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Italy: Car Import, Registration, Insurance

Driving in Italy can be a very picturesque experience, no matter if you are traveling through the Alps or the beautiful countryside in the south. Getting used to the local driving style, however, is another matter. Our driving guide for expats prepares you for Italian traffic.
A drive through the Italian Alps is beautiful, but also requires your fullest attention to the curvy roads.

Importing Your Car to Italy /Bringing Your Own Ride Along

If you want to bring your own car to Italy from another European country, you have little to worry about in terms of customs regulations. You simply need to register it in Italy in order to get Italian license plates.

Police tend to pull persons with foreign plates over and request registration information. If it turns out that you have legal residence in Italy but have not yet registered your car, your car may be impounded. It is therefore a wise decision to go directly to a registration office and apply for Italian plates.

Importing your car from a non-EU country requires you to pay an import duty and a registration fee. Used cars have a higher import tax, and owners of new vehicles imported into Italy have to pay the standard VAT of 21% (22% from 1 July 2013). If you can prove that you have been the owner of your car for over 12 months, you can import the vehicle duty free.

Vehicle Registration

In order to register your car, you need to prove that you reside legally in Italy and own the car. If your car is used, it needs to pass an inspection before you can get your plates. This should make sure that it complies with Italian safety and technical standards. Basically the following rule applies: if your car is more than six months old and has more than 6,000 kilometers on the mileage counter, it is considered used.

You also have to supply the following documents:

  • proof of cancellation from the traffic control authority in your home country
  • your vehicle registration documents (original, copy, Italian translation)
  • roadworthiness certificate (original, copy, Italian translation)

Car Insurance in Italy

Italy has compulsory civil liability insurance, and it is highly recommended to get a comprehensive vehicle insurance package. Contact the ACI (Automobile Club d’Italia) for information on where and how to apply for insurance as it depends on the region you live in.

Buying a Car in Italy

If bringing your own car to Italy is too inconvenient and expensive for you, buying a car is not a bad alternative. Quattro Ruote is a good website for finding both new and used cars in Italy. The process of buying a car will be similar to almost any other country. Be aware that things are greatly simplified if you have legal residence in Italy before purchasing a vehicle.


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