Portugal, with its stunning landscapes, historic castles, beautiful beaches, and warm people, is a dream destination for many. Some visitors find themselves so captivated by the country that they decide to make it their permanent home. Whether you’re considering a long-term move or simply want to explore Portugal during a vacation, understanding the process of importing vehicles, trailers, or caravans is crucial. Let’s delve into the necessary steps and requirements for a smooth importation process.
Importing a Car During Your Vacation:
If you’re visiting Portugal as a tourist, you can bring your car and legally drive it for up to six months (180 days) if it’s registered in your name, insured, and solely driven by you while in the country. Vehicles staying for less than 180 days don’t require registration. However, for extended stays, you’ll need to go through the legal registration process.
Bringing a Car During Relocation:
For those planning a long-term move to Portugal, importing a vehicle requires specific paperwork to be submitted to Customs officials, including:
- Vehicle Title
- Vehicle Registration from your home country
- Driver’s License
- Import License
- Sales Receipt/Purchase Invoice
All vehicles, including motorcycles, must undergo an inspection to ensure they meet European roadworthiness standards. Inspections can be carried out at various testing facilities throughout the country. You can import one vehicle every five years duty-free.
Regarding duty fees, you’ll need to pay the “Impostro Sobre Veículos” (ISV) tax when initially registering a vehicle. The ISV tax, around 34% of the vehicle’s value, is based on factors such as CO2 emissions and engine capacity. The “Imposto Unico Circulacao” is another yearly tax paid when the license plate expires, calculated using a similar formula to the ISV tax. Newer vehicles will incur higher tax rates.
Importing Trailers and Caravans:
Bringing camper trailers, motorhomes, or caravans into Portugal involves adhering to similar import regulations as standard vehicles. Consider these points before importing:
- Shipping to a European country first and then directly to Portugal is recommended to avoid higher taxes for non-European countries.
- If you’ve owned the vehicle for at least 12 months, you may be exempt from certain taxes.
- Obtaining a Certificate of Conformity can be challenging for older vehicles.
- For permanent residency, you must matriculate the trailer locally.
- Temporary stays for trailers, caravans, and motorhomes are allowed for up to 180 days in one calendar year if used privately and driven solely by the registered owner, who is not a resident or employee in Portugal.
Registering Your Vehicle in Portugal:
To register your car in Portugal, you’ll need a Cartao de residencia (residency card) and a local driver’s license. UK cars can be legally driven in Portugal for up to 180 days without registration. After this period, you must matriculate or register the car to continue driving legally.
During the registration process, you’ll need the following documents:
- Registration Certificate
- Certificate of Conformity (COC)
- Receipt for Registration Fees
- Road Worthiness Certificate
- Customs Clearance
When considering matriculating a vehicle into Portugal, there are several important facts and regulations you need to be aware of. Whether you’re moving to Portugal or just bringing your vehicle for an extended stay, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
1. Ownership and Title:
- You must own your vehicle for more than 6 months before bringing it to Portugal. If your vehicle is financed, you must have a clear title.
2. Resale Restrictions:
- You are not allowed to sell your imported vehicle in Portugal for 1 year after matriculation.
3. Engine Size and Environmental Tax:
- Vehicles with engines over 2500cc may incur an environmental tax (YUK) of 500 euros, plus additional charges based on CO2 emissions. However, the total YUK amount will not exceed 950 euros per year.
4. Legalization Timeline:
- From the port of entry, you have exactly 6 months to start the legalization process for your vehicle. If needed, extensions are possible but must be requested in advance.
5. Vehicle Specifications:
- Your vehicle must adhere to specific Portuguese regulations:
- No front window tints.
- Must have factory wheel size.
- Rear fog lights are mandatory.
- Turn signals should not be red.
6. Manufacturing Date Impact on YUK:
- If your vehicle’s manufacturing date is before June 2007, you may benefit from a lower YUK.
7. Commercial Vehicle Benefits:
- If your vehicle can qualify as a commercial vehicle, you may enjoy a significantly reduced YUK. Note that commercial vehicles may not have rear seats.
8. Multiple Vehicles:
- You and your spouse can each bring a car into Portugal, and if both of you have a motorcycle endorsement on your license, you can also bring a motorcycle each.
9. Insurance Considerations:
- While your vehicle is on foreign plates, you can only acquire liability insurance. Comprehensive insurance must be provided by your original insurance provider if you wish to have it.
Is it Worth It?
- The decision to matriculate your vehicle into Portugal depends on various factors, including the vehicle’s value and your specific needs.
- High-value vehicles (e.g., luxury cars, collector’s items) can be worth bringing, especially if you plan to register them as collector cars through institutions like the Caramulo Museum for discounted insurance and reduced YUK. Note that collector cars may have a longer inspection interval.
- If you decide to bring your vehicle to Portugal, be aware that your factory warranty from the USA may not be valid in Portugal.
Make sure to research and plan ahead before matriculating your vehicle into Portugal to ensure a smooth transition and compliance with local regulations. Consulting with Portuguese authorities or a professional specializing in vehicle importation may also be beneficial.
Cars over 4 years old must undergo testing every two years at an approved garage to ensure roadworthiness.
WARNING: It is not advisable to bring your vehicle over and not matriculate it. There are road checks often by police where they will ask for proof of entry into the country with your car. If you don’t have it they will tax your car as if it was brand new.
In conclusion, importing a vehicle, trailer, or caravan to Portugal requires careful preparation, adherence to regulations, and paying the necessary taxes and fees. By following the proper procedures, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and vibrant culture of Portugal with the convenience of your own vehicle.