Car Importation

Insights into what is involved in buying, selling & living in Portugal

Importation/Registration of a Car

The easiest way of acquiring a vehicle with valid Portuguese registration documents is to purchase a new vehicle from an authorised agent in Portugal who will register the vehicle for you. This has the added advantage of having agents close by to provide service, guarantees, and spare parts. However, importation is an option and there can be tax advantages for new residents from within the EU who import a vehicle they have owned for more than 6 months. You cannot have a foreign licenced vehicle in Portugal for over 6 months in a year (consecutively or otherwise in one calendar year), after that time you need to legalize the vehicle by importing it. Individuals who are moving to Portugal and who have resided in another EU state, for at least 6 months prior to their arrival in Portugal, and who can provide proof of this (utility bills), may be eligible for exemption from ISV (import tax). Severely disabled people may also be eligible whether they are moving to Portugal or already living here. For new residents in Portugal who come from an EU member state country, the vehicle must have been bought in the country of their previous residence, not have been exempted from any tax, and have been owned for at least 6 months before transfer of residence (the date noted on your cancelation of residency document from the country you’re leaving), when transferring the residence, you must cancel the residence in your country of origin immediately (this must be done before becoming resident in Portugal). Exemption must be requested and completed within twelve months of transfer of residence The request for exemption is done only on-line completing the DAV (Vehicle Customs Declaration) and for that you need the password for the Portuguese finance website “portal das finanças”.This process can be complicated due to the fact that the finance website is only in the Portuguese language so members may prefer to have an agent doing this on their behalf. If you import a car with the exemption of ISV, it can only be sold 12 months after completing the importation, otherwise you will have to pay the tax back in full and will also receive a fine. Portuguese vehicle registration (Matrícula) The Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes (IMT) is the government department responsible for registering vehicles and vehicle ownership and for issuing registration numbers. Portuguese number plates can only be issued for a vehicle previously registered in another country when its technical specifications meet Portuguese and/or European Union standards. This will be stated in a document called “Certificado de Conformidade” (Certificate of Conformity). If you do not have a “Certificado de Conformidade” for your vehicle, you must apply for a process of assessment to determine whether the model meets these standards, this is known as homologação. If the model has not been approved for use in Portugal but the vehicle was registered in another EU country, then the original or a notarised copy of the manufacturer’s certificate from that country is required. The vehicle will also need a technical inspection at a registered test centre. For motorbikes Nr. M04/E CAR IMPORTATION Version 01/2020 21/05/2020M04E – Car Importation ________________________________________________________________________ 2 de 5 this includes a noise level test. The approval of models not previously registered in the EU is much more complicated. The inspection to the vehicle needs to be done to confirm the vehicle’s chassis and motor numbers, the number of passengers, and that lights, reflectors and safety equipment meet Portuguese standards, this inspection is done only in Inspection Centres classed as “Centro de Inspecção Classe B) In the Algarve you can find one in Lagos, Portimão and Loulé. Following successful inspection, the IMT will issue the vehicle registration document (Documento Único), see Bulletin M/02/E Car Documents. Agents A number of organisations will undertake the registration of vehicles; these include the Portuguese car owners association (Automóvel Clube de Portugal, ACP), customs agents (Despachante Oficial), and other agencies providing services for expatriates. For a new resident, the use of one of these agents may simplify the process. The Yellow Pages (Páginas Amarelas) gives a list of agents under “Agências de Documentação” or “Despachante Oficial” and some are also available from the afpop ADvantage Directory. Vehicle tax (Imposto Sobre Veiculos, ISV) The Vehicle Tax (ISV) is a registration tax that is paid only once when the vehicle is first registered in Portugal, whether new or used. The ISV is calculated on the basis of two criteria: the cylinder capacity and CO2 emissions of the vehicle. Some types of vehicles, such as commercials and motorcycles, pay ISV based on cylinder only. There is a discount whenever a used vehicle is imported. A vehicle is considered used whenever it has more than 6,000 km and is more than 6 months old (in the country of origin) - if only one of these criteria is met, the car is considered new. This discount goes up to 10 years of age, from that age the discount is always the same. For light non-commercial and 4-wheel drive vehicles/ commercial vehicles the tax can be calculated from the tables below, multiplying the capacity (cc) by the appropriate tax rate, then subtracting the deduction, then multiply by the percentage for reduction in the ISV tax and subtract. Adding then the result of multiplying the CO2 emission by the relative tax and then subtracting the deduction. For used vehicles