Importation of motor vehicles into Portugal

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Every effort is made to ensure that the information given herein is accurate, but no legal responsibility is accepted for any errors, omissions or misleading statements in that information caused by negligence or otherwise.

Temporary Admission of Motor Vehicles

An EU-registered motor vehicle (including light goods vehicles, trailers, caravans, motor-homes and motorcycles) may be kept in Portugal for a continuous period of up to 180 days in any one calendar year, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The vehicle is registered in the name of a person who is not resident in Portugal;
  • The vehicle is brought into Portugal by its registered owner or keeper;
  • The vehicle is for private use only;
  • The vehicle is only driven by its registered owners or keepers provided they are neither established, resident nor employed in Portugal, and
  • The vehicle's owner or keeper is in possession of the vehicle registration documents for production when necessary to the competent authority.

Permanent Importation of Motor Vehicles

For those who intend to set-up residence in Portugal, it is possible to import a motor vehicle tax-free, provided:

  • The vehicle is for private use only;
  • The registered owner of the vehicle is transferring his residence from another EU member state where he has been resident for at least 185 days;
  • The vehicle was purchased fully tax-paid in its registered owner's former country of residence; and
  • The vehicle has been used by its registered owner in his former country of residence for at least six months.

Importation Procedure

In order to import a vehicle, you should submit an application within a maximum of 12 months of arrival, to the customs office with jurisdiction over your area of residence. These are as follows:

For those resident in the districts of Leiria, Lisbon, Portalegre and Santarem:

Alfândega de Lisboa
Jardim do Tabaco
Avenida Infante D Henriques
1100-280 Lisboa
Tel.: 21 881 4100
Fax: 21 886 8898

For those resident in the districts of Braga, Bragança, Guarda, Porto, Viana do Castelo and Vila Real:

Alfândega do Freixieiro
Estrada Nacional 107
4405 Matosinhos
Tel.: 22 999 9680/9690
Fax: 22 996 0725

For those resident in the districts of Aveiro, Coimbra, Castelo Branco, Guarda and Viseu:

Alfândega de Aveiro
Edifício TIRTIFE, Lugar de Moinhos
3801-301 Aveiro
Tel.: 23 442 3350
Fax: 23 438 1062

For those resident in the districts of Beja, Evora and Setubal:
Alfândega de Setúbal
Avenida Jaime Rebelo
2904-536 Setúbal
Tel.: 26 552 2165
Fax: 26 523 4156

For those resident in the Algarve:

Alfândega de Faro
Avenida 5 de Outubro, 82-A
8000-076 Faro
Tel.: 28 989 8550
Fax: 28 989 8559

For those resident in Madeira:

Alfândega do Funchal
Avenida do Mar e das Comunidades Madeirenses, 24
9000-054 Funchal
Tel.: 29 122 0137
Fax: 29 123 0156

For those resident in the Azores:

Alfândega de Ponta Delgada
Praça Vasco da Gama
9500-350 Ponta Delgada
Tel.: 29 628 5251
Fax: 29 628 4469

The application should be submitted, together with:

  • The vehicle's logbook;
  • A certificate of compliance or Form 1402 issued by the Direcção-Geral de Viação (Portuguese DVLA) confirming that the vehicle has undergone an inspection;
  • Your driver's licence;
  • Evidence that you have applied for a residence permit;
  • Your taxpayer's identification card, together with 3-years' original tax returns or a declaration from the tax office in your area of residence attesting to the amount of income earned in Portugal over the previous three years;
  • A certificate of cancellation of residence issued by the competent authority in your former country of residence. (If, as in Britain, there is no such authority, the Consulate will issue a certificate on production of evidence that an application has been made for a residence permit).

The authorities may ask for further documentation, as necessary, so it is advisable to contact them in the first instance for an application form, a list of the supporting documents required and the applicable fees.
Once your application has been formally submitted, the customs authorities may issue a limited-validity authorisation (guia de circulação) which will enable you to use your vehicle while the application is under consideration.

A motor vehicle that has been imported in this way may not be sold, loaned, pledged or hired for a period of 12 months following importation. In addition, it may only be driven by its registered owners or keepers and their immediate family. Only one vehicle may be imported tax-free per person once every five years.

Motor Vehicle Documentation

All vehicles in Portugal are required to have:

  • Titulo de Registo de Propriedade (Ownership Registration Document), issued by the Conservatória do Registo Automóvel (Vehicle Registration Office);
  • Livrete (Vehicle Registration Document), issued by the Direcção-Geral de Viação (Portuguese Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency);
  • Road Tax. This is purchased annually during the month of June from local tax offices and selected newsagents. The cost varies depending on the age and cubic capacity of the vehicle. As in Britain, the tax stamp must be displayed in the upper right hand corner of the vehicle's windscreen, and
  • Insurance. All vehicles must have at least third party insurance cover. The insurance company will provide an insurance stamp for display in the lower right-hand corner of the vehicle's windscreen, at the time the policy is issued.

These documents, as well as the driver's ID and licence, should be carried at all times for production to the authorities on request.

MOT Testing and Certificates

As in Britain, MOT testing is compulsory in Portugal for all vehicles over four years old. Cars aged 4-7 years must be tested every two years and thereafter every year. The test (Inspecção Periódica Obrigatória - IPO - IPO) must be carried out at an approved garage. The garage is required to request the vehicle's ownership document (Titulo de Registo de Propriedade), its logbook (Livrete) and the owner's taxpayer's identification card before carrying out the test.

A stamp confirming that the vehicle has undergone (and passed) the test will subsequently be issued. This should be displayed below the insurance stamp, in the lower right-hand corner of the vehicle's windscreen.

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