Which land and motor vehicle can circulate in Italy?

Vehicles and motor vehicles are allowed to circulate in Italy with a registration and matriculation card issued by the Italian Department for land conveyance (Art. 93, Italian Highway Code).
The registration card indicates the information about the motor vehicle and the personal details of the owner.
The matriculation is the procedure through which a vehicle is registered at the Department of Motor Vehicles (Motorizzazione Civile), an Office of the Minister of Infrastructures and Transports, with which a unique license plate is assigned to the vehicle.

Who can buy a car or a motor vehicle in Italy?

Art. 134 of the Italian Highway Code considers the possibility of obtaining a license plate and the ordinary registration card on a vehicle only for those who are residents in Italy. Please note that being resident in Italy means being registered in the registers of the population (Italian or foreign) who live in Italy for most of the year, or in any case have most of their personal interests in Italy.

Specific rules apply to those who do not reside in Italy, owing to the EU or extra-EU nationality.

Besides the event of the Italian citizen residing in Italy, we can distinguish four different recurring particular cases:

Italian citizen residing abroad

Italian citizens residing abroad can buy a vehicle in Italy, but two conditions must be met:

  1. They must be regularly registered in the AIRE (Register of Italians Resident Abroad));
  2. They must indicate a domicile in Italy.

This information is important as it is indicated on the certificate of ownership of the vehicle.

EU citizen non-residing in Italy

An EU citizen not residing in Italy, who is interested in purchasing a vehicle in Italy, is not allowed to register a car under their name with a license plate, but can apply for matriculation with an EE (Foreign Visitors) license plate that allows for circulation along 12 months in Italy.
An explanation of the aforementioned license plate and the rules in force are explained below.

Foreign citizen with non-EU nationality residing in Italy

A foreign citizen in Italy with a regular residence permit is allowed to purchase a vehicle, which can be properly registered and matriculated.

Foreign citizen with non-EU nationality non-residing in Italy

In this case, the same rules apply to EU citizens who are not residents in Italy, so the non-resident foreigner will be able to buy and matriculate the car with an EE license plate, and then export it. In this case, an entry visa is required.

Who can apply for the EE License Plate?

As stated by Article 134 of the Italian Highway Code, the foreigner interested in temporarily importing a vehicle owned abroad, or in exporting a brand-new vehicle purchased in Italy, can ask for the matriculation with an EE license plate that allows the vehicle to circulate on the Italian territory for 12 months.

The documents required for the issuance of the EE license plate are:

  • TT 2119 Model, duly filled and signed;
  • Original Certificate of Conformity with a €16 duty stamp and a copy thereof;
  • Original invoice and copy thereof;
  • Valid Passport or ID Card and copy thereof;
  • Copy of the Fiscal Code.

In the event of citizens residing in an EU country the consular statement or the self-declaration is needed, where the residence abroad and the Italian domicile are declared.

In the event of Italian citizens, the A.I.R.E. self-declaration is required, stating residence abroad and an Italian domicile.

For the citizens residing in a non-EU country, a customs import bill must be presented, proving customs clearing, a copy thereof, and a consular statement in which the person declares residence abroad and a domicile in Italy.

Can you circulate in Italy with a foreign driving license?

On this topic, we invite you to read another related article published on our Italian Visa website.

Time frame

On average, buying a vehicle in Italy would require a foreign citizen for a couple of week.