Let’s start with a clarification:
- Foreigner means a citizen of a foreign State in possession of citizenship different from that of the Italian State.
- Foreign State means a State other than Italy belonging to the European Union or outside the EU (including the USA, Australia, Russia, etc.).
Given this premise, the Highway Code which regulates the circulation of vehicles in Italy, provides that only those who have residence in an Italian municipality, have that they can buy a new or used vehicle in Italy.
Furthermore, the recent Salvini Decree on Safety prohibits the circulation on the territory of the Italian State of cars with foreign license plate. In particular, the decree to the Art. 132 of the C.d.S, states that the vehicle registered abroad can circulate in Italy for a maximum of one year. Once this deadline has expired, if the vehicle is not registered in Italy, the holder can ask the competent motoring office for a warrant to leave the national territory. If the vehicle circulates beyond the foreseen year, the pecuniary sanction is increased, the vehicle is seized and, unless nationalization or export is provided, it is confiscated within 180 days.
Restrictions affect non-EU foreigners or EU citizens who want to buy a car in Italy.
Who can buy a car in Italy.
- The Italian citizen residing in Italy can buy and therefore be the owner and register a car.
- An Italian citizen residing abroad and registered with the AIRE can only buy a car and register it in the Public Motor Registry if he is domiciled in Italy. In these cases, the domicile in Italy and the AIRE registration will be indicated on the registration certificate and on the ownership certificate.
The situation of foreigners who want to buy a car in Italy.
Why should a foreigner buy a car in Italy? The application relates to all those cases of EU citizens who have property or who have business relations or legitimate interests in Italy; who have a residence abroad and would like to own a car to keep and use during their stay in Italy (paradoxically, it is possible to own a property in Italy but it is not possible to own a car if you are not a member of the registers of an Italian municipality).
- Citizen of a European Union State other than Italy, residing in an EU country other than Italy. The code of the road is absolute. The EU citizen who is not resident in Italy cannot name a vehicle with an Italian license plate. The only alternative is to register the car with an EE license (foreign excursionists). However, EE plates allow registration only for one year. Furthermore, we have already written that the Salvini decree on safety allows a vehicle with foreign registration to circulate in Italy for only one year. After a year, a sanction is provided and, subsequently, the car seizure and confiscation.
- A citizen of a non-EU country. In these cases, the residence permit comes into play. If the non-EU citizen is in possession of the residence card, he is also a resident and registered in the registry of an Italian municipality. In this case he can buy and register a vehicle in Italy, even if he is not in possession of the citizenship.
- Non-EU citizen not resident in Italy. In this case, if the non-EU citizen is in possession of an entry visa to Italy he could buy and call a car, only by registering the vehicle with the EE plate valid for one year.
Damiani & Damiani law firm is expert in immigration law, asset management abroad and in Italy, international awards. Ask for legal assistance online