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If you are traveling, moving or returning to Italy from the USA, there are certain requirements when it comes to bringing your car with you. General requirements apply, as they do for most European countries, but there are still some country-specific rules and regulations. Let’s take a look at the overview of importing a car to Italy.

General requirements

To be able to import your car to a European country, you are generally required to provide the following:

– car title with no liens
– your name clearly stated on the front of the title as the registered owner (in case you have purchased the car new)
– Buyer and Seller signatures on the back of the title in case the car was previously owned by someone else.

NOTE: For safety reasons, you are not allowed to have more than a ¼ tank of gas in your car.

Import information specific for Italy

If you are an Italian citizen, you can import your car from the USA customs duty-free if you have owned the car more than one (1) year. The same applies to VAT. Otherwise, you would have to pay 11% of the car’s value as customs duty and 20% VAT.

You can also qualify for a duty-free import if you are an Italian citizen returning to Italy after spending more than 18 months away.
As for non-Italian citizens, it is possible to import one car duty-free, as long as they provide the Certificate of Origin as proof they have owned and used the car for a minimum of one year.
If you are a tourist visiting Italy and returning to the origin country, the import tax is 30%. This tax is refunded when the vehicle is shipped back to the USA, that is, the origin country in this case.
If Italy is not your final destination country but your car is shipped to an Italian port, the tax you will be charged is 30% of the value of the car. Again, this tax will be refunded when you register the vehicle in your destination country.

Additional restrictions

If you are planning to import your car to Italy, you should know that it’s easier to import an older car than it is to import a new one. Also, there are several restrictions regarding the import of motor vehicles whose engine size is larger than 2000cc.

RoRo shipping

RoRo (Roll-on/Roll-off) shipping is one of the most popular shipping methods for shipping cars from the USA. There are various reasons for this. Firstly, it’s considered extremely cost-efficient, being more affordable than container shipping. Also, it’s very reliable because it provides a fixed schedule for departures and arrivals. This is especially important if Italy is not your destination country, yet you chose it as the country where the car will be imported from the USA.

Protection against damage or loss

It’s advisable to purchase Marine Insurance to have extra protection in case of any damage or potential loss. Regardless of the reliability of your chosen shipping company, obtaining Marine Insurance gives you peace of mind.

Have any questions about car shipping and import to Italy? Contact Ship Overseas and get well-informed guidelines and a free quote!

Important info to Ship a Car Overseas:
  • No car can leave USA if it has a lien on it. What does this mean? Your car must be paid in full. The only people who can ship a car overseas and still carry a lien on the car are US Military and Government employees/contractors. For those people a letter of authorization from the lender will need to be issued to pass US Customs. Otherwise the car may be considered stolen.
  • A clear Title of Ownership with no Liens on the Title.
  • If you bought a car new, then your name must be listed on the front of the Title as the registered owner.
  • If the vehicle has been sold, then both the Seller and Buyer have to sign the back of the Title in the spaces as detailed on the back of the Title.
  • For safety reasons, the vehicle cannot have more than a ¼ tank of gas.
Import Duty for Destination Country:
  • Import duty is NOT collected by Ship Overseas. It must be paid at the arrival port by whoever is picking up the car. We wrote a blog post about vehicle import duty here. It talks about how to find out import duty for your country.
Travel & Living Abroad:
  • Most countries will allow a traveler to temporarily import their car for up to 6 months. After the 6 months is up, import duty will be charged. For many travelers going to Europe and taking their car, a deposit is paid up front. When the car goes back to it's destination country, the deposit is refunded. If a person has lived in USA for 1 or more years, most countries will allow that person to bring their car back duty free! The car must not have any liens on it. Please check with your Customs Department first.
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