Car registrations in Italy
On 4 December 2018, in Italy, a new law entered into force. This law states that every person permanently residing in Italy for more than 60 days and using a vehicle with foreign licence plates must register the vehicle in Italy and change the licence plates into Italian ones.
The reason for its implementation was the fact that many people had been using vehicles with foreign licence plates. When they were fined and were not able to pay it directly on the spot, it was impossible for the state to recover it as the cross-border recovery of fines is not possible.
These practises were popular especially among entrepreneurs who have officially registered their company outside of Italy in order to benefit from tax reductions. However, they were running a business in Italy while using a vehicle with foreign licence plates.
Why register a vehicle in Italy?
Registration of a foreign vehicle might seem convenient especially from a financial point of view. However, it depends on various aspects, e.g. whether the vehicle is new or has been previously used (directly relating to the vehicle price and tax payment in Italy), whether the purchase is intermediated by an agency, etc. By taking these aspects into account, we can save some money.
In order for the registration to run smoothly and avoid complications, we should always think about the purchase in advance and always be vigilant.
What to keep in mind while purchasing a vehicle
Before the purchase:
The most important thing is to set up a budget. Elements to be taken into account are the purchase, maintenance, vehicle insurance and administrative charge for issue of a vehicle registration certificate.
It is advised to define a list of criteria such as: the type of the vehicle, make, model, propulsion, colour, equipment and other alternatives.
The country of the first registration of the vehicle needs to be checked as well. Regarding the vehicles imported within the EFTA area, the administration process of registration is not complicated.
For vehicles originating from non-EU countries, the process is slightly different. Further details will be described below.
- Check the condition of the vehicle carefully.
Outside of the vehicle: chassis, varnish, tyre wear, rims, etc.
Inside the vehicle: surfaces, equipment functionality, etc.
Check the under-the-bonnet components: engine block, battery, oil and water level. Check the presence of the homologation label (click here for examples), normally positioned in the engine compartment or vertically from the doorframes (click here for examples). The homologation label is a tool indicating whether the vehicle has been produced for the European market and an EC-type approval number (“e*” click here for an example), which makes the car registration easier.
- Before the purchase, it is recommended to undergo a test run and try acceleration, braking, grip and engine speed.
- Do not forget to check the instrumentation platform and the mileage. In case of any queries, do not hesitate to ask the seller.
- Concerning the vehicle documents, check whether the registration certificate from the seller is complete (e.g. in the case of Germany and Spain, registration certificates are composed of two parts), or whether the vehicle has recently passed a technical inspection or some equivalent of a technical inspection (6 months before at the latest). Check the vehicle maintenance book, insurance and maintenance documents of the vehicle, if possible.
After the purchase:
- Insure your vehicle (the sooner after the purchase the better).
- You will obtain a certificate of de-registration (depending on the country of purchase, e. g. in Germany it is necessary to have a certificate of de-registration in order to register the vehicle in another country).
- Depending on the country of purchase, demand transit licence plates (click here for examples) (this is a necessity in Belgium or Germany, for example).
- In case the vehicle is being transported on a trailer, transit licence plates are not necessary but their price should be included in the budget.
- Register the vehicle in Italy.
Top 10 mistakes when importing a vehicle – other things to keep in mind:
Always think through the purchase of a vehicle. Currently in the era of internet dominance, a few clicks are enough to find the car of your dreams for the price you never dreamed of. “Measure twice, cut once” is a principle to be kept in mind in order to be ready for various situations.
2. Is your vehicle new or previously used?
The important thing is whether the vehicle is brand new or has been used before as it determines what kind of documents will be necessary for the registration. What is the difference?
a new foreign vehicle
- If the vehicle has never been registered before
- It was registered in the country of origin, has mileage totalling less than 6,000 km and was sold within 6 months from the first registration
a previously used foreign vehicle
- Which has a mileage totalling more than 6,000 kilometres and was sold after 6 months after the first registration abroad
3. Basic equipment and country-specific construction of the vehicle
In the case of the car being purchased directly from the seller, check which country the vehicle has been manufactured for.
Some countries are not in compliance with the European norms because the vehicles are constructed according to the norms of the country they were manufactured for.
