The saga of converting my UK driving license to an Italian driving license

The downside of being immersed in the final stages of writing a book, I find, is that I shut out everyday life. My story and characters become my life, in effect. At the back of my mind, I knew I should get my UK driving license converted into an Italian one, especially as my UK license was due to expire in June, but I set the task aside until I’d released Three. With hindsight, I wish I hadn’t done that…large_read-reflect-write-repeat

Publication week over, I paid a visit to the Italian Automobile Club’s office in Asolo on Monday to find out what documentation I’d need. Online information was sparse and contradictory. The lovely lady behind the counter told me to come back on Wednesday evening between 5-6 pm (the working day goes on longer in this area due to the fact that people take a three hour break for lunch). I’d need to have a “visita medica” and bring my UK license, two photos, my Italian ID card and my codice fiscal (social security). Great, I thought, seems simple enough. Ha, if only I’d known… UI Driving License

Wednesday evening, I took my place in the queue to see the doctor, an officious man who seemed to be taking delight in telling people to get new glasses. When my turn came, my eyes and hearing were tested. All good. Phew! And then, the question, “Have you got a “Certificato Anamnestico per Rinnovo Patente” from your GP?” I gulped. WTF? “I didn’t know I’d need one.”

The lovely lady behind the counter, clearly feeling guilty for not telling me about this extra piece of paper, tried to help. But the doctor wasn’t having any of it. I needed to see my GP. Bear in mind, this was Wednesday evening. And, surprise, surprise, Thursday was June 2nd, Italian National Day, and a public holiday. “Try and see her now,” he suggested. So I drove to her surgery, twenty minutes away, only to find it was her afternoon off. Back at the Automobile Club’s office, the doctor said he categorically couldn’t let me have his certificate without seeing the one from my GP first. The lovely lady behind the counter came to my assistance, and it was decided she’d keep the eye test results and would let me have them when I came back with my GP’s certificate in two days’ time. Friday was the last day I could apply for my Italian license as my UK one would expire on Sunday, hence the urgency. I would have to take all my documentation to Motorizzazione (Department of Transport) in Treviso between 11 am and midday on Friday.

Up with the sparrows on Friday morning, I went to my GP’s surgery. The waiting room was filled with people who had made appointments. Obviously, I did not have an appointment as, by the time I knew I’d need one, it was too late to phone and Thursday was a holiday. So, I sat and waited. And waited. And waited. Woo hoo, at 9.30, my GP was free to see me, when she’d told me it would probably not have been until eleven.

cartoon woman panicking

After answering a few questions about my general health, and paying 61 Euros for the certificate (1 Euro = 1.10 USD), I left my GP’s surgery with the certificato in my hand and drove to the Automobile Club. The lovely lady behind the counter took a photocopy of all my documents and asked for 31 Euros to cover the eye test and tax. Then she gave me a bill to pay for my new license for 45,76 Euros. I couldn’t pay this to her, but could pay it at a newsagents or Post Office. By now, time was marching on and I was starting to panic. Treviso is a good 45 minutes’ drive away, and I wanted to get there by eleven. Back in our village, I went to the newsagents’ and tried to pay there. No way. It would have to be at the Post Office with their notorious queues. Thankfully, it was only next door. And, thankfully again, the queue wasn’t too bad. Only two people in front of me. However, they took an age to conclude their business, not to mention have a chat with the lady behind the counter, as one does in Italy. Eventually, it was my turn and I paid, got the appropriate receipt, and set off for Treviso by 10.30 to arrive at Motorizzazione at 11.15.

woman driving

You can imagine my horror when I stepped into the waiting room. There were over twenty people queuing! people queing

How would they see all of us by midday? Especially as there were only two people serving behind the counter. I took a seat and waited, my eye on the clock. At midday, there were still ten people in front of me. Would they turf us all out and tell us to come back on Monday? I heaved a sigh of relief when they simply locked the door. We would all be seen. Yay!

Finally, another lovely lady behind the counter checked my documentation and I waited nervously for her to tell me I’d need something else. But no, all was in order. Just one moment of panic when she asked me where I’d passed my driving test. If it had been in China, I wouldn’t have been able to convert my license, but, thankfully, I’d actually taken my test in Italy and had converted my Italian license to a UK license when we’d first gone to live in England. All I had to do was fill in another piece of paper and sign that this is what had occurred. The lovely lady behind the counter gave me a receipt, and said my new license should be ready entre un mesetto “within about a month.” But she did take my phone number, “in case there are any problems.” Ha! I’m keeping fingers, toes, and everything else crossed…

italian-licence

6 thoughts on “The saga of converting my UK driving license to an Italian driving license

  1. Good golly Miss Molly! I feel for you Siobhan. Virginia is pretty ridiculous (though not to match your ordeal). I already had a security clearance for heaven’s sake (the ultra background check). I might also add that I’ve gotten a license in three other states to which I’ve moved with no problem whatsoever. Yet Virginia wouldn’t accept the *type* of birth certificate I’ve had all my life (as one of the many proofs of identity they required). I had to contact (via jungles of red tape) the state government of the state where I was born, and of course they couldn’t find data on the hospital where I was born, if it still exists… It took months and months to get a new birth certificate, and then go back through the whole process to get my driver’s licence.
    Anyhow, you’re not alone, for whatever it’s worth. Here’s to a beautiful new week. Hugs.

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  2. The whole ordeal made me realize how relatively free of red tape we are in the UK, Teagan. Getting an Italian ID card required proof of identity, but once obtained can be used for everything. It was the silly doctor’s certificate that threw me. I mean, all I did was answer some questions. I’m looking forward to a week of writing, my favorite kind of week. Have a good week, my lovely. xxx

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  3. What an ordeal you went through. I have to go next week. 😜 Now they’ve decided we need a new license plate after ten years, which mine is. It won’t be anything like what you had to deal with though. I’m glad you were successful.

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