What’s small pink and takes 8 months to arrive?


No Mrs Sensible is not pregnant.

No Mrs Sensible is not pregnant.

After 8 months of waiting, my Italian driving licence has finally arrived, it was a very simple process and only took.

1 medical
10 visits to Mr Cretino at the Italian office (they now have 10 photocopies of my passport, licence etc)
5 Emails to the Italian office
6 phones calls to DVLA
4 nice e mails to DVLA
2 snotty e mails to DVLA
1 letter to the Chief Exec of DVLA

and of course 120 Euros

Small pink and takes 8 months

Small pink and takes 8 months

After 8 months of shouting at Mr Cretino in Italian and the DVLA in English; I now consider myself to be a bit of an expert on converting driving licences, so I have written a book.

My new book, available from all good book shops

My new book, available from all good book shops

If you can’t find my book in your local book shop, have a quick read of the following.

Part one

Part two

Part three

The letter I e mailed to DVLA

I am working on my next book titled How to gain Italian Citizenship. It should be available in 5 years.

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83 thoughts on “What’s small pink and takes 8 months to arrive?

    • Thank you, Mrs Cretino told me it was ready on Monday so I called into his office. He gave me another photocopy licence and said I could have the real one on Tuesday. I was too mystified to ask why!!

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    • Ha ha ha, I will go and ask Mr Cretino on Monday. I am sure one of his relatives will work in the office where I need to apply. Oh Lord, I will have to go through the ‘why are your names different on your documents’.

      Maybe I should have done what the clandestine migrants do with their documents and thrown them into the sea just before I entered Italy

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  1. I have done nothing constructive today as I have been reading your blog posts! This morning I read a few out loud to my husband but had some difficulty as I couldn’t stop laughing! I did escape for half an hour to do the shopping but now, when I am supposed to be unpacking the stuff and organising lunch I had to stop and read ALL three parts of your book. I am dreading having to change my driving licence – have 5 years to go…but…perhaps I should begin the procedure now? It was bad enough re-registering my car, that took many visits to Fermo, lots of stamps and paperwork and the usual mix up with different ‘officials’ giving a variety of interesting and opposing advice, added to that it was August so most departments were ‘on holiday’! Ninette πŸ™‚

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  2. Congratulations on your new “patente”! Did you also have to take a test – either written or behind the wheel to find out how you lose (or gain, if possible) points? I am utterly baffled about this! We noticed once on the autostrada outside of Milan that you could lose 10 points if you drove backwards on the freeway!!!! Ummm….who would even think of doing such a thing?? And if so, because I know that nothing surprises me with Italian drivers, then that should deserve a lot more than only a 10 point demerit!!!

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  3. and a partridge in a pear tree! congrats at last, but you may have to apply again as you may have had another birthday since you first applied and they’ll new a current photo.

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  4. Congratulations, 8 months that’s not so bad. πŸ™‚ Every state here requires a different license. After living in Arizona where your license doesn’t expire until you are in your 60s I decided to hold on to this (even though I will not live there again) and save myself the cost and hassle, although you have now shown me what a hassle really is. πŸ™‚

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  5. Hey-hey or should that be here-here. A salute to Mr what’s his name. He fianlly came through. Of al the “ins” that I could come up with this is all incomprehensible to me. But the Latins are in a league of their own and do not give a wit about time. I suspect that “they” get more than a bit of satisfaction from prolonging the ordeal. But of all the descriptions nincompoop seems the most fitting here. That means noncompass mentis. I’m referring to Mr What’s his name- not you. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  6. Complimenti! Sono contentissima di sentirlo! (I have the impression that the DVLA weren’t much more efficient than the Italian side). Yesterday I had a mega row at our local post office….was all set to leave il bel paese!

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    • I was very surprised with DVLA, After I sent them the open letter (see other post) they sent me a nice e mail, they apologised for losing one of my E mail and attachments, for forwarding one of my e mails to the wrong department and said they had been in contact with Italy to sort it out quickly….

