my letter to the bottom of the pile again…

      I really don’t understand what is so interesting with the original letter I sent DVLA… why have they have spent a month ‘looking’ at it? Even Miley Cyrus’s twerking video gets boring after 2 nanoseconds, so I don’t see what has captured DVLA’s limited imagination.


    • I thought the Belgiums were organised… Didn’t Hercule Poirot (who Mrs Sensible thinks is wonderful) come from Belgium. Mrs Sensible will be very disappointed…

      We both cook, Mrs Sensible cooks divine food that takes minuets to prepare and serve and I prepare food that takes hours, it is normally black and crispy and the kitchen always looks like a bomb has just hit it..


      • whooaaa. no way. the belgians like their terribly complicated bureaucratic system that NObody can get through in some semblance of an efficient manner. they like their patches to fix things, so it’s patch on patch and pass the blame! so, when i hear of italy’s system, all i can think is – at least you live in italy!

        props on being in the kitchen, though!


  6. I must say that I enjoy your British humor my friend and I so see my self in your same shoes down here in Naples with many documents that I had to change over as well, especially when I had to get married with an Italian woman ;O) I will be eagerly awaiting an end to this saga after which I would write a book about it, to promote Italian efficiency….oh wait, no, that wasn’t what the article was about! Maybe next time!


  7. oh no!! sorry to hear the ongoing saga is still …. ongoing… PN, so are you walking around Piemonte on foot at the moment? or is this the reason why you are stuck at home playing domestic goddess?

    On a serious note I would suggest:
    1)book an Easyjet flight to the UK
    2)go in person to DVLA with a letter (drafted by you) confirming that PN dob…. is the one and the same as PN-MRS S.
    3) try and get that signed at DVLA.
    4)get it notarised and Apostilled (the more stamps, the better)
    5)get MRS S to translate it into Italian
    6) go back to the local Italian office who is dealing with the change of licence


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