The New Rules for Cars with Foreign License Plates

The Legislature has again amended the Highway Code, through Law No. 238 of December 23, 2021, which regulates the rules on the circulation in Italy of vehicles registered abroad, replacing in full the 2018 reform introduced with the Security Decrees.

The old legislation

The Decree-Law of 2018 had already introduced a severe limitation to vehicles circulating in our territory with foreign license plates. Art. 93 of the Highway Code, limited to sixty days the maximum time to re-register the vehicle in Italy, with the main objective to flush out those who used the foreign license plate for tax advantages (for example, not paying the car tax stamp) or to avoid taking out an insurance policy with Italian premiums. Law 238/2021 has eliminated the directives of the old Article, introducing Art.93-bis and modifying others, such as 94, 132, and 196.

What does Art.93-bis provide for?

Paragraph 1 establishes that cars, motorcycles, and trailers registered abroad and owned by individuals having residency in Italy, may circulate on condition that, within a maximum of three months (and no longer sixty days as previously required) from the date of obtaining residency, they have to register their vehicles with Italian plates.

Paragraph 2 provides that a vehicle with a foreign plate, driven by an individual with residence in Italy but who is not the owner , must always carry  onboard a document, signed by the owner, containing a clear description of  the title  (of ownership?) and the duration of the availability of the vehicle in the hands of the driver.

Paragraph 3 refers to frontier workers, specifying that if they circulate with a vehicle registered in the country where they work, they are required to register it with the Foreign Vehicle Register (REVE) within sixty days of purchasing the vehicle.

There are also some exceptions, such as for citizens residing in Campione d’Italia, civilian and military personnel employed by PAs abroad, or personnel of the armed forces or law and order on duty at military bases.

What are the sanctions?

If the new provisions are not observed, there are fines ranging from 400 to 1600 euros and the withdrawal of the vehicle registration document.

In addition, for those who fail to comply with paragraph 2 (lack of the document on board) the fines range from 200 to 1000 euros.

Starting from March 21, 2022, therefore, all cars with foreign license plates circulating in Italy have to be registered at REVE, with the hope of eliminating altogether the phenomenon to avoid paying taxes and insurance in Italy.