Ask Afpop – Car importation

In Portugal, you pay the tax ISV (Imposto Sobre Veículos) when importing a foreign vehicle into Portuguese matriculation, however, UK citizens who are moving to Portugal and have become residents may be eligible for an exemption from ISV (bringing the car as part of their personal goods when moving to Portugal). This exemption must be requested and the entire import process must be completed within 12 months of transfer of residence.

The process for importing a car and also the request for exemption is done only online on the Portuguese Customs website, by completing the DAV (Vehicle Customs Declaration). For cars that are registered in the UK, it is mandatory to have an agent (import/export agent – in Portuguese called Despachante) to deal with the import process. This means that if you are considering bringing a UK-registered car with you when moving to Portugal, you must contact an official import/export agent for information and assistance.

Cars imported from the UK, whether they have an exemption of ISV or not, are always subject to customs fees (taxa aduaneira) and VAT (IVA).

The amount to be paid for customs fees and VAT is directly linked to the value of the car, because the tax calculated is a percentage of the value. At present, the percentage of the VAT in Portugal is 23% and the customs fees can be up to 10%.

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