If you’re considering a move, retirement, or a long-term stay in Portugal, importing your car might be a viable option. Vehicle prices in Portugal tend to be significantly higher than those in other countries, mainly due to taxes and transportation costs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll outline the steps and considerations for importing a car to Portugal, helping you make an informed decision.

Reasons to Import a Car to Portugal:

Tax Exemptions and Special Considerations

The process of importing a car to Portugal differs depending on your country of origin and legal status. Some individuals may be exempt from certain taxes, such as ex-emigrants and expats. To qualify for tax exemptions, you must meet specific criteria:

  1. Be over 18 years old
  2. Own the car for at least six months before moving to Portugal
  3. Have lived in the country where the car is from for at least six months

To claim the exemption, provide documentation such as:

  1. Proof of residency from the country you’ve been living in (at least 6 months)
  2. Car documentation that identifies you as the owner (at least 6 months)
  3. Proof of living in the said country (e.g., bill payments, receipts from supermarkets, restaurants, etc.)
Importing your car may save you money over buying new
Importing your car may save you money over buying new

Essential Vehicle Documentation for Importing to Portugal

When importing a vehicle to Portugal, it’s crucial to have all the required documents in order. These documents include:

  1. Transaction Declaration
    This document serves as proof of your car purchase, including the date of acquisition.
  2. IMT Form 9
    Obtained after a vehicle inspection, this form approves your car for use in Portugal.
  3. Copy of Foreign Vehicle Registration
    A copy of the original registration from the car’s country of origin is necessary.
  4. Original Receipt of Purchase
    This document should display the taxes paid on the vehicle at the time of purchase.
  5. Certificate of Roadworthiness
    After a technical inspection at an IMT-approved garage, this certificate verifies that your car is safe to drive on Portuguese roads.
  6. Certificate of Conformity (COC)
    Issued by the vehicle manufacturer, the COC outlines the car’s specific characteristics and confirms it meets legal requirements.
  7. Certificate of Homologation
    This certificate verifies that the vehicle is of a recognized type in Portugal and that the information in the COC is accurate.
  8. Fiscal Document
    Depending on your situation and vehicle details, you will need either a fiscal certificate or a tax clearance form from customs.

Detailed Steps to Import a Car to Portugal

  1. Prepare your import file
    Gather all necessary documents and your car’s paperwork in one place for quick access and organization.

  2. Register on the Portal das Finanças
    First, obtain a Portuguese fiscal number (NIF). Then, register on the Finanças platform to complete the required online steps during the import process.

  3. Obtain and homologate the Certificate of Conformity (COC)
    Secure the COC issued by the manufacturer, which confirms that your car meets all legal requirements. After obtaining the COC, visit the IMT to have it homologated, ensuring that your car’s technical characteristics match those stated in the COC.

  4. Complete the IMT Model 9 form
    Print and fill out multiple copies of the IMT Model 9 form. This form is necessary for car inspection approval.

  5. Complete the DAV online form
    Fill out the Declaração Aduaneira de Veículos (DAV) on the Portal das Finanças. This form declares your imported vehicle to the authorities.

  6. Pay the DUC
    The Documento Único de Cobrança (DUC) is a bill from Customs that outlines the fees due for the DAV. Pay the DUC within the specified timeframe.

  7. Get your car inspected
    Schedule an appointment at an authorized inspection center to ensure your vehicle meets safety requirements and conforms to Portuguese standards.

  8. Pay taxes (if applicable)
    If you’re not exempt, pay the VAT and ISV taxes at a local Finanças office. Once your payment is approved, you’ll receive your Portuguese license number.

  9. Obtain the Documento Único Automóvel
    Submit the required paperwork, including the IMT Model 9 form, inspection documents, and tax payment proof, to the IMT. After paying a fee, you’ll receive your Portuguese car document.

  10. Register your car
    Within 60 days of receiving your Documento Único, visit a Conservatory to register your car. The registration will cost you approximately 55€.

  11. Pay the IUC
    Pay the Imposto Único de Circulação within 90 days. This tax is required for driving on Portuguese roads.

  12. Obtain license plates
    Visit a local shop to have your license plates made and installed on your car. The cost for this service typically ranges between 15-20€.

Importing a Car from Outside the EU

When importing a car from a country outside the EU, you may need to complete additional steps. These steps can vary depending on the exporting country, but at a minimum, you will need to fill out at least one customs exportation form.

In Portugal, complete an online importation form (DAU) using the “STADA Importação” platform of the Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira. Depending on the exporting country, you may need to pay VAT (unless exempt) and a customs fee.

Insurance Requirements

To legally drive on Portuguese roads, you must have valid car insurance. Ensure you obtain the necessary coverage before using your imported vehicle in Portugal.

The Relocate MENA team is here for you

Assistance throughout the process

We're here to assist you throughout the process, making it easier and reducing stress. We offer support services for document attestation, visa applications, customs clearance, and more. By partnering with us, you'll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your vehicle importation is in expert hands.