Driver’s Licenses and Permits: Italy

Helpful Pages

SETAF Driver’s License

  • Members of the U.S. Forces and the civilians assigned, attached, or employed with the USA SETAF Area of Responsibility are required to obtain a USA SETAF Driver’s License after arrival in Italy in order to operate any motor vehicles.
  • Only SETAF drivers license holders are authorized to drive a SETAF registered vehicle (aka your personally owned vehicles). This means friends or family visiting from the states can’t legally drive your SETAF registered car, they would have to get a rental car.
  • Sponsors and family members 18 years or older must have a valid stateside or country driver’s license in their possession in order to apply for a SETAF Driver’s License, and it recommended that you renew your license prior to your PCS here.
  • The SETAF license is valid ONLY in NATO countries (countries like Switzerland and Austria are non-NATO countries). Note: sometimes even other NATO countries don’t accept the SETAF license.

How to Obtain a SETAF License

  1. Bring your valid U.S. drivers license
  2. Attend the drivers orientation course in the Central Processing Facility
    • The course is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  3. Complete application forms issued at the Driver’s Orientation Course, including an E-7 or above’s signature.
  4. Pass a written exam
    • Exams are held at set times in the Central Processing Facility, and are first-come, first-served. First-time testers have priority over those who are retaking the exam after failing.
    • You can contact the Driver’s Testing office for testing times or you can find out at the Driver’s Orientation Course.
    • The test contains 50 traffic law questions and 50 road sign questions. All questions come straight from the Driver’s Guide. In order to pass, you cannot miss more than 4 traffic law questions or 4 road sign questions. Study the signs!

Personnel Transferred from other European Commands

  • In order for personnel who have a valid driver’s license issued by another U.S. Military Command in Europe to obtain a USASETAF driver’s license after transferring to Italy they will need to:
  1. Surrender their license to the Driver’s Testing Station with seven (7) days of arrival
  2. Attend the Driver’s Orientation Course in lieu of taking the written test


Do I need an international driver’s permit or license?

  • SETAF licensed drivers who plan to drive outside of Italy should either obtain an International Driver’s Permit (through AAA) or a European Union Driver’s LicenseRead this article for a better explanation of why you need one.
  • Driver’s will also need to obtain an Insurance Green Card and keep it in the vehicle (this is in addition to normal proof of insurance). Vehicle owners can obtain the green card by contacting their insurance company once they have their vehicle registered in Italy.

International Driver’s Permit (AAA)

  • An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) available through the American Automobile Association (AAA) is basically a booklet that interprets your U.S. driver’s license. It is NOT a license, as some may refer to it as.
  • The booklet contains your U.S. driver’s license information, photograph, and pages in different languages telling officials like police officers and car rental agents how to interpret your U.S. driver’s license (expiration dates, driving restrictions, etc.).
  • Although some NATO countries will accept your SETAF license or even a U.S. license, you are strongly encouraged to get an IDP. Non-NATO countries such as Switzerland and Croatia do not recognize the SETAF license as a valid international license. Even NATO countries that are supposed to accept the SETAF license, such as Germany, are often confused by the SETAF license, since US forces in Germany use a different type of license. Save yourself the hassle of getting stopped without an IDP.
  • IDP’s are honored in more than 150 countries outside of the U.S.
  • IDP’s are only valid for one year and you must apply to renew it.
  • It is a good idea to obtain an IDP before you leave the states, but make sure it’s validity date begins when you arrive rather than months earlier, which will be wasted.

Applying: An application for an international driver’s permit may be made by visiting any AAA Automobile Club Office (receive that same day) or by accessing their website to apply by mail (takes up to 6 weeks).

You will need:

  1. A filled out application form.
  2. Two passport size photos (each signed on the back if mailing)
  3. $15 (check, money order, or credit card)
  4. If applying by mail, a photo copy of both sides of your U.S. Driver’s License

European Union (EU) License (aka International Driver’s License)

  • If you already have an International Driver’s permit through AAA, you do not need to have a European Union Driver’s License… although a few still choose to obtain it for its 10 year validity.
  • EU licenses allow you to drive in all countries that are a part of the European Union.
  • They are valid for 10 years.
  • If you wish to obtain an EU license you can visit the Vehicle Registration Office and start the process.
  • You will need:
    1. Two passport size photos
    2. Your government ID Card
    3. Your USA SETAF Driver’s License
    4. Passport
    5. About 180 Euros
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