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Registering a UK car in Portugal

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in Portugal.
Subforums: Property for Sale/Rent, 2nd Hand Items for Sale/Wanted

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Re: Registering a UK car in Portugal

Post Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:05 pm

Each adult new immigrant is allowed to import one motor vehicle free of import tax IF (note the big IF) the vehicle meets the required criteria which is:

The importer can prove the vehicle has been registered to the him/her for at least 12 months previously (in the country it's coming from) & that he/she has lived in that country for that time period, the importer must provide a Certificate of Conformity or if the vehicle was manufactured pre CoC they will accept a downloaded copy of the original sales brochure that shows the tech spec of the vehicle.

The vehicle must be standard or any (obvious) changes to the vehicle must be listed on a letter from a main dealer or manufacturer listing all changes from standard stating & that all said changes from standard are acceptable replacements.

The matriculation process must be started within 6 months of the applicant getting his/her Residencia. Whilst you can do the matriculation process yourself, it's much easier if you have a local agent do it for you & current (at time of writing (October 2017)) cost is usually about €400 plus the one off matriculation inspection of about €125 + annual road tax.

Road tax is calculated on engine size & emissions and priced as a new car on the date of matriculation not on year of manufacture. If you do go the tax free import route, you are not allowed to sell the car for 5 years unless you repay the tax you've avoided on a pro rata basis ie 20% per year.

If you pay the import tax it's calculated on age of vehicle, engine size & emissions NOT on value & is often VERY expensive, especially for cars with large engines/high emissions & some cars can cost tens of thousands of Euros & one day difference in the date of manufacture from one year to the next can sometimes mean a massive increase/decrease in tax payable so do your research on the simulator link below very carefully.

You're allowed to keep a foreign registered car in Portugal for 180 days maximum before you either matriculate it or remove it back to the country it came from for a further 180 days. The only exception to this rule is for some (but not all) students on some (but not all) study permits

If you have a foreign registered car in Portugal, it must be taxed, tested & insured in it’s country of registration all the time it’s in Portugal & if the GNR catch you with an overstaying vehicle or without tax, test or insurance, they can & often do, permanently confiscate the vehicle which they will then sell or destroy. Note that whilst a foreign registered vehicle can be put through a Portuguese IPO/MOT inspection the pass certificate has no legal standing & is not a replacement for the test certificate from the country of origin.

When Portuguese matriculation/registration is complete the vehicle has to be submitted for a one off matriculation inspection which is a greatly enhanced safety inspection which includes a rolling road test & if the vehicle comes from a country that drives on the left the headlight units will need to be changed. Beam deflectors are not acceptable.

Once matriculated the vehicle is subject to the ordinary Portuguese IPO annual inspection.

Importing and Registering Classic Cars/Motorcycle in Portugal

Classic cars/Motorcycles can be driven freely into Portugal providing they are for personal, temporary use and have the necessary vehicle taxation, insurance, and documentation.

Those wishing to import a classic car permanently into Portugal may drive the car for four days before registering it with the Portuguese customs office. (Alfândegas).

Vehicle tax (Imposto Automóvel) must be paid for all classic cars unless registered as a vehicle of historical interest to Portugal when it becomes exempt. This classification must be renewed annually.

Vehicles made before 1960 are taxed at a lower rate

Classic cars brought into Portugal on a permanent basis must meet the following legal requirements:
Be classified by the International Classic Car Federation (Fédération Internationale des Véhicule Anciens, FIVA )

Have a Classic Car Certificate (Certificado de Automóvel Antigo) from FIVA or ACP AKA a classic car passport.

Have a Technical Logbook/Manual (Ficha Técnica) from FIVA or other competent organisation. They will accept an ordinary workshop manual or ecopy of such.

Have a colour photograph of the vehicle which also goes in the FIVA classic car passport

Have a vehicle Logbook (Livrete) and Owner's Document (Título de Propridade) issued in the name of the owner/driver from the country of import.

Have the original and latest commercial purchase receipt (Factura Comercial)

Have an Authority to Circulate Document (Guia de Circulação) issued by Customs (Alfândegas) which is issued on arrival

Vehicles from the USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, India or the UK must meet European Union homologation approval standards if the vehicle is more than 30 years old. This means headlights, running lights & indicators etc might need to be changed.

Vehicles over 30 years old may be classified as having cultural and historic interest to Portuguese State Heritage and might not need to undergo any kind of homologation adaptations such as catalytic converters etc.

As a European Union member state Portugal adheres to the Mutual Recognition Scheme which means that the IMTT needs to be sure that any vehicle imported into Portugal is suitable for use on Portuguese roads. The driver/owner must provide documentary evidence from FIVA or the manufacturer of any physical alterations made to the vehicle.

