You should carry your passport or a copy of the data page with you in Italy. It is the law in Italy that you have an ID on you at all times. 

Gov.uk states that if you are only carrying a photocopy of your passport’s data page, which is fine, that you also carry your driver’s license as well or some other additional form of ID. 

If you are carrying your passport, you don’t need to carry any additional identification.

Read on for answers to other questions you might have and for tips for traveling with your passport through Italy and anywhere internationally.

Can I travel back to Italy with an expired passport?

No, a card for identity (carta d’identità) or passport issued to you in Italy that has expired will not be accepted upon return. You can however use one as an ID card inside the country. 

How much time do I need on my passport to travel to Italy?

If you are a non-EU national (not a citizen of the European Union) you must have a valid passport with at least three months left to enter Italy. 

Related: Should you carry your passport with you in Europe?
Related: Should you carry your passport with you in Thailand?

Do you have to carry your passport with you in Italy?

If/When you are stopped while driving, the police will usually ask for your entire passport.

I have a friend who has been traveling to Italy off and on for 14 years, including living there for 5, and has never had it happen to him or his wife, or friends and family that have come and gone in their time living there.

A quick visit with them revealed that it’s common to see visitors and locals on trains, buses or other public transportation have their tickets and documents inspected if they hadn’t stamped their tickets or didn’t have tickets for one reason or another.

The ones that plead their cases most convincingly seem to get away with it just fine. 

There are also random traffic stops, at which the drivers of cars, scooters etc should have to show their IDs aren’t always asked to show them either. I found that interesting. 

My wife and I haven’t been to Italy yet, but when we go, we will follow what we normally do when we are in any other foreign country, Carry our US driver’s licenses and a copy of our data page from our passports and leave our actual passports back where ae are staying. 

No police officer has ever asked to see my passport while I was traveling.

Tips for taking your passport to Italy

These tips and ideas are important for keeping your passport safe and keeping track of it while you are on your Italian vacation.

Keep a color copy of your passport with you.

I have a friend who was in Cancun for a break from the winter weather in Minnesota. One day, she went to breakfast with friends and she left her passport on the table at the restaurant. She realized she had left it just a few minutes after leaving and ran back but it was too late: her passport had been stolen.

Leave it in a safe in your hotel

If you’re planning something, like swimming or a scuba dive where you feel like you won’t have a safe place to lock up your passport or keep it on you, you might want to leave it back at the hotel. I would.

Lock it up in the safe in your room. They are typically very safe and secure. Yes, I know they can be broken into if someone is really trying, but they typically are quite safe and unless you have someone who is really out to get you, or you have done something to make the hotel staff grumpy, you will be fine.

Typically, people who try to tell you that hotel safes aren’t secure, are trying to sell you something… or are paranoid. Yes, even if it is a legit website or a close friend.

It boils down to personal preference and how much risk you’re willing to take on for yourself and those traveling with you during your trip abroad.

So You Know – You might get hassled by your insurance company if you don’t lock up your ID or passport in the hotel safe.

Carry a color copy of my passport and/or your driver’s license

You could carry another form of ID as well. If you were to lose your passport it could be hard to re-enter the US. It’s doable, but a bit of a hassle. Consider carrying a color copy of the Bio/identity page and the latest entry stamp if you do this.

Keep a digital copy on your phone

This could come in handy as well, especially in combination with the paper one.

If you need to, for any reason, be quickly admitted to the Embassy of your country, then carrying something that can prove your citizenship can be very beneficial for you.

Don’t just leave it in your luggage! 

It is more likely to get stolen there. Either by hotel staff, airport staff or pickpockets.

Be careful if someone starts talking to you in the middle of a busy touristy spot.

It might be fine, but it might not. It could be a distraction ploy by a pickpocket. They work in teams where one distracts, the other steals.

Be careful if a vendor requires you to leave your passport 

They might do it legitimately, with no ill-intent, as security to rent a car boat or scooter. Feel the situation out and see if you can leave them your paper copy. 

