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Can I drive with my U.S. driver’s license in Italy?

Jan 26, 2024

Yes, you can drive in Italy with your U.S. driver’s license. However, there are other requirements you must meet. Read on for an understanding of what you need to do to drive in Italy legally.

One of the most common questions we get is: do I need an international driver’s license in Italy? It’s actually not a strict requirement (we’ll talk about international driving permits later in this article). Driving in Italy with a U.S. license is legal. But there are definitely some things to keep in mind.

  1. You can use your U.S. license to drive in Italy, but it must be accompanied by an official translation in Italian. 
  2. If you’re planning on an extended stay in Italy, your U.S. driver’s license is valid only for a year, after which you’ll need to obtain an Italian license. There is no agreement for reciprocal recognition of drivers' licenses between the United States and Italy, meaning you’ll have to meet Italian licensing requirements should you become a resident. Driving in Italy with a U.S. license if you’re a registered resident in Italy is not allowed.
  3. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is not required, but it is recommended. The IDP, along with your U.S. driving license, helps meet the official translation requirement mentioned above. (See below for more info)
  4. Although not a strict legal requirement, many car rental companies have their own rules around licensing. Check with your rental company in advance on their requirements for U.S. licenses or IDPs.

Now that you have an understanding of whether you need an international license in Italy, the next step is making sure that you can drive comfortably and safely once you’re there. We’ve put together some driving tips and a road signs guide on our blog. But if you want to be truly be prepared for a smooth trip, we also recommend our signature driving tutorial for Italy. More than what you can get from reading a blog, or watching a YouTube videos, our guides feature a series of easy-to-understand videos, 360-degree driving simulations, and an on-the-go guide. It’s everything you need to confidently get behind the wheel, and something you can’t get anywhere else. (Just ask our customers!)

How to get an International Driving Permit

The IDP is a small booklet that contains your basic information in multiple languages to facilitate interactions abroad. Luckily, it’s quite easy to obtain:

  1. You can get an IDP through AAA as long as you have US license valid for more than 6 months in the future and are at least 18. 
  2. Go to your local office with a completed application (form can be downloaded here), passport photos, and the fee ($20 at time of this posting).
    • You can also apply by mail if you don’t have a nearby office.
  3. Your IDP will be processed and mailed to you, and you’re ready to go!

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