Last updated on March 2, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, travelling and renting cars In Italy

International Driving Permit for Italy? Step-by-Step process

Do you need an International Driving Permit for Italy? The straightforward answer is yes if you do not have an EU driving license. It’s not just about renting a car in Italy but also about following the Italian rules.

Here below I have summarized all you need to know about applying and using an International Driving Permit for Italy.

Moreover, I have included information on how to apply for one in your own country (very easy, once you know it) with a detailed Step-by-Step process for USA, Canada and Australia (see below).

What is an International Driving Permit (IDP)?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a globally recognized document that serves as a translation of your domestic driver’s license into multiple languages.

It allows you to drive legally in foreign countries without the need for further tests or applications.

It’s important to note that an IDP is not a standalone document but complements your domestic license.

The IDP is recognized in over 150 countries worldwide, including Italy, making it an essential travel document for international road trips.

The International Driving Permit for Italy is not just a recommendation but a requirement for foreign drivers from outside Europe.

At the moment, Brits do not need an IDP to drive in Italy, however, this may change any time in future after Brexit.

IMPORTANT! When driving you have to take both your current license and the IDP with you, otherwise, you may be fined on a police check.

The beautiful Cefalu
The beautiful Cefalu in Sicily

Requirement of International Driving Permit for Italy

Italy is one of the countries where an IDP is mandatory for foreigners intending to drive, including those planning to rent a car.

If you’re a foreigner, you must present your IDP alongside your domestic driver’s license.

This requirement applies to drivers from any country outside the European Union. UK citizens can still drive with a valid British Driving License (no need for an IDP).

The Italian Highway Code clearly states that foreign drivers must have an IDP, besides their own driving license.

Driving without an IDP could lead to fines or, in some extreme cases, vehicle impoundment.

It’s also crucial for insurance purposes as some companies may not cover accidents if the driver doesn’t possess an IDP, leaving you liable for potentially costly damages.

Hiring a Car in Italy with an IDP

When hiring a car in Italy, you’ll need to present your IDP alongside your domestic driver’s license.

The rental company will make copies of these documents for their records. If you fail to present your IDP, the car rental company may refuse to rent you a car.

I usually rent my cars on the DiscoverCars website, a rental aggregator that compares the prices of local and global operators providing the best deal around, with the possibility to add Full Insurance (No Excess) for just 7 Euros/day, such a great peace of mind.

Walking around Cortona
Walking around Cortona in Tuscany

How to Acquire an IDP

The process of acquiring an IDP varies slightly from country to country, but the general procedure is straightforward.

I have listed here below the places where you should apply for IDP in your country.

To make it short I have listed only 12 countries. If you are not resident in any of these countries, ask your local Automobile Association. They usually deal with that. The cost varies and it is usually between USD 20 and AUD 42

Keep reading below for the detailed Step-by-Step process for Australia, USA and Canada or just click on the Country on the first column.

CountryApplication OfficeEstimated Cost ($, with 10% added)
USAAmerican Automobile Association (AAA), American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA)
>> Check step-by-step process below <<
USD 20
CanadaCanadian Automobile Association (CAA)
>> Check step-by-step process below <<
CAD 30 + shipping cost
AustraliaAustralian Automobile Association
>> Check step-by-step process below <<
AUD 42 + shipping cost
JapanJapan Automobile Federation (JAF)JPY 3300
BrazilAutomóvel Clube do Brasil (ACB)Varies based on the service
ChinaChina Automobile AssociationContact for exact details
IndiaWestern India Automobile AssociationContact for exact details
SingaporeAutomobile Association of Singapore Contact for exact details
New ZealandNew Zealand Automobile AssociationContact for exact details
ArgentinaAutomóvil Club ArgentinoContact for exact details
Dubai (UAE)Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE Contact for exact details
International Driving Permit for Italy – Where to request it

Step-by-Step Process to request the International Driving Permit for Italy in Australia

Here’s a step-by-step process for you to obtain an International Driving Permit for Italy while in Australia.

You can today apply online making things so much easier. Go on the AAA website and start the process.

  1. Prepare Your Details: Collect all the necessary information which includes your name, date of birth, and country of birth. Input your name exactly as it is on your driver’s license.
  2. Provide Contact Information: You will need to provide your email and a contact number. Make sure to select the appropriate country code (For Australia, it’s 61).
  3. Upload a Recent Photo: Prepare a recent passport-style photo. The photo must be a clear, high-quality image with no watermarks. Glasses are not allowed and your hair cannot cover your face. It must be taken against a plain white background. I usually take these kinds of photos at my local Post Office. Make sure that to upload these file formats: jpg, jpeg and png. The file size must be under 5MB.
  4. Provide License Details: As part of the application, you need to upload a clear and readable scan or photo of the front and back of your current Australian driver’s license. Use the same picture format as in the previous point.
  5. Fill in Licence Information: You will need to provide your licence number, licence class, whether or not you wear glasses while driving, the expiry date of your license, and the state of issue. Unfortunately, you cannot apply for an IDP if you are a learner or have a restricted license.
  6. Address Details: Provide the address as it appears on your licence. If your address is not appearing or is incorrect, you can enter it manually.
  7. Choose Delivery Method: After your application is reviewed and approved, your IDP will be dispatched within 3 business days for metropolitan areas (this may take longer during public holidays and for regional delivery). If you need it delivered to an international address, choose that option.
  8. Proceed to Payment: After all the above steps, click “Next: Summary” and proceed to the payment section.
Accepted and refused photos for the IDP application