Thanks to this important detail, you will be fully aware about eventual technical and safety adjustments – this is the case for vehicles imported from the U.S., for example.
4. Tax payments in Italy
In the case of a vehicle marked as new and purchased from an EU country, the tax is paid in the country of import by filling in the form F24 auto (click on its name to download the form).
You are entitled to the tax reimbursement in the case of the taxes being paid in the country of export. In the case of a “new” vehicle, the tax is not included in the price for the vehicle as it is to be paid in the country of import (in this case Italy, with tax amounting to 22%)
Concerning “second-hand” vehicles, the taxes are included in the price for the vehicle are not to be paid again in Italy, but only once in the country of export.
5. A clear sales contract
Having agreed on the purchase of the vehicle, the next step is a sales contract. The sales contract should indicate especially the technical condition of the vehicle, price, equipment and execution time.
If the sales contract is issued in a foreign language, it is advised to have it translated, especially because of the technical terminology. Never sign a document you do not understand!
6. Proper documents – a clear conscience
As mentioned previously, pay attention to the vehicle documents. Incorrect or missing documents can cause inconvenience during the registration process.
Concerning new vehicles, it is also necessary to submit the sales contract – signed and notarised with a stamp together with the Certificate of Conformity (COC).
When purchasing a vehicle on the Internet, do not forget about unexceptional Internet fraud. There have been many cases of stolen cars, fake documents, etc. It is advised to proceed to payment after the verification of the vehicle and authenticity of the documents.
8. Transit fees
These fees are not included in the price of the vehicle and so keep them listed in your budget. The most expensive option is the purchase intermediated by an agency.
Of course, the vehicle can be transferred by another vehicle suitable for these causes. Another alternative is to have it transferred using temporary transit licence plates (click here for example) and insurance for the transit period.
Temporary transit licence plates are plates with a white background containing alphanumerical characters. The validity period of the plates is indicated in the left or right corner. They are usually issued for the period of 60 days; in exceptional cases the validity period might be extended to 180 days. They might be issued either by the District Police Department (Motorizzazione Civile) or via Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI) for a fee of EUR 26, but only in the case of the vehicle being insured by the RCA insurance (insurance against unintentional damage to third parties when using the vehicle).
Imported vehicles must be registered within 30 days, and within the next 60 days registered in the public register.
The quickest option is to visit the STA counter (Sportello Telematico dell’Automobilista) or District Police Department (UMC – Motorizzazione Civile), Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI) or other agencies dealing with car registrations.
10. Guarantee period and service
Concerning new vehicles, the last point to check with the seller is whether one can use the service of one of the official brand representatives in Italy during the warranty period. If so, it is advised to have this fact mentioned on the sales contract.
This is especially important in the case of “second-hand” cars, because the next owner (supposing one is using the professional services) might demand the guarantee services at an official representative without considering charges related to the transfer back to the country of purchase.
If the purchase is concluded between two individuals, there is no chance of benefiting from the guarantee service, but it is worth verifying it with the seller.
Vehicle registrations – how does it work?
If the vehicle is being used in Italy for more than 60 days with foreign licence plates, and the owner is permanently residing in Italy, the vehicle must be registered (or the registration should be in progress) and the licence plates changed within 180 days. If this is not case, the vehicle is detained with imminent penalties for infringements of the law.
Penalties imposed for non-respect of the legal requirements may amount to EUR 7,953.
It is forbidden to use the vehicle during the registration process. Infringements of this provision may result in penalties as well.
In case the purchase of a new car is intermediated by an agency or a professional representative of the make, the registration can be intermediated as well (of course, for an intermediation fee).
If you wish to register your vehicle without the help of intermediation agencies, here is the procedure.
The first step for a successful registration is to visit the District Police Department (UMC – Motorizzazione Civile) within 30 days. In order to get a new registration certificate, bring the following documents.
What documents are needed for the registration at the District Police Department:
- Complete documentation of the vehicle; in case the registration certificate is composed of more parts, you have to bring all of them.
Concerning “new” vehicles, no registration certificate is needed.
- Copy of an ID or another identification document of the buyer.
- Copy of a permit of residence in Italy.
