How to Import a Car to Portugal

All you need to know about how to import a car to Portugal

Wondering how to import a car to Portugal? Or, for that matter, why would anybody want to import a car to Portugal?

We will be looking at these two entirely different but equally important questions briefly below.

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EU vs International Imports 

Since Brexit was made official, UK car imports have applied the same rules as those from non-EU countries. Consequently, the cost of importing a car from the UK to Portugal is now comparable to importing cars from the USA to Portugal or anywhere else.

At least, in terms of car import tax in Portugal and other formalities – shipping costs will (of course) differ significantly based on distance.

If a car is already registered in the EU, it can be registered with the IMT in Portugal and legally driven on public roads.

Importing Cars from Outside the EU 

Every car in Portugal must be registered with the IMT, whether purchased new, used, or imported from another country. If you do not register your vehicle before driving it on public roads, it may be confiscated by the authorities and destroyed.

Importing a car from overseas can be a daunting prospect but can be quite straightforward. However, a fair amount of paperwork is involved, and you must ensure the relevant registration and taxation fees are paid.

Shipping costs vary based on distance and carrier. Car imports from the USA to Portugal start from around €1000, while shipping a car to Portugal from the UK can cost as little as €500.

All cars must be imported through the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira). Along with completing the required paperwork, costs incurred (which vary depending on country of origin) include the following:

  • Vehicle import tax (ISV) – usually a maximum of 10% of the vehicle’s value. 
  • VAT – currently 23% in Portugal 

The ISV is calculated based on the vehicle’s engine cubic capacity and CO2 emissions. To better understand the process and how much you’ll end up paying, check the ISV’s official website.

It is worth noting that ISV is not payable on imports from EFTA countries and that VAT is only payable on new cars or those the owner has owned for less than six months.

If you have already paid VAT on your vehicle in another member state, you can claim it back later.

Documentation and Paperwork

To legally bring a car from a non-EU country to Portugal, you must submit the required documentation and paperwork.

Specifically, the IMT requires the following from most motorists as the bare minimum:

  • A valid form of government-issued ID 
  • Proof of vehicle ownership, such as current registration papers
  • EU Certificate of Conformity or equivalent road standard certificate
  • Vehicle inspection certificate if the car is over four years old
  • Agreement to undergo IPO test in Portugal
  • Vehicle Customs Certificate (Declaração Aduaneira de Veículo – DAV)
  • Completed IMT form

The quickest and easiest way to get the paperwork in order is to open an account with the Portuguese authorities and complete the forms online. However, all forms (and corresponding guidelines) are currently published in Portuguese only.

Upon its arrival in Portugal, your vehicle will need to be formally registered within 60 days – irrespective of whether or not you use it during this time.

Motoring Costs in Portugal

Portugal is far from the most expensive place to drive a car in the EU, and can be a pleasant place to take to the roads.

A very basic overview of typical motoring costs in Portugal (excluding import fees and taxes) is as follows:

  • Registration Fee – charged at around €55-€65, with a 15% discount for registering online.
  • Taxes – vehicle tax (Imposto Sobre Veículos – ISV) is payable on all new car purchases and foreign car imports, calculated based on the type of vehicle and its CO2 emissions.
  • Car insurance – annual motor insurance premiums are priced similar to those of other EU countries – anything from €200 to €1000 per year, depending on the car you drive.
  • Maintenance – IPO inspections cost around €30, which must be performed when a car reaches four years old, every two years for cars between four and eight years old, and every year for cars over eight years old.
  • Fuel Prices – petrol and diesel are not particularly cheap in Portugal, though they tend to be less expensive than in the UK.
  • For more information on car imports to Portugal and associated fees, head to the official government online portal.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi, how long can I drive my UK car on Portugal before I have to register with portugese motor authority? Regards Bert.

    1. Hi Bert!
      You can drive your UK car in Portugal for 6 months before having to legalize it.

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