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  • Writer's pictureChristian Di Sanzo

Driving in the USA with an Italian driver's license.

What you need to know about driving in the USA with an Italian driver's license.


Many Italians who recently arrive in the USA ponder whether they can legally drive using their Italian driver's license. The responses they receive are often varied and can be confusing. Some say you need an international license, others suggest it's valid only for the first 3 or 6 months. The truth, however, lies in the nuanced rules of the United States, which differ from state to state and depend on your residency status.


For Non-Residents

If you're not a resident in the consular jurisdiction of Houston (encompassing Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma), you can drive with an international license. This license, compliant with the 1949 Geneva Convention model, is valid for one year. Remember, carrying your Italian passport is essential during your travels.


For Residents

Once Italian citizens establish residency in the USA, the game changes. They must comply with the specific driving laws of their resident state. This is crucial to understand to avoid any legal complications.


In the below file, you will find a list of all the rules from state to state for driving with an Italian license:

Informazioni patente per ogni stato
.pdf
Download PDF • 16KB

State-by-State Guide

We've compiled a comprehensive list of state-specific rules for driving with an Italian license in the USA. This guide is your go-to resource for understanding these varied requirements.


General Rules

According to the Consulate of Philadelphia's website, the rules for residents and temporary visitors (tourists or those with temporary residence) differ:

  • Residents: Italian residents in the USA must follow their state's driving laws.

  • Temporary Visitors: For tourists or temporary residents, an Italian driving license is valid for up to 12 months under Article 24 of the 1949 Geneva "Convention on Road Traffic." However, given the federal nature of the United States, the application of this rule can vary by state.

Pro Tip

Since the USA is a federal union, with states having discretion over driving laws, Italian tourists traversing multiple states are advised to obtain an international driving license before their journey. This can prevent unwelcome surprises, as some states might have different interpretations of the 12-month rule, reducing it to just 90 or 60 days.


 

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