I just did that to rent a scooter but they looked pretty legit, and I knew we weren’t going to be rally-driving the scooter so I felt the risk was pretty low. It turned out fine.

Though they could have scammed us by claiming that we damaged their vehicle… or kept it if we legitimately damaged the vehicle.

If it gets stolen, notify the authorities asap

If you do get your passport stolen, it’s important to notify the nearest authority and file a police report with as much information as possible:

The date, time, location (street address if possible), what color was the vehicle, license plate number, details of how you had your belongings (wallet or bag) open, etc.

Photocopy your passport two times

Make sure one of them is kept with someone who can email, text or fax it to you in an emergency, and the other you could keep with you at all times. 

Do the opposite of what I have suggested

Or carry the original passport and leave a copy in the hotel and pic of it on your phone in case you need to replace a lost original.  

To avoid losing any of these documents while traveling, I store copies of all documents, as well as a list of credit card numbers and phone numbers online.

Note – Having a copy of your passport won’t replace the original if your actual passport is lost or stolen and you need the original. But a copy might make things easier for the embassy staff and yourself if you need to get a replacement.

Make sure someone at home has a copy of your passport in case of an emergency

If you have any issues or if there is some unforeseen emergency, having someone who isn’t on the trip but is highly responsive and responsible keep a copy of your passport, digital or hardcopy, can be helpful. 

It certainly isn’t necessary, but for the same reasons that organizations ask for emergency contact on their applications and waivers, it could be good to have someone available to help with proof of your identity back home. 

Put an emergency contact person’s information inside your passport

And on that note, it would be good to paperclip in the back cover of your passport an emergency contact that has critical information about you and backups of your important documents. 

Do you have to carry your passport with you in Italy?

Yes, the law requires you to carry your passport in Italy, but people don’t carry their passports with them. I don’t know anyone who has been stopped and asked for their passport, but I have read online of folks who have, and they just call back to the hotel or resort and get things sorted out pretty quickly.

It boils down to personal preference and how much risk you’re willing to take on for yourself and those traveling with you during your trip abroad.

I can’t tell you what to do, but just let you know what French law is and what I do. You can go from there.

Do I have to carry ID in Italy?

Not an Italian citizen?

If you aren’t an Italian citizen then a passport needs to be carried with you or you can show a copy of the bio/data page of your passport and a driver’s license or other picture ID. 

You are an Italian citizen?

The Italian identity card, known as the Carta D’Identità, will need to be carried in public if you are an Italian. Police will not require you to produce any documents, however. Name, surname, and residence will be all you need.

Does Italy have its own passport?

Italy does have its own passports. Italian citizens need them in order to travel internationally. Passports and national ID cards give citizens free movement rights and the right to reside in any country within the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland.

Related: Do I have to carry my passport in Spain?

Can I travel to Italy with a passport that expires in 3 months?

The validity of your passport must extend beyond the period of stay by at least three months. Tourists and business travelers from the United States do not need a visa to enter Italy for up to 90 days.

Can I travel to Italy with only 3 months left on my passport?

Yes, you can travel to Italy so long as your passport is valid for three months after you will be exiting Italy at the end of your stay. 

Do I need to carry my passport with me in Rome?

You need a valid form of identification in Italy, as we mentioned earlier. The same goes for Rome and other Italian cities. This means that, in Rome, even though you’re unlikely to be checked, you must have your passport with you at all times.  Driver’s licenses from another country also won’t be accepted.

Do I need a driver’s license to drive in Italy?

Before leaving the United States, Americans who plan to drive in Italy should get an International Driving Permit.

If accompanied by an official translation in Italian, tourists may also use their American driver’s license so long as it is valid. A resident American registered with the local Vital Records Bureau needs to apply for an Italian license within a year of registration with the local Vital Records Bureau (known as Anagrafe).

You can request a new permit through the mail if yours is about to expire while abroad. Reach out to these guys to make that happen. 

American Automobile Association
Worldwide Travel Department 
1000 AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL 32746 
Phone: (407) 444-7000 

Things not to do in Italy! 

I hope this article has been helpful!

*References

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/local-laws-and-customs