Getting the title

You may ask “What? Don’t I already have the title the day that I get my license plates?” That’s what I thought too.

Unlike the process in the U. S., where you get all vehicle related documents from one office – the DMV, in Italy there is yet another layer of bureaucracy that you need to prepare psychologically and financially because getting the title or certificate of ownership can cost even more than the registration process.

From the time they issue you a permanent registration document. You have about sixty days to go to another office called the Pubblico Registro Automobilistico (Public Automobile Registry), or simply PRA as many Italians refer to it. The PRA’s function is to issue titles and collect taxes for the most part. In order to obtain your title, you need to bring various documents and pay once for the title fee (or ownership transfer – yes, you have to pay such fee even if you are transferring to yourself), and another time for the annual road tax or registration tax, however you prefer to see it.

Documents needed:

  • Carta di circolazione (registration card) and a photocopy
  • A copy of your permesso di soggiorno (resident’s permit)
  • A form TT2119
  • Declaration of ownership with authentication of your signature, for a car that was previously owned outside the country.

The various fees paid to the PRA depend on the province you are. The total could vary from 100 to several hundred euros.

Although required, the last document of declaration of ownership is redundant in theory, because when you completed the registration process at the DMV, they already have verified your identification document, your original title from the U. S. (which they kept), and issued you the registration card. To authenticate you once again is a duplicate process and expense is typical of Italian bureaucracy. You can get the declaration of ownership with authentication of your signature at either the comune (the city hall) or from a private notary. The city hall is much cheaper, whereas a private notary cost at least €100. It’s very simple. They just check that the name on the title and your identification match and write a statement saying you are indeed the owner.

At the PRA, they have their own notary, but they are limited to dealing with vehicles with existing title in the European Community.

When you submit all the necessary documents and payment, you can take the Certificato di Proprietario (Certificate of Ownership or title) immediately.

Now you will have all the legal documents you need to circulate your car in Italy! You are finally done with this long and arduous process.

Reminder: There is one more fee to pay, and that is the bollo (stamp duty) which is equivalent to the annual registration tax in the U. S. It is explained in more details in the next section.

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