- Vehicle registration form – click here to get the form or download it directly from the ACI webpage. The forms are available at the STA or UMC premises as well.
- If you conclude a purchase contract (including seller’s signature, notarised and with a stamp), it is necessary to submit the NP2D Form available on the ACI webpage or at the STA or UMC premises.
- Declaration of conformity issued by the manufacturer or a European Certificate of Conformity (COC).
- Where the seller is a legal person (a company, an association, etc.), the person must be empowered as such.
- Non-EU citizens must submit a valid residency document or a copy of an expired residency document together with a renewal application. Long-term residency documents are accepted as well.
- In the case of the seller being a non-EU citizen with family relatives who are EU citizens living in Italy, it shall be sufficient to submit a copy of the residency permit of a family member living in the EU, or a copy of the permanent residency permit of family members living in the EU.
Consequently, the vehicle must be registered in the Public Vehicle Register (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico – PRA) within 60 days (from the issuance of the new registration certificate).
Vehicle registration in the Public Vehicle Register (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico – PRA)
The applications must be submitted within the premises of the Automobile Club d’Italia – (PRA – Public Vehicle Register). Here you will obtain an ownership certificate (click here for examples).
Although this document is not necessary for the use of the vehicle, it must be carefully kept by the owner as it might be very important for any future queries at the “PRA” – Public Vehicle Register (change in ownership, export of the vehicle, report of loss, etc.)
The registration of vehicles with foreign licence plates in Italy does not concern you if the vehicle is:
- Leased or being hired to the third parties by a company residing in another EU country or within the EFTA area, with a permanent or temporary seat outside of Italy
- Hired to a person living in Italy for work reasons, or cooperation with a company residing in another EU country or within the EFTA area, with a permanent or temporary seat outside of Italy
In both cases, do not forget that you are obliged to carry vehicle documents signed by the holder and with the date from which the holder is authorised to use the vehicle.
Registering the vehicles originating from the outside of the EU
Applications are not be submitted at the STA counter (Sportello Telematico dell’Automobilista)
The registration process of vehicles originating from outside of the EU and those originating from within the EU is in some ways similar.
Vehicles must be registered at the District Police Department (UMC- Motorizzazione Civile) first, and then it is necessary to pass the technical inspection at the Department of Transport.
In order to get a registration certificate, the vehicle must pass a “revision” (individual vehicle approval) upon the request of the Department of Transport.
During such inspection, the technical condition of the vehicle and its conformity with Italian standards are checked. The waiting period lasts approximately one month.
In the case of the non-conformity to the norms, the vehicle is returned to the owner with specific requirements for its modifications. The vehicle cannot be registered without having passed the required modifications.
Having adjusted the vehicle according to the Italian norms, the District Police Department is obliged to issue new vehicle documents within 30 business days.
Registering the vehicle at the District Police Department (UMC- Motorizzazione Civile)
The application is to be submitted at the District Police Department (Motorizzazione Civile – UMC). Having passed the technical inspection, new licence plates and a registration certificate are issued.
Consequently, the vehicle must be registered in the Public Vehicle Register (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico – PRA).
Regarding the registration, the following documents are to be submitted:
- Ownership certificate or a copy of the purchase contract in the Italian language, either notarised or verified by a competent authority.
- Copy of an ID or other identification document of the buyer.
- Permit of residence in Italy.
- Registration certificate of the vehicle (a foreign one or even an Italian one, if disponible)
- Concerning “new” vehicles, no registration certificate is needed.
- Declaration of conformity by the representative of the make or a certificate of non-conformity.
- NP2D form – the application is available here or directly on the ACI webpage, as well as at the STA counter or within the District Police Department (UMC) premises.
- When the seller is a legal person (a company, an association, etc.), the person must be empowered as such.
- Non-EU citizens must submit a valid residency document or a copy of an expired residency document together with a renewal application. Long-term residency documents are accepted as well.
- In the case of the seller being a non-EU citizen with family relatives, who are EU citizens living in Italy, it is possible to submit a copy of the residence permit of a family member living in the EU, or a copy of the permanent residency permit of family members living in the EU.
Remarks: Requests for appointments are possible to submit only via the Internet at the moment.
