Can You Buy A Car In Italy If You Don't Reside there?

In Italy, the Land of Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and of course... Fiat, you would think just about anyone in the world should easily be able to buy and own a car. But not so fast; the law in Italy is very restrictive regarding car ownership by non-residents. Let’s find out more: 

If you are a US citizen only and you do not officially reside in Italy, you cannot purchase and own a car. There is no way around it. Paradoxically, as a US citizen, you are allowed to own a home or even a business in Italy, but… not a car. So, to purchase a car in Italy and drive with an Italian registration you must be a full-time Italian resident.

How To Buy A Car In Italy

The following are the documents that you will be required to present to the car dealership who will also take care of the registration of the vehicle with the Traffic Control Authority (Motorizzazione Civile) as well as for the registration of the sale of the car with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (Pubblico Registro Automobilistico) operated by the Italian Automobile Club (Automobile Club d’Italia):

  1. Residency certificate (Certificato di Residenza)
  2. Italian Tax code (Codice Fiscale)
  3. Valid Photo ID (Passport)
  4. Proof of car insurance (Minimum third-party liability

NOTE: To become a permanent resident in Italy, you will need to apply for a VISA, and have a place to live (either renting or owning a home or apartment); the local Police officer (or Vigile) will visit your residence to confirm that you are living there. Taking permanent residency will have fiscal consequences and for more information we suggest you contact an accountant with experience in global taxation. 

(Best for last…) If you are an Italian citizen residing abroad and registered with the AIRE (Italian Registry of Italian Citizens residing abroad), there is light at the end of the tunnel: Yes, you can buy and own a vehicle!  But there is a catch, you have to elect your “domicile” in Italy. The domicile in Italy and the AIRE registration will be indicated on the registration certificate and the “title” certificate.

Registering your domicile in Italy is not difficult; assuming you own or rent a place, you will be able to show an address. You will go to the Town Hall and declare that you elect your domicile at that address; a sort of “self-certification” will be recorded by the Anagrafe office of the Italian Comune.  

What Documents Are Required To Buy A Car In Italy?

The following are the documents that you are required to provide to the car dealership: 

  1. AIRE Certification which can be requested with the town hall in Italy where you last resided before moving abroad or where your birth was recorded if you received Italian citizenship by descent. NOTE: Any Comune (town hall) in Italy can issue this AIRE certification pulled from the “Anagrafe Nazionale”, or the National Census of the Italian population. 
  2. Domicile Registration
  3. Italian Tax code (Codice Fiscale)
  4. Valid Photo ID (Passport)
  5. Proof of car insurance (at minimum you need to show third-party liability)

NOTE: Not all Italian car dealerships are willing to sell a car to an Italian citizen residing abroad. You may have to search multiple car dealers in your area until you find the one who has the car you like and agrees to sell it to you. 

How to buy a car in Italy

How Much Does This Process Of Buying, Owning, And Insuring A Car Cost?

The answer is: it depends!

The price of a car is based on the brand name and model you will be choosing and whether it is used or new: a Fiat Panda will most likely cost less than a Maserati…

The cost of the registration of the vehicle with the Traffic Control Authority as well as the registration of the sale of the car with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (or the transfer of ownership if you buy a used car or a car with “zero kilometers”) is around Euro 400
The cost of insuring your car in Italy is based on multiple factors: 

  • The type of car you are insuring
  • Where you live (big city vs a smaller town)
  • The amount you want to cover for Physical Damage (including Theft, Vandalism, etc.)
  • Third-Party Liability protection
  • Driving history (this may play a bigger role than you think – if you are buying a car in Italy for the first time with a foreign driver’s license, regardless of your age, expect to be considered a “beginner” driver, which will result in a higher premium)

Overall, the insurance premium in Italy is cheaper than in the US.

We always mention that you don’t have to be an Italian citizen to purchase a home in Italy, but it is quite helpful to be one if you want to own a car there. In the end, it’s much cheaper than renting a car for long periods. 

How Do I Get Started With My Italian Citizenship?

Give us a call! We offer a FREE 30-minute Telephone Consultation for applicants who have questions regarding qualification, required documentation, estimated cost, timelines, and tips on how to make an appointment with an Italian Consulate here in the US (among other questions). We will also perform some free preliminary research to establish if you have a path to Italian Citizenship! Call us at 1-844-741-0848 (Option 1) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET, and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

Alternatively, you can book your FREE consultation at your convenience.

At My Italian Family, we don’t just give advice, we handle all the purchasing and preparation of your entire portfolio of documents, whether you apply at an Italian Consulate here in the US or you apply in Italy (including 1948 Challenge Courts Cases). Our experience spans 20 years, and we have expert knowledge of what each Consulate requires and what the Italian Courts require. TO GET STARTED AND FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE

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