The IDP will be dispatched within 3 business days of the application (delivery time depends on where you live). If you need it within 5 business days it is probably a good idea to visit the local branch and get it on the spot (bring all the aforementioned docs with you).

The cost is AUD 42 + postage

Step-by-Step Process to request the International Driving Permit for Italy in the USA

Here is a step-by-step process on how to request an International Driving Permit for Italy in the USA through AAA:

  1. Download and fill out an application: Visit the AAA’s website and download the IDP application form. Fill it out with the necessary details.
  2. Get two original passport pictures: You need two original passport-size photos for the IDP. Make sure that each photo is signed on the back. You can get these taken at a AAA branch office, or any place that provides passport photo services.
  3. Prepare a valid U.S. driver’s license: The IDP accompanies your US driver’s license, so make sure it’s valid. You need a photocopy of both sides of your license if you’re applying by mail.
  4. Payment: The permit fee for the IDP is $20 USD. Make sure to include the payment in your application.

You can apply in person or by mail.

In-person application:

  1. Visit your nearest AAA branch: With your application form, passport photos, U.S. driver’s license, and permit fee, visit your nearest AAA branch. Note that not all branches offer IDP services, so it’s a good idea to contact the branch directly to verify before your visit.

Mail-in application:

  1. Prepare your application package: This should include your completed IDP application form, two signed passport photos, the $20 USD permit fee, and a photocopy of both sides of your U.S. driver’s license.
  2. Mail your application: Send your application package to the nearest AAA office. If you desire expedited return mail service, include additional U.S. funds for this. Check USPS.com or Fedex.com for rates.

Please remember that an International Driving Permit cannot be issued more than six months in advance of the desired effective date.

If you’re already overseas

In case you’re currently overseas, you can mail your completed application to the following address:

AAA/IDP
1000 AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL 32746
Attn: Mail Stop #28

Allow 5-7 weeks for return mail. Depending on your location, your IDP may be delivered by FedEx, so make sure to provide a street address for delivery.

This process should be initiated well before your planned travel date, keeping in mind the time for application processing and mailing. The exact processing time can vary, but it’s a good idea to allow a few weeks from the time you submit your application until you receive your IDP.

Step-by-Step Process to request the International Driving Permit for Italy in Canada

Here is the step-by-step process to obtain an International Driving Permit for Italy while being in Canada.

  1. Identify your CAA Club: Based on your current location in Canada, you must identify which CAA club you belong to. The clubs include BCAA, CAA South Central Ontario, CAA Manitoba, and CAA Quebec, among others.
  2. Download the Application Form: You should then download the IDP application form available on the website.
  3. Fill the Application Form: After downloading the form, you should fill it out carefully. Ensure that all the required information is provided correctly.
  4. Return the Application Form: After you have filled out the application form, you must return it (hard copy) to your local CAA Club.
  5. Payment: There is a $30 CAD plus shipping fee associated with the application for an IDP. The prices may vary depending on your CAA Club. You may also be able to pay for an IDP by credit card (based on the Club).
  6. Wait for Processing: Once you have submitted the form and paid the fee, your application will be processed. The process typically takes 2 business days + delivery time. You can also do it on the spot at the Club.
  7. Receive the IDP: After your application has been processed, you will receive your IDP. The IDP can be mailed or returned to you by courier.

If you are a member of the Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces, you must use a specific application form mentioned on the website.

This information should give you a clear step-by-step process on how to obtain your IDP from Canada for use in Italy. If any doubt arises, please contact your local CAA Club.

Tips for Driving in Italy with an IDP

  • Always keep your IDP and domestic driver’s license with you when driving.
  • Understand and follow Italian driving laws to avoid fines.
  • Always have your rental contract and insurance documents in the car.
  • Familiarize yourself with different road signs and parking rules in Italy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, acquiring an IDP is not only mandatory but also a smart decision when planning to drive or rent a car in Italy.

It ensures that you comply with Italian regulations and can communicate effectively with local authorities if required.

It also provides peace of mind, knowing you’re appropriately licensed and insured while driving in a foreign country.

Whether you’re renting a car in Tuscany to explore the wine region, driving through the amazing Sicily, or exploring the Amalfi Coast’s serpentine roads, an IDP is an essential travel document.

Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

Leave a Comment