Remarks: If the owner of the vehicle is different from the one indicated in the registration certificate, it is necessary to request a deletion from the public register in the country of registration so that the vehicle can then be registered under a new owner in Italy.
Vehicle registration fees
|Regional fee for the change in ownership||Prices may vary according to the district and vehicle|
|Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI) fees||€ 27|
|Stamp fee for the registration at the PRA||€ 32|
|Department of Transport (District Police Department (*) fees||€ 10.20|
|Stamp fee for the issuance of a new registration certificate||€ 32|
|Fee for the issuance of licence plates||Prices may vary according to the type of the vehicle and licence plates|
Payment – where and how?
The means of payment depend on the institution to which the applications are submitted.
- at the STA (Sportello Telematico dell’Automobilista) counter as well as within the premises of the ACI – Automobile Club d’Italia (Public Vehicle Register): where all fees are statutory and which must be paid immediately when applying in cash or by prepaid card (payment by a credit card is impossible);
- at the STA (Sportello Telematico dell’Automobilista) counter, through delegation or a certified professional offering registration services, where all fees must be paid immediately directly when submitting the application at the counter. Costs of intermediation shall be added as well;
- at the STA (Sportello Telematico dell’Automobilista) counter and at the District Police Department (UMC): all fees must be paid first via post to postal accounts created for this purpose. It is necessary to have a proof of payment while submitting the declaration at the counter.
All necessary forms with a pre-filled header are available for free at the District Police Department (UMC).
Any loss, theft or destruction of licence plates must be reported to a competent police department within 48 hours from the incident.
The vehicle must be re-registered again if the licence plates are not found within 15 days from the theft being reported.
Meanwhile, it is possible to drive the vehicle if it is carrying a white plate having the same dimensions as the original licence plate of the car and containing the same numbers.
In order to re-register the vehicle, it is necessary to fill out the TT 2119 form by following the instructions and submit it at the STA (Sportello Telematico dell’Automobilista) counter.
You can obtain the form either at the District Police Department (Motorizzazione Civile – UMC), online, or by clicking on its name in this article.
The application must be appended by:
- A criminal complaint also submitted to the police or a mandate with licence plates (if available) along with registration certificate.
- Two copies of an ID and two copies of a VAT number.
- Company registration number (if the application is submitted by a company).
- Evidence of payment of applicable fees (District Police Department – UMC, postal institutions).
- Evidence of payment of EUR 10.20 to the account no. 9001; stamps fees to the account no. 9001, paid via postal institutions, relating to the costs of processing the application at the District Police Department.
- Evidence of payment of EUR 32 to the account no. 4028.
- Evidence of payment of EUR 59 (if the pre-filled form with the account number has been used), or a sales slip (if the blank form has been used) to the account no. 25202003, belonging to Automobile Club d’Italia, Economato Generale – Servizio di Tesoreria, Via Marsala 8, 00185 Roma.
- Evidence of payment to the account no. 121012 (use only their proper pre-filled form).
Other things to keep in mind:
- If the vehicle has been registered in an EU country, it must be deregistered from the country of origin.
- If foreign cars are to be registered under an enterprise or an individual company, it is necessary to report is as a capital asset to the tax authorities.
- Taxes are paid in Italy if the vehicle has been purchased by a car dealer, is not older than 6 months, and has mileage totalling less than 6,000 kilometres (see F24 auto form – the form is available by clicking on it).
- Concerning foreign vehicles already owned by a person, who is applying for a registration in Italy, in addition to the declaration, a certified declaration of ownership and a stamp of EUR 16 are to be submitted.
- The Certificate of Conformity (COC) replaces a registration certificate in the case of those vehicles that have never been previously registered.
- For vehicles originating from a non-EU country, all documents necessary for the entry of the vehicle into service must be notarised and bear a customs stamp proving that all the procedural requirements have been properly carried out.
- The exception being Swiss vehicles – when registering a Swiss vehicles in Italy, their emissions must be in accordance with Italian standards.
- If the validity of the technical inspection has expired, a mandate must be filled out stating that the owner of the vehicle is fully aware of this fact and shall soon recourse to the competent authority to carry out the vehicle inspection.