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How to Import a Car to Portugal

When planning your move to Portugal, the question of how to bring your car to the country is certainly on your mind. In this article, we give you recommendations on how to make this process easier on yourself, plus specific requirements for different types of cars and the different taxes and fees you have to pay when you import a car to Portugal.

Import your Vehicle to Portugal

Import your vehicle to Portugal – hassle-free and fast. We offer support for everything you need, from securing the right insurances to navigating the smooth importation of your vehicle.

EU vs International Car Imports 

Since Brexit was made official, UK car imports have 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, 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.

How to Import a Car to Portugal 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.

Importing a car from overseas can be a daunting experience but, if you know who to contact, like Pearls of Portugal, it is quite straightforward. A fair amount of paperwork is involved but our trusted partners will take of all bureaucracy for you. As long as all registrations are made and taxation fees paid, it will be fine and quick. 

How much does it cost to import a car to Portugal from the USA?

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.

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Bringing a car to Portugal – 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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22 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.

  2. Getting clarification: Shipping my car 8 month old car from US to Portugal. Will I still pay ISV? How long can I drive it before it must be registered in Portugal?

    1. Hi Barbara! You’ll need to pay ISV when you get a Portuguese license plate. After your car gets to Portugal, you have 2 months to get it registered. Thank you!

  3. Hi am planning to drive over from the Uk around
    May is there people who can register the car and complete all the paperwork without getting
    Overcharged regards

    1. Hi!
      In order to not overpay, the best thing you can do is get all the paperwork done yourself. It may seem like a lot, but you can get it all done at the same place (IMT).
      You can submit a contact form to get further help from us. Good luck!

      1. Hi there
        I am thinking to take my Audi 3.2 convertible,07 plate.
        What I have to pay if I decide to register the car in Portugal.
        Thanks Rafael

        1. Hi!
          You will need to pay ISV when you get it registered, IUC annually and IVA if the car isn’t at least 6 months old or has less than 6000 kilometres. The website is in Portuguese but you can calculate the ISV here: https://impostosobreveiculos.info/isv/simulador-isv/. There is also the cost of registration, the insurance (we also have a article on that) and maintenance (car inspections). Good luck!

  4. I have a Toyota Hilux invisible x 2019 2.4 how much would that cost in total to import to Portugal

  5. Hi, I am looking to purchase a second car in the next few days and drive to down to portugal. I am moving to portugal to live there permanently. What is the best way to do this to afford paying high taxes? Can I wait 6 months until I register in portugal so I dont have to pay VAT?

    1. Hi,
      Yes, you can drive your car freely for 6 months in Portugal if you’re driving it down to the country yourself. The total amount of the taxes you’ll have to pay depends a lot on the characteristics of your car, though. But you won’t need to pay VAT if, by the moment you legalize it, your car is older than 6 months and has more than 6.000km on it (which it most likely will) so that’s something! Good luck

      1. Thanks for your reply! Would I still have to register the car with the Portuguese authorities when I enter Portugal? Thanks!

        1. A foreign car can be on the road in Portugal for 6 months without any need to register it! You only need to get it registered right away if you’re officially shipping it or you need to get car insurance here, for example.

  6. Hi,

    I am wondering what is the time gap to import the car without a tax? I read it is 10 years since you are a resident. Is that so?

    Thank you for your help

    1. Hello!
      Importing a car always has taxes associated, for everyone. You will need to pay ISV when you register it, IUC annually and IVA if the car isn’t at least 6 months old or has less than 6000 kilometres. Thank you!

  7. Hello,

    I would like to buy a used car from a dealer in the Netherlands to my own country Portugal. Do I have to pay VAT? Is the VAT rule different from individual use and business use? Can I resell it in Portugal in the future?

    1. Hello,
      Yes, you always need to pay VAT – individual or business use doesn’t make a difference.
      As long as you get it registered properly, you can resell it in the future, yes.
      Thank you!

  8. Hi,
    I’m planning to drive my car down with me from the UK to Portugal in May 2024 as part of my permanent relocation to Portugal. I bought the car in the UK in December 2023, but for tax reasons, I also became a tax resident in December 2023 (although I haven’t physically moved to Portugal yet).
    Do I understand this correctly that as long as I don’t “legalize” the car in Portugal with tax authorities until July 2024, I don’t have to pay VAT (but still need to pay ISV)? I thought the guidance said you had to own the car outside of Portugal for more than 6 months?
    The car is over 6 months old and has done more than 6,000km.
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Mike,
      Cars imported from outside the EU always need to pay VAT when being registered in Portugal.
      Thank you!

  9. Hi there,
    Is it worth importing a Tesla from the US, or better buy one in Portugal? Are there special rules for electric cars? Does the age of the car has limits on the import, like certain countries do not allow importing cars older than five years?

    Thanks!

    1. It is definitely cheaper to buy a Tesla in Portugal or at least Europe, unless you’re looking at a specific model that’s not available here. There are no age limits on imports! Plus, electric cars pay less taxes – you’re exempt from IUC and ISV.
      Thank you!

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