Driving For Members

EXPLAINED: How to import your car or motorbike to Italy

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How to import your car or motorbike to Italy
A guide to what you need to know about bringing your car or motorbike to Italy. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

If you want to bring your own wheels when you move to Italy, you'll need to register your vehicle and swap your licence plates. We break down the latest rules and what you need to do to keep your car or motorbike on the road.


The most recent rule changes on importing foreign vehicles spell good news for those wanting to bring their car or motorbike to Italy.

Until 2022, the Italian Highway Code prohibited residents in Italy from driving vehicles with foreign number plates for more than 60 days.

Amendments to Italy's road rules have since given drivers more breathing space, requiring you to get Italian licence plates for you vehicle within three months of obtaining your residency in Italy instead of the previous two.

It's important you stick to this longer deadline in any case - if you don't, your vehicle could be impounded and you face fines of up to €400.

It's not straightforward, as is true of any bureaucratic process involved with moving to Italy.

"These procedures and formalities can be very long, complex and costly, in particular for non-EU citizens", according to the European University Institute.

If you're still keen to bring your wheels, though, here's what you need to do.

Photo: Christoph Stache/AFP

Residency rules

First things first: it's important to know that in order to be allowed to register and drive your vehicle legally in Italy past the three-month mark, you will need to be registered legally yourself.

And once you're registered as an Italian resident, you'll also probably need to swap your existing driving licence for an Italian one, depending on which country you're coming from.

See more information about driving licence exchange rules at the bottom of this article.


Once your residency paperwork is in order and you know your driving licence is valid, here's what you need to do next:

Getting going

Your car needs to be registered with the Motor Vehicles Office (Ufficio Motorizzazione Civile) and the Public Vehicle Registry (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico or PRA).

The ‘uffici della motorizzazione civile’ are agencies of the Italian Ministry of Transport, and there’s usually at least one in every town. You can find a list of them on the Ministry of Transport website.

You have to be a legal resident already to do this, so you'll need your residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), or if you're an EU citizen, proof of residence (certificato di residenza). You'll also need to show an Italian tax code (codice fiscale).

There is no need currently for British nationals who obtained residency before Brexit to have their new biometric residency card, or carta di soggiorno, to complete this process.


Vehicles coming from non-EU countries

To start, you'll need to tell the licensing authorities in your home country that you won't be using the car there anymore. For British nationals, for example, you have to inform the DVLA that you're taking the vehicle out of the UK for 12 months or more - this is known as permanent export. More details can be found here.

READ MORE: ‘Expect the unexpected’: What you need to know about driving in Italy

Following this, you'll need to prove that your car is roadworthy. Ask for a technical inspection certificate, signed and stamped by the manufacturer or an accredited distributor - and translated into Italian. If it all looks in top shape and meets the Italian road standards, you'll receive a certificate of conformity - certificato di conformità.

There are reports of this documentation taking months to arrive, so plan way ahead before your move to Italy.

Photo: Vincenzo PINTO / AFP












The paperwork you need to register your vehicle in Italy

With these documents in hand, you then need to go to your local Motorizzazione Civile Office. You'll be asked to provide the following, according to the Automobile Club d'Italia (in English):

  • Ownership certificate
  • Certificate of cancellation of registration in the country of origin
  • Application for registration (domanda di immatricolazione) form TT2119
  • Personal ID: if it's in a foreign language, you need to get it translated into Italian (unless an exemption is applicable under international laws or agreements)
  • Proof of residency - unless residence is already shown in your ID document
  • NP2D form for registration with the PRA, available at Motor Vehicles Offices or here
  • Photocopy of the registration certificate issued in Italy.


Once the paperwork is checked, the next step is to receive your Italian licence plates (targhe) and a carta di circolazione (registration certificate), which you should carry with you at all times.

There are also taxes due for registration and entry in the PRA of an imported vehicle called Provincial Transcription Tax. This varies depending on the type of vehicle and your province of residence.

Then, within three months you need to enter your vehicle into the public registry, maintained by the Automobile Club d'Italia (ACI).

What you need to do if you're coming from an EU country

For cars coming from the EU or from a European Economic Area country (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), you can use the ACI's Sportelli Telematici dell'Automobilista (STA) service.

This is a one-stop shop for registering your vehicle and getting hold of Italian licence plates. The crucial thing to remember here is: where was your car registered before bringing it to Italy?

It doesn't matter where you've come from or what nationality you are. What counts is the country of registration for the vehicle.

Regardless of whether you come from a member state or a non-EU country, you must register your vehicle and get Italian licence plates. The authorities could issue you with penalties and take your car off the road if you don't.

Once you're all set with your new documentation and licence plates, to ensure you're driving legally in Italy, you'll need to pay the compulsory road tax (bollo) and arrange car insurance (assicurazione auto) that comprises third-party liability (responsabilità civile).

It's worth noting that there are road tax reductions for older vehicles registered as 'classic' - to calculate how much you'd have to pay on your car or bike, check Italy's Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate) website here (in Italian).

Maintaining its roadworthiness is also one to watch out for. After your car is more than four years old, you must visit a mechanic every two years for a mandatory road worthiness test (revisione).

New and used vehicles

If this seems daunting and more than you are willing to go through, you could sell your car or bike in your home country and buy a vehicle in Italy. In that way, a dealer helps you through the paperwork and saves you the headache.

If you want to stick to importing, you can bring over both new or used cars from abroad. New cars and bikes include those that have clocked up less than 6,000 km or have been sold within six months of first registration.

On the other hand, a registered vehicle that has already covered more than 6,000 km and that is sold after a period of six months from the date of registration is considered to be used.

Further information on bringing your car to Italy can be found on the Automobile Club d'Italia site (in Italian).


Can I keep my current driving licence or do I need an Italian one?

If you're a legal resident in Italy (and you will need to be in order to register your vehicle here, as explained above) you have one year from the date of registering as a resident to obtain an Italian driving license.

If you're coming from outside the EU, you may need to re-sit your driving test to get an Italian driving licence. This applies to most third country nationals, who cannot simply exchange their driving licence for an Italian one.

READ ALSO: Who needs to exchange their driving license for an Italian one?

UK driving licence holders can now swap their licences for an Italian one without having to resit their test in Italian as feared. For now, you can use your UK licence in Italy until December 31st 2023, as long as it was issued before January 1st, 2021.

Italy has driving licence agreements with a small number of non-EU-countries including Switzerland, Brazil and the Philippines: find a full list here. If your licence is from one of these countries, you can swap it for an Italian one without having to retake the test.  

Note that some of the rules and procedures involved in registering your vehicle in Italy can vary depending on which part of the country you're in. For specific guidance, speak to your local Motorizzazione Civile Office.

Read more about the rules and requirements for driving in Italy here.


Comments (2)

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Paul Rivas 2023/09/01 19:04
Hmm, don't bother if your car has over 200bhp as well as super bollo will kill you.
drew_604f521195434 2021/03/18 18:42
Italy allows the conversion of licenses from a few non-EU nations, such as the Philippines.

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