there are reductions on the tax related to CM3 when the vehicles are more than six months old and are imported from another EU country where all relevant taxes have been paid. As an example we used a 6 year old, petrol run car, 2.000cc engine capacity and a CO2 emission of 140: (1) CC: 2000 x 5.08 = 10160 – 5616.80 = 4543.20 – 60% = 1817.28 (2) CO2: 140 x 47.65 = 6671 – 5353.01 = 1317.99 Total (1)+(2): 1817.28 + 1317.99 = 3135.27 The following tables apply to light non-commercial vehicles, light commercial vehicles (mistos), passenger vehicles up to 8 seats (not including the driver) and less than 3500 Kg weight, and for 4- wheel drive vehicles lighter than 2500kg: M04E – Car Importation ________________________________________________________________________ 3 de 5 Engine capacity tax (Table A) Engine Capacity in Cubic Centimetres Tax by CC (in euros) Tax band adjustment (in euros) Up to 1000 0.99 769.80 1001 to 1250 1.07 771.31 Over 1250 5.08 5.616.80 CO2 emission tax (Table B) CO2 emission bracket (in grams by kilometre) Tax (in euros) Adjustment band (in euros) Cars on Petrol Up to 99g/km 4.19 387.16 100 to 115 7.33 680.91 116 to 145 47.65 5.353.01 146 to 175 55.52 6.473.88 176 to 195 141.42 21,442.47 More than 195 186.47 30,274.29 Cars on Diesel Up to 79 5.24 398.07 80 to 95 21.26 1,676.08 96 to 120 71.83 6,524.16 121 to 140 159.33 17,158.92 141 to 160 177.19 19,694.01 More than 160 243.37 30,326.67 There is an increase in the total value of € 500 + IVA (VAT) for all diesel vehicles emitting 0.001g/km or more of particles. Usually, the only vehicles that meet this requirement are those equipped with a particulate filter (DPF or FP). You should obtain this information from the manufacturer, the seller or the car registration papers. This extra value is also applied when there is no official information on the value of particulate emissions, i.e. when this information does not exist on the certificate of conformity or the technical approval certificate. Particles Cars on Diesel particle emission rate (in euros) Less than 0.001g/km 0.00 Up to 0.001g/km or if there is no information 500.00 Used cars are entitled to a discount depending on the age. These are the percentages to be applied to the cylinder component - there is no discount on the CO2 component.M04E – Car Importation ________________________________________________________________________ 4 de 5 Reductions in the ISV tax for used vehicles imported from another EU country: Age of the Car % OF REDUCTION Up to 1 year 10% From 1 to 2 years 20% More than 2 to 3 years 28% More than 3 to 4 years 35% More than 4 to 5 years 43% More than 5 to 6 years 52% More than 6 to 7 years 60% More than 7 to 8 years 65% More than 8 to 9 years 70% More than 9 to 10 years 75% More than 10 years 80% Necessary Documents to import motor-cars by foreigners for Customs (digitalized)  Mod. 1460   European certificate of conformity (COC)  Technical Inspection performed at a “classe B” inspection centre – Mod.112  Document “modelo 9”. This document can be downloaded from the internet at and must be signed by the inspection centre and then by IMT office  Original car papers  Document “DAV” (Vehicle Customs Declaration)  Contribuinte Number NIF (Fiscal number)  Passport  Driving license  Residency Certificate For those applying for exemption of tax you will also need:  Document proving the official cancellation of residence (from the country of origin or consulate)M04E – Car Importation ________________________________________________________________________ 5 de 5  Car purchase invoice showing amount of km driven at the purchase and value in Euros (only for cars with less than 12 months of age)  Certificate from “Finanças” proving that you didn’t earn any money in Portugal, during the last 3 years.  Vehicle Registration Document (in your name for more than 6 months)  Utility bills from your country of origin and in your name for the past 6 months.  Authorization allowing the customs to verify your fiscal and Social Security situation in Portugal. Below is an example of such an authorization in the Portuguese language. ‘Eu (name) abaixo assinado, residente em (address), contribuinte nº (fiscal number), portador do BI/Passaporte nº (passport number) autoriza a Alfandega de ….. (town where your local customs is, for Algarve = Faro) a proceder à consulta da minha situação tributária e contribuitiva nos termos da Dec. Lei nº 114/2007 de 19 de Abril. Data: (date) Assinatura : (signature) Necessary Documents to import Motor vehicles by foreigners for IMT:  Document “modelo 9”. This document can be downloaded from the internet at and must be signed by the inspection centre and then by IMT office (original and copy)  European Certificate of Conformity (COC) (original and copy)  Technical Inspection performed at a “classe B” inspection centre – Mod.112 (original and copy)  Original car papers + 2 copies  Contribuinte Number NIF (Fiscal number) (original and copy)  Passport (original and copy)  Driving license (original and copy)  Residency Certificate (original and copy) Electric cars If the electric car is imported from an EU country, it is completely exempt from ISV, that is, it does not pay any tax in Portugal as long as it has paid VAT in the country of origin and is considered used. You will only pay the expenses related to the legalization process and the expenses with the purchase process - a total of around € 1,200 if we are talking about Germany and if you are picking it up in person. If imported from a country outside the EU (Norway, for example), the cost of taxes depends on the country of origin. You do not pay ISV, but you will pay customs fees and VAT

Contact me


See also