Seven steps to legalize your vehicle in Portugal - Global International Relocation

Seven steps to legalize your vehicle in Portugal

“I want to bring my car or my motorcycle when I move internationally, how can I do it?” This is a frequent question we hear around here, so we decided to post the 7 main steps to bring your vehicle with you on your international move to Portugal.

The whole process can be done by you, but you will have to face many processes, bureaucracies, and sometimes pay unnecessary fees. We can do all the transportation and all the legalization process of your vehicle and in some cases even with exemption from some fees, but we explain here how the process is.

Before the steps, let’s explain a few points.

First of all, before thinking about the taxes and fees you will have to pay, you must decide how you are going to bring the vehicle to Portugal.

Basically, there are two options:

  1. Hire a company (like ours) that will do the vehicle transportation. Talk to us and ask for a proposal.
  2. Deal with the transportation yourself. Ensuring the trip from Portugal to the destination where the car is and then buying temporary insurance and registration to be able to make the return trip (valid only for EU countries). You must also add to these expenses, the cost of fuel and tolls to be able to bring the car to Portugal.

After the arrival of the car in Portugal, you will have to deal with several taxes and bureaucracies, or, if you bring the vehicle with us, we can already expedite the process while the vehicle is in transit.


Regardless of how your car will come to Portugal, some taxes will have to be paid and we explain below the main ones.

  • ISV – The Imposto Sobre Veículos (Vehicle Tax) is paid only once, on the date of first registration. This tax is over on the cylinder capacity, fuel type and CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Depending on the age of the vehicle, it is possible to have discounts that gradually increase from 10% in cars less than 1-year-old to 80% in vehicles that are 10 or more years old. Note, also, that all diesel cars are subject to a fixed tax of $500.
  • IUC – The Imposto Único de Circulação (Road Single Tax) is paid annually. This tax is also calculated according to the cylinder capacity and emission of polluting gases and corresponds to the date of the 1st registration in the country of origin and not the date of the 1st registration in Portugal.
  • VAT – In addition to these two taxes, imported cars may also be subject to Value Added Tax. Imported cars will only have to pay this tax if they are new, and by new, we mean cars with less than 6 months or less than 6.000km.

How to legalize the vehicle?

When importing your vehicle make sure you know the regulations in effect at your new destination, which will allow you to legally and safely drive your vehicle. It is fundamental to comply with the fiscal rules regarding vehicle importation, because when not observed they motivate serious penalties.

To regularize your vehicle the following 7 steps are necessary:

  1. Realize the mandatory vehicle inspection through an authorized inspection center for registration, which will issue an inspection certificate.
  2. Then, at the Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes (Institute of Mobility and Transport – IMT), arrange for the approval of the vehicle. To do this, fill out the forms for your vehicle, taking into account the corresponding instructions.
  3. Then go to Customs to fill out the Vehicle Customs Declaration (DAV) and deliver it along with all the documentation gathered in the previous steps. Customs will issue the ISV assessment notice, which must be paid within ten working days.
  4. Once the ISV is paid, a national license is assigned to the DAV. With the documentation provided at the customs office, you must ensure that the license plate is produced at an authorized body for that specialty. With the VAD and the license plate, it is possible to drive for 60 days. It is also important to take out automobile insurance.
  5. Once these 60 days are over, return to the IMT and deliver all the documentation obtained at customs (DAV and a copy of the registration certificate certified by customs) so that the process can be sent to the Conservatória do Registo Automóvel (Automobile Registry Office).
  6. Afterward, you must go to the Conservatória do Registo Automóvel to pay the fees and request the Documento Único Automóvel (Single Automobile Document).
  7. Finally, and although it is not directly related to the legalization process for a car bought abroad, but for all cars, it is essential to pay the IUC within 90 days from the date of registration.

Regardless if you hire a company for the legalization of your vehicle or if you want to do everything yourself, the steps above are the same, but with us, a company with employees used to this type of process and transport, we guarantee the delivery of the documents on time, the correct processes, and besides you avoid wasting your time on this type of procedure, we can get fee exceptions and even money savings during the whole process.


In summary, the legal procedures and fixed costs of importing a car are based on the new certification, inspection, and new registration of the vehicle.

In order for the vehicle to circulate legally in Portugal, it will have to undergo an inspection. And after such an inspection, the vehicle will have a legal certificate that attests to conformity and safety to circulate on Portuguese roads. After that, you will still have to register the car in your name, that is, make the owner transition and the holder change in the carnet.

In addition to the registration, owner registration, and inspection, you then add the ISV, IUC, and in some cases, the VAT as well.

To get rid of all the bureaucracy, comings and goings in the regulatory public organs, in the inspections, count on Global International Relocation to do the complete procedure, from A to Z and with analysis for exemption or discounts in some fees. From picking up the car at your residence abroad to delivering it to you in Portugal already with all the documents and authorized to drive on Portuguese roads.

Any questions, talk to us and have a good road trip!