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Foreign registered vehicles

Dear Editor,

When returning to Faro Airport one evening, I saw the GNR Brigada de Trânsito out in force in the long term car park.

I spoke to one of the officers that I know and he told me they were collecting the registration numbers of all foreign-registered vehicles parked.

He explained that it is illegal to leave your foreign-registered vehicle in Portugal during the 183 days you can legally keep it here and they were targeting returning drivers and issuing fines and instructions to remove the vehicles from Portugal.

He went on to say that 2011 will be the year of targeting illegal foreign-registered vehicles and they are expected to issue at least 10 times as many fines and notices to remove than in previous years.

He then went off with a cheery wave as there was a German getting into a German-registered car (we have a Portuguese registered car and he had jump started it for me once which is how we originally met).

So, if you have a foreign-registered car here and you have had it here for more than 183 days, look out as they are determined to maximise the income in fines.

See below from the UK Foreign & Commonweath Office website:

“As a tourist, you can bring your own vehicle to Portugal for a maximum of 183 days in any 12-month period. You must not use your vehicle for any other purpose than tourism or loan it to anyone else during that time. If you intend to stay longer, you must apply to the Portuguese Customs authority to have the car legally imported. You will be fined if you leave the country without your car.”

Bill Ben, by email