Italian Driver’s License – Part 2 – the process.

Italian Driver’s License – Part 2 – the process.

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

I started studying for the test on theory in July and did some web research on the process for getting a patente (license). Well, there are several fundamental steps. Get all of your required documents in order. In my case that includes my permesso di soggiorno and my carte d’identita’ (Identity card). And oh, yes, be prepared to spend a bunch of money.

  1. Fill out forms. In any country you surely have to fill out forms but as usual Italy takes things to a new level. Theoretically you can just drop into the local Motorizzazione (DMV) and ask for a set of forms and go it alone. That saves some money but it’s a difficult and treacherous path. I went to the DMV here which is well outside the center. There was really only one bus that I could take and I rode that for 30 minutes to get to the nearest stop. It was unclear exactly how I would arrive from the stop so I had to wander around for awhile (signs! We don’t need no stinkin’ signs!) before I found an entrance and then more time to find the part for information on the patente. So I asked for a package of all of the forms. The guy there said, well, the first appointment available is the first week of November (this was in late August). Ooh, that sounds bad to start with. So I said well I’ll just take the forms and ponder the next step. He wouldn’t give them to me and said come back in November. I wasn’t secure enough in my Italian to point out how absurd this was and besides I could see right away that going it alone was going to be huge pain in the ass and possibly take MONTHs to get a license. So I did what most people do; I went shopping for a driving school.
  2. Going the route of a driving school makes some sense anyway since ultimately you are legally required to take 6 hours of driving instruction with an school. I smell a driving school lobby somewhere in Italy. In any case the DMV (Motorizzazione- try saying that!) seems to offload a lot of their duties to the driving schools. You can go there to renew you driver’s license, register your vehicle and god knows what else related to cars (or motorcycles) and driving. So they have all of the forms you need and know all the bureaucratic levers to pull and even provide one of the physician statements. This one amounts to an eye test and nothing more. The other one is a form that you take to your general practitioner (medico di base) and has something like 10 questions asking if you have some malady that makes it unsafe to drive: are you crazy, drug addicted, missing a limb, basic stuff like that. So my doctor took my blood pressure and listened to my chest with a stethoscope and signed the form (I had already marked NO to all of the questions). Cost – 40 euros. Enroll in the school – 100 euros. This 100 euros theoretically provides classroom instruction probably using the same language that they used for the test. It’s sort of like if the written test in California was written in Olde English and often used double negatives. So I will not be attending the classroom sessions. Come back with the your doctor’s form, pay another 94 euros for some fees and the eye test.
  3. Next step schedule an appointment to take the test on theory. If you’ve read the previous post you will know that I think that the majority of the questions are about basically useless shit but that’s the next step and it for some also ridiculous reason must be at least a month after asking to have it scheduled. So after a week I received a text message that my test was scheduled for the first of October at 10 in the morning at the dreaded Motorizzazione. Ah, but there was an option; I could arrive there on my own by 9:30 in the morning or arrive at the driving school at 9:00 and they would take me there. Easy choice. Oh yes, taking the test costs 125 euros.
  4. Once I pass the test – and I’m becoming quite confident that I will, then there are the 6 hours of driving with a driving school instructor at 35 euros an hour so that adds another 210 euros to the bill. And of course the driving test itself costs another 125 euros.

So I pass both tests on the first try I will have a license in hand and the total cost is around 700 euros. I grumpily described all of these costs to my friend Marco and he said, that’s pretty good because a lot of times it can be as much as 1000.

Ah “Benvento in Italia!” And there is more absurdity to come. Don’t get me wrong, I love the place despite the absurdities.

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