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Drive without IDP at your own risk

ITALIAN MOTOR VEHICLE CODE - Art 135
Art . 135. Circulation with driver’s licenses issued by foreign states .
1. Notwithstanding the provisions of the international conventions, the holders of a driver’s license issued by a non -EU Member State or the European Economic Area may drive the vehicles for which they are licensed in the Italian national territory, provided that they are not residents in Italy for more than a year and provided that they also carry an international permit or an official translation into Italian of their home country license. Driver's license and international permit must be current and valid.
[…]
8. The holder of a driver’s license issued by a State outside the European Union or the European Economic Area that drives a vehicle within the Italian national territory without the international permit or an official translation, as referred to in paragraph 1, is subject to an administrative fine ranging from 400 Euro to 1,600 Euro.

Posted by
2251 posts

Roberto, thank you for posting this information. I would say it's valuable to anyone residing outside of Italy planning to drive a car there. I imagine other countries outside of the US have the same or very similar requirements.It's so easy to get that IDP and the cost is negligible. That's a stiff fine with which to be gambling!

Posted by
26396 posts

Less, I believe. I paid $15 in 2015, and that's the figure I saw on this year's form, but someone posted recently that the price has been raised to $20.

Posted by
32152 posts

Roberto,

Thanks for posting this important information, as it provides a very solid reason why people should always get an I.D.P. if planning to drive in Italy. The old excuse of "I've driven in Italy for xx years and have never been asked to produce one" will be no consolation if some hapless driver gets nicked with a €1600 fine!

I don't always know if I'll be driving on visits to Europe, but I always renew my I.D.P. every year ("better safe than sorry").

Posted by
1878 posts

I paid close to $30 for an IDP at AAA, because you have to pay for the photos too. You could go somewhere else and get the photos a little cheaper, maybe, but not worth chasing around to save $3.

Posted by
14887 posts

I have not had a personal experience with the fine being levied on me, because I've always had the IDP while driving overseas. I was pulled over by the Carabinieri only once while visiting since I moved to the US and they let me go as soon as they saw I was an "America tourist" without even checking me. I produced my IDP, California DL, and my US passport, and of course pretended to speak broken Italian with a heavy American accent on that occasion. It worked. They thought I was a 2nd or 3rd generation Italian American and let me go without even checking the documents. Not sure it would have worked had I spoken to them in Italian with my heavy Florentine accent. Italian police and carabinieri are generally more lenient with foreign tourists, as long as you apologize profusely and don't act like the proverbial "ugly" jerk foreigner.

When I was living in Italy in my youth I got pulled over with my motorbike, chased at high speed, and fined so many times that I can't even count. Some chases I got away with were worthy of a Hollywood stunt. Every Italian kid has done that in their lifetime. If the Italian police used the methods used by police in America, I would have been shot several times to say the least (and so would have all my friends at the time).

Frankly, since the cost (and time) to get an IDP is so insignificant, I wouldn't take the risk of traveling without one. I'm too old now for running away from the Carabinieri.

Posted by
14578 posts

If you are a member of AAA, the photos are free. I paid $15 earlier this year.

Posted by
305 posts

Roberto,
Do you need one for a Vespa? I am going to be riding one in the Tuscan countryside and while the tour says I don't need one I want to be sure. Thanks

Posted by
32228 posts

Does the tour say you don't need a driving license?

If what you are driving/riding requires a driving license, an IDP is also required for non-EU drivers/riders.

In other words - yes.

Posted by
78 posts

And I was just contemplating whether I "chance" it and bring my old IDP. It will expire the day I arrive in Italy. I guess I'll be renewing it. Thanks for the nudge!

Posted by
4480 posts

Doesn't an expired IDP still qualify as an official translation?

Love this from the aaa website:
An IDP gives you peace of mind while you're out exploring the world - even if you're not planning to drive!

Posted by
1180 posts

Doesn't my expired driver's license still prove I know how to drive?

This is one I have never understood, as the cost of the IDP is so low compared to the potential for a very unpleasant situation while on vacation. Just get the IDP and be done with it.

Posted by
4480 posts

I'm not going to try it because I do NOT go on vacation to stress out about parking issues or credit cards accepted at unmanned toll booths or narrow roads or camera fines or pointless driving laws like requirements to carry an IDP (which is a generic translation composite of terms and words that might be used on one of the 60+ state, district, territory, or tribal driving licenses issued in the US and not really a translation, has anyone else puzzled over one?) ad nauseum.

Posted by
14887 posts

Doesn't an expired IDP still qualify as an official translation?

Maybe. However the last sentence of art. 135 paragraph 1 specifies that both your home driver's license and the IDP must be current and valid (in corso di validita'), i.e. not expired.

The full article 135 the full Motor Vehicle Code) in Italian is here in the website of the Italian Automobile Club (the equivalent of the AAA). Mine was just an approximate translation:

http://www.aci.it/i-servizi/normative/codice-della-strada/titolo-iv-guida-dei-veicoli-e-conduzione-degli-animali/art-135-circolazione-con-patenti-di-guida-rilasciate-da-stati-esteri.html