Import duty

A classic vehicle may be imported into Portugal tax-free provided:

The vehicle is for private use only.

The vehicle has been used by its registered owner in their former country for at least 12 months previously.

The owner has submitted a copy of passport, driver's licence, residency (or application), tax details (fiscal number).

A certificate of cancellation of residence issued by the person's consulate. The consulate may charge you for this but if you use an agent to do the matriculation this document may sometimes not be required. They may (but not necessarily) also require you to prove your residency in the country of registration for 12 months prior to import.

The Portuguese Classic Cars Club (Clube Português de Automóveis Antigos) has a lot of useful information (in Portuguese).
Clube Português de Automóveis Antigos (Head Office)
At: Rua Duque de Saldanha 308, 4300-094 Porto
Tel: 225 377 699 / 225 362 128

If coming from/importing your classic or non classic vehicle from a non EU country, you need to list it on the certificate of baggage (in the name of the registered owner) that you must obtain from the Portuguese Embassy or High Commission in the country you’re coming from BEFORE you leave & to do that, you will need:

Registration document of the vehicle (that shows the car has been registered in your name for at least 12 months)

Export Clearance Certificate

Employment letter or letter from bookkeeper stating you were employed/self employed etc.

Signed declaration stating that you are planning to reside in Portugal on a permanent basis.

Drivers licence.

Passport that shows your residence permit in the country you’re coming from.

Online calculator for both import & annual road tax here: IUC - Imposto Único de Circulação 2017

NOTE: Classic vehicles can (as mentioned previously) sometimes be exempt from the annual road tax fee if you can get it registered as a car of historical interest to Portugal & to do that, you need to join & remain a member of ACP & ACP/ Classicos who will inspect the vehicle & then issue an annual certificate that you then present to the fiscal office every year.

This however does only allow very limited mileage but the upside is it also allows for very inexpensive insurance. I only pay in the region of €36 per year for a classic car with a 5.9 litre engine.

Be aware that Portugal often tends to suffer from what might be described as ‘variable bureaucracy syndrome’ where individual civil servants interpret the rules any way they choose to which can make this relatively simple process needlessly complicated and that a matriculation agent will achieve far more in less time than if you do the process yourself simply because they know the rules inside out & will correct the civil servant with ‘VBR’ far more easily than you ever will.

Hope that helps & good luck!


Regular Poster
Regular Poster
Re: Registering a UK car in Portugal

Post Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:57 pm

Isn't it absolutely ridiculous that a country in the EU can get away with the sheer cheek to make this process so complicated, expensive and as an economic deterrent? What happened to the free movement of goods and services? And this is before BREXIT which will surely make things 1000 times worse!



Re: Registering a UK car in Portugal

Post Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:40 am

It is ridiculous but Brexit won't affect it at all because the same rules & charges apply to both EU & non EU countries alike.


Regular Poster
Regular Poster
Re: Registering a UK car in Portugal

Post Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:16 pm

- Rusty2000

Isn't it absolutely ridiculous that a country in the EU can get away with the sheer cheek to make this process so complicated, expensive and as an economic deterrent? What happened to the free movement of goods and services? And this is before BREXIT which will surely make things 1000 times worse!


So complicated who said that. See my previous reply, I went out one day to get my paperwork from Customs and went to the Consulate to get my Statuary declaration that I was no longer registered in the UK. I then went home and filled the forms in. Remember Portuguesse run this country there way not a few Brits who have decided to live in there country and want things there way.

After filling the forms in the next Day it was time for the IPO test ( MOT ) done now a trip to IMTT at Coimbra then into Customs and Done. What is so Complicated about that. Total cost about 500€ remember this is Portugal and if you want to stay then you go by there rules SIMPLE.

It's good we have TM to post and the different things in his post that are helpful.

Forget all the horror stories you have heard, a number of people after reading about Matriculation on my Blog have contacted me to say thanks it was as I said.

Remember this is how I successfully imported my Car.






Forum Legend
Forum Legend
Re: Registering a UK car in Portugal

Post Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:31 pm

Well said Peter


Regular Poster
Regular Poster
Re: Registering a UK car in Portugal

Post Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:47 pm

I wouldn't say it's complicated other than by language issues but I would say some of the requirements are utterly pointless....... For example, what good reason is there for every vehicle to have an individual Certificate of Conformity when a type certificate is already approved & the vehicle has to go through a Matriculation test anyway?


Regular Poster
Regular Poster
Re: Registering a UK car in Portugal

Post Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:59 am

Did mine by myself down here in the Faro area. Took several days and cost 170€ in total. Lots of legwork moving between the alfandega, the imtt, the British consulate and the centro de inspecção, but saved a lot of money in the end.


Frequent Poster
Frequent Poster
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