14 de November, 2023
Taking a car to Portugal is a decision that should be made well-informed. If you’re planning to move to the country and are considering bringing your car with you, it’s important to analyze all aspects before making such a choice. Importing a car involves several bureaucratic steps and many costs. What initially seems like an economical option may end up not being so advantageous (not to mention the effort it requires!).
In this article, you’ll discover all the aspects you should consider when importing your vehicle to Portugal. We’ll cover the necessary procedures, including taxes, documents, and fees associated with the process. With all this information at hand, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision and avoid issues.
The cost of importing a car from abroad to Portugal can vary considerably depending on various factors. The chosen transportation method, distance between countries, vehicle type, weight, size, customs duties, and regulations of the country of origin all play a role.
You should consider three aspects:
Apart from transportation and taxes, also consider the option of hiring a specialized car importation company.
To get an initial estimate of the expenses, check if your vehicle is homologated in Europe and Portugal.
Bringing a car from the United States might involve a more intricate and time-consuming process. This is due to the lack of homologation for many American cars to operate within the European Union. Moreover, these vehicles often have specifications different from European models, which can create significant obstacles, sometimes making the process unfeasible.
Lastly, discover the vehicle specifications to estimate tax costs: year, engine capacity, carbon emissions.
Realizing your goal of living in Europe or obtaining European citizenship can be simpler than you think. We offer personalized support to make the immigration process more accessible and uncomplicated.
In general, the average costs are as follows:
The main applicable taxes on vehicles in Portugal are:
It’s important to note that not everyone needs to pay taxes when importing a car into Portugal. Individuals who have lived in another country for more than 6 months (Portuguese or foreigners) and transfer their legal residence to Portugal may be entitled to exemption from ISV and VAT if they bring a vehicle with them (limited to one per person).
The requirements for ISV exemption are:
Those importing a used vehicle from the European Union are also exempt from VAT, except if the vehicle is less than 6 months old or has traveled less than 6,000 km.
For other countries, paying this tax for importation is usually necessary. Check the specific rules of your country of origin.
Everyone needs to pay the Single Circulation Tax (IUC) to drive on Portuguese roads. Pay your due import taxes within 20 business days from the vehicle’s entry into Portugal. Remember that only one vehicle can be imported tax-free per person every ten years.
To ensure that you are eligible for VAT and ISV tax exemption when importing your car into Portugal, you’ll need to provide:
If you live in Europe, driving your car and taking a road trip might be a great alternative instead of shipping it. It’s important to calculate the costs of this journey. You’ll spend on fuel, tolls, and possible hotel stays. In most cases, this option tends to be more economical and fun (if you enjoy driving).
Air transport for cars is much more expensive but much faster. It’s usually chosen for those in a hurry or who want to bring high-value or highly cherished cars.
The maritime transportation time for a car from the United States to Portugal can range from 3 to 6 weeks. It depends on the location in the United States from where the car will be shipped. Port traffic and weather conditions can also affect the timeframe.
Shipments from the East Coast of the USA take 3 to 4 weeks, while those from the West Coast take between 4 to 6 weeks.
These are the documents required for importing a car to Portugal:
If your goal is to save money, it’s important to know the price of a car in Portugal. As the price will depend on the model you choose, let’s look at two examples.
Peugeot 308, metallic paint, petrol, manual gearbox 130 hp costs around €26,000.
Fiat 500, metallic paint, Kw (95)CV, zero km, currently costs around €35,000.
BMW 2 Series Coupé, gasoline, metallic paint, automatic gearbox, costs from €45,000.
Portugal, like many European countries, has specific rules for foreign drivers, even those with Portuguese citizenship. It is important to understand these rules to ensure that you are driving legally. In some cases, you have to exchange your foreign license for a Portuguese one. In others, thanks to bilateral agreements, you can use the document from your country of origin until it expires (this is the case in Brazil and the United States).
This is a very private decision. We believe it will depend, above all, on the relationship you have with your car. Is it very special to you? Is it a collector’s model? Is it old? In that case Atlantic Bridge is at your service and will be happy to help you with this mission, as an integral part of your journey to Portugal.
On the other hand, if your car is just a car, our recommendation is that you buy a new vehicle in Portugal. What’s more, before you buy a new one, try going without a car for a while. The largest Portuguese cities have good public transport. Depending on where you live, you may not even need to buy anything and you’ll love the freedom of not having to worry about traffic jams, parking and maintenance. Who knows, maybe it will be better for you?