Moving to Italy: International Driving Permit

On April 5th, The Husband and I are moving to Italy!

Well, not fully moving. We elected not to get Visas yet, so we are going for three months. US citizens can spend three months in the Schengen area without a Visa. You then need to leave for three months, then you can return for three months. For our first three months outside of the Schengen area, we plan on going to London. Italy was supposed to have a digital nomad Visa as of December 2022, but it still isn’t available.

Our first 6 weeks will be spent in Rome. We have the cutest Airbnb near the Pantheon. It’s the perfect spot for walking all over the city, and has an adorable writing area. I want to finish the rough draft of my book there.

There are a lot of things to do before leaving the US for an extended amount of time. Our passports and Global Entry are all current and don’t expire for years, so that was one less thing to worry about.

After booking flights and our first Airbnb I focused on all the other little details, including getting my international driving permit. I don’t plan on driving there but I wanted to be ready in case it comes up. While technically required to rent a car, most rental companies apparently don’t ask for it. I didn’t want to risk it so I figured I might as well get it. The Husband used his inability to drive manual transmissions as an excuse to not drive in Europe.

An international driving permit can only be obtained at AAA and costs $20. You need two passport photos, your current US driver’s license, and the application. Pro tip: if you are a AAA member you can get passport photos at the office for free. The permit is good for one year from the date you arrive, which you indicate on the application.

It only took about five minutes, and four of them were waiting for the ink to dry. The AAA office literally puts your photo in this paper book, fills out a few lines, and stamps it.

I asked what the point was. The AAA employee said that it was a description of the license in multiple languages so if you get pulled over in a country that doesn’t speak English, they can understand your license. That may have been helpful 20 years ago, but I would think a translation app would be sufficient.

But now I have one so when I inevitably get pulled over for speeding in my little Fiat in the Italian countryside, I’m ready.

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