With circular No. 9570 of March 22, 2023, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport informs that the Agreement between the Republic of Italy and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the mutual recognition of driving licenses for the purpose of conversion (“Agreement”), signed in Roma on December 23, 2022, enters into force as of March 30, 2023.
Therefore, as of that date, the Italian Department of Motor Vehicles offices will be able to accept applications for conversion of UK driving licenses, in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement.
Starting from January 2021 up until the ratification of the Agreement, the provisions for non-EU licences used to be applied to British licences, so applications for conversion could not be accepted.
Territorial application of the agreement
First, it is important to note that the Agreement applies not only to driving licenses issued in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but also to those issued by the competent authorities of Gibraltar, the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Isle of Man and the Bailiwick of Jersey (Article 20 of the Agreement).
Templates and equivalences tables
The Agreement contains the following annexes:
- Tables of equivalences – these establish equivalence between the categories of driving licenses issued by the parties to the Agreement.
- Models of driving licenses lists (Article 10 of the Agreement) – these are the models on which Italian and UK driving licenses are written, to be considered valid for the purpose of the conversion.
- Model for the exchanging of information regarding lost/stolen driving licenses – in fact, according to Article 7 of the Agreement, it is possible to apply the conversion process even if the license whose conversioni s requested cannot be returned in its original form because it has been lost or stolen.
Peculiarities of the Agreement
Given that, until the end of the post-Brexit transition period, the mutual recognition of driving licenses between the parties had been governed by EU directives, the new Agreement has some peculiarities:
- Articles 1 and 3(2) – Italy recognizes, for conversion purposes, also UK licenses that have expired no more than five (5) years since the application for conversion was submitted. However, this rule is not applicable to license issued from the Isle of Man.
- Article 3(3) – holders of UK driving licenses may convert their licenses only if they have been resident in Italy for less than six (6) years at the time of submitting the conversion application. The only exception allowed to this rule is expressed by Article 3(4), which specifies that the afore-mentioned provision does not apply to UK license holders who have acquired residence in Italy by December 31, 2020. Therefore, those who fall under this exception may apply for conversion even if they have been resident in the Italian Republic for a period of more than six (6) years.
Finally, some general principles are maintained, including the following:
- Article 8: The license to be converted must have been obtained prior to the acquisition of residence in the Italian territory.
- Article 9: UK licenses obtained by a previous conversion of a foreign license that is not convertible in Italy cannot be considered valid for conversion purposes.
For more information you can also have a look at our dedicated article on the conversion process and general rules applied to driving in Italy with a foreign license.