Getting a ride in Sigonella

Getting a ride in Sigonella

by Stripes Europe
Stripes Europe

Whether your shipping your car from back home or buying a new one while stationed at Sigonella, Stars and Stripes Europe has everything you need to know. 

SHIPPING YOUR VEHICLE OVERSEAS

  • Ship your vehicle at least 6 to 8 weeks before you PCS to ensure it gets here soon after your arrival to Sigonella.
  • Decide between selling your other vehicles, keeping them in storage or leaving them with a friend or family member.
  • A max of three vehicles are allowed per active duty member along with their dependents during their tour in Italy.

GETTING YOUR ARMED FORCES ITALY (AFI) LICENSE

Call the Motor Vehicle Registration Office (MVRO) for driver’s testing. Be sure to ask about test days and times.

What to bring to get your AFI license:

  • Current U.S. driver’s license (It is highly recommended that you renew your license so that it does not expire during your tour.)
  • PCS orders/DOCPERS MFR (contractors)/Logistical Support Letter (DOD civilians)

BUYING A CAR IN ITALY

You have the option to buy a new or used car from dealers and private sellers in Italy. There is no tax when buying a vehicle from another military member.

Keep in mind

  • Any vehicle that doesn’t meet U.S. specifications (specs) cannot be shipped back to CONUS.
  • Used automatic transmission vehicles may be more difficult to find and tend to be more expensive.
  • Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s (MWR) Auto Skills shop offers a free 30+ point assessment that will tell you everything you need to know before buying or selling a vehicle.   

MOTORCYCLES

If you want to ride a motorcycle while in Italy, you must have a motorcycle classification on your U.S. license, have an AFI license, attend a mandatory motorcycle safety course on the installation and be at least 18 years old. Motorcyclists can only operate a motorcycle of 35 kW or less.

VEHICLE INSPECTION

Each vehicle is required to be inspected periodically depending on its age, in addition to every time the title is transferred. Ensure that your vehicle always has the required equipment at all times, not just for its inspection.

Required equipment for inspection:

  • Vehicle registration
  • First-aid kit, warning triangle and reflective vest

REGISTERING YOUR VEHICLE

  • Contact the MVRO for vehicle registration days and times
  • What to bring to register your vehicle:
  • POV registration application
  • AFI driver’s license
  • U.S. driver’s license
  • Military ID
  • Shipping document
  • Proof of ownership
  • PCS orders/DOCPERS MFR (contractors)/ Logistical support letter (DOD civilians)
  • Funds to cover the registration fee and applicable road tax for a second vehicle to include motorcycles
  • Automobile insurance policy

Note: It’s always best to call the Motor Vehicle Registration Office ahead of time to ensure you’re bringing all necessary documents.

FUELING YOUR VEHICLE

Tax-Free Fuel Allowance

  • A NEX-issued fuel card, which acts as a debit card linked to your personal credit card, allows U.S. and NATO forces to pay for fuel at the current tax-free price at the time of purchase.
  • The vehicle's engine size, engine base, horsepower and fuel requirement determine the monthly fuel allowance.
  • The NEX administers the fuel card program. You must maintain your insurance, registration, safety inspection and road taxes to continue to receive your allowance.
  • If any one of these parameters are not kept current for any of your household’s vehicles, you will need to correct the issue and register for a new fuel card.

Where to get gas

  • There are no gas stations on U.S. military installations in Italy.
  • Only two Italian gas station companies will accept your fuel card: AGIP and ENI. Across Italy, there are over 4,000 locations and many near NAS Sigonella.
  • Use your fuel card like a debit card at the pump. It is recommended to pre-authorize your card before filling up to ensure your fuel card will be accepted.
  • At some stations, attendants will operate the card machines.
  • Fill up at “Fai da te” or “Iperself” pumps to avoid paying extra for full service.

DRIVING OUTSIDE OF ITALY

Many countries will not recognize a U.S. or AFI driver’s license. You will need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) at least four weeks before traveling outside of Italy. You can apply by mail or in-person at AAA or the AATA, which are the 2 agencies authorized by the State Department to issue IDPs.

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