      But yes they were a bit rubbish, a guy on their ‘help’ desk asked “is this urgent?” This was after I had explained everything to him. I spluttered, coughed and remembered not to swear as it was being taped for training purposes and said of course it is, that is why I keep phoning you. He said he would mark it as so on his computer… WOOOPEEEDOOO Hence the open letter to the Chief Exec

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  7. Yay! Congrats at last! I salute your bravery on driving the roads of Italia… after things you’ve posted about I don’t think I’d want to sit behind the steering wheel over there (or in the passenger seat for that matter!) but the best of luck to you and your new pink companion! πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks for the repost… I was very calm the first couple of visits.

      It just got a bit strange when he suggested sticking stamps onto my UK driving licence or telling me I was not allowed to change my name.

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  8. Hahaha … A piece of cake, mate!!! You should try doing things the hard way, like I did when converting my driving licence. Let me explain…: When driving along a country lane near Norcia in Umbria, I was stopped by the carabinieri for a routine control, who confiscated my license and told me I had to convert it. They told me they would forward it to the MTCC (the Italian DVLC) here in Rome, where I have been resident for donkey’s years. Predictably, but unfortunately, instead of sending it to the MTCC in Rome, they erroneously sent it to the British Embassy in Rome, who -not knowing why it had been sent to them- assumed it had been stolen. They in turn sent it back to the DVLC in Wales who promptly destroyed it. After over a year and countless phone calls, I finally managed to reconstruct what had happened when a marasciallo dei carabinieri who I contacted told me once more that they had never received a driving licence from Michael Allen (me). However he helpfully read through the list of confiscated licences in the relative period and amongst the names he read out over the phone there was the name of a certain MichaelAngelo, which sounded quite fishy to me and, luckily when asking him to check again who the MichaelAngelo was, I discovered that he was referring to my own licence… After many calls to the Embasy and the DVLC in Wales, I finally managed to obtain a substitute declaration from the DVLC proving that I was, in fact, the holder of an ex-driving licence. As you can imagine, such a document didn’t go down very well with the Italian burocrats, but in the end, they succumbed to my stubborn persistence and I am now the proud owner of a “little pink thing” too… hahahaha

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    • Hi Michael,
      Nothing surprises me any more. Did you drive without a licence for a year?? How did you manage? On my second or third visit to Mr Cretino, an Italian entered the office, he started to explain that the Carabinieri had confiscated his licence for 30 days. After the 30 days was up he went back to pick retrieve his licence. Unfortunately over the 30 days they had lost it, he asked the carabiniere what they intended to do about his lost licence, they said nothing it was not their problem. They told him to go and apply for a new one!!

      Only in Italy eh?

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      • hahaha … the carabinieri are fantastically disorganised. I had a friend who, a few years ago, had lost his driving licence yet luckily had a photocopy of it which he carried around with him in the car. He was once stopped by the carabinieri for a routine control. Upon producing the photocopy, one of the carabinieri noticed that the driving licence in the photocopy had expired, to which my friend replied “I know, but you can’t renew a photocopy.” The carabinieri, obviously confused by such a reply, just gave him back the photocopy and let him go on his way.

        Only in Italy indeed …

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  9. Pingback: On the twelve day of Christmas Mrs Sensible gave to me β™«β™«β™ͺ | Englishman in Italy

  10. I wonder how long I can continue to drive on an Australian licence. If I lose that one i have one of those old paper British licenses that expires when I’m 75 or some such. If I lose that one… well, lucky I like riding my bike. πŸ™‚

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    • I think (and I only think, so don’t go telling the Carabinieri Pecora Nera said it was ok) That you can drive for 12 months on an Australian licence, but you need an International licence or declaration..

      Personally I would stick with the bike, because after a few months of Italian food and wine, you will need to cycle to keep the weight off.

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  11. Very entertaining read of this farcical saga.
    I have been in Italy for almost 11 years, have an old style pink fold-out UK license which has an expiry date when I hit 70 – some years off. I am considering buying a car here but wondering if this license will be accepted by an insurer. I do presently drive the company’s car using this license. I was stopped on a vigili spot check once some years back and when I showed them my license they unfolded it, stared at it for a few uncomprehending seconds, then re-folded it and handed it back, waving me away.
    A Belgian colleague had to go through the sticker application process as her license (10yrs?) has an expiry date on it.
    Curious to hear if you know anything about the validity of my license.
    I don’t mind converting it to an Italian license if this necessary, but obviously I’d prefer not to.

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