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Customs and Import Duties

Italy - Customs and Import Duties

Expats moving to Italy can choose to ship their household possessions, furnishings or even a vehicle to this country; however, there are a few regulations that first need to be taken into account. Apart from the actual cost of transporting the items, people sometimes end up paying a significant amount of money to the customs authorities, because of inadequate knowledge or paperwork.

Import duties and taxes are levied by the Italian government on goods that are brought in from outside the EU. The amount payable is calculated on the CIF (value of the goods + insurance + freight).

Import duty rates in Italy generally range between 0% and 17%, depending upon the item. However, duty isn’t levied if the value of the goods is under €150.00. Common duty-free products include laptops, mobile phones, video games and digital cameras, as long as they are not brand new. Used furniture, linen, kitchen appliances, books, toys, clothes, accessories and other personal possession items rarely attract import duties. On the other hand, certain products are subject to additional duties because of their country of manufacture. For example, a bicycle that is made in China carries an extra 48.5% anti dumping duty.

The standard Value Added Tax (VAT) on most items is 22% of the value, plus the shipping cost and insurance. Some items also attract an excise duty. Additional customs fees may be levied on imported goods that need to be examined, verified or tested.

The import procedures are subject to a written declaration. Some of the basic documents required by Italian authorities for the import of household goods and personal effects include passport copies, original bill of lading or airway bill, packing list in English or Italian, list of contents (in Italian), copy of the tax code number and the original consular declaration. In case of artwork, antiques or jewelry, 2 photographs of each item should be present, preferably along with insurance appraisal details.

Travelers should prepare separate lists of items they are carrying with them and the goods that will be shipped later on. Any item that isn’t on these lists will definitely incur import duties. If all the documents are in order and have been verified before the arrival of the shipment, the customer is not required to be present for the customs clearance.

There are restrictions on the amount of alcohol and tobacco an individual can carry into the country. If purchased within the EU, passengers can carry up to 800 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars and 1 kg of smoking tobacco as well as 10 liters of spirits over 22%, 20 liters of alcohol that is less than 22%, 90 liters of regular wine or 60 liters of sparkling wine and 110 liters of beer. Passengers who are traveling from outside the EU can bring in no more than 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco, along with 1 liter of spirit over 22%, 2 liters of alcohol below 22%, 4 liters of wine and 16 liters of beer. However, alcohol and tobacco can only be carried into Italy for personal consumption. Italian customs may seize these items if they believe that these products will be used for commercial purposes.

Prohibited items like firearms, ammunition, weapons, pornographic material, narcotics, drugs, animal skin, plants, vegetables, meat and dairy products cannot be brought into the country, without special permission.

It is best to avoid taking a brand new car or bike to Italy as the import duties will be quite high. However, non-Italians can import one vehicle duty free, as long as they obtain a Certificate of Origin, which proves that they have been the owner of the auto for at least a year. However, there are restrictions on autos over 2,000cc. Any vehicle that is brought into the country duty free cannot be sold for at least a year. The documents needed to import a car into Italy include ownership title, registration card, manufacturer’s details and valid insurance onto national territory. It is important to submit the original documents in all cases; attested copies aren’t accepted by the authorities.

Pet owners are allowed to take dogs, cats and birds into Italy with them. However, dogs and cats are subject to Regulation (EC) No. 998/2003 and birds to Decision (EC) No. 25/2007. Pet owners also need to present a Certificate of Origin, a Certificate of Health and the import license for pets.

The use of import agents is not common in Italy. Expats moving to this country therefore deal with all the red tape and paperwork themselves.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.