Importing a vehicle is a highly complex process, not just because of the bureaucracy involved, but mostly given the specific issues that often have to be dealt with, and that are unknown to the vast majority of people.
To begin with, different procedures and steps apply depending on whether the vehicle is from the EU or abroad. To put it simply, if you’re importing from a country outside the EU, you’ll usually need an ‘exit’ (export) customs document from the country in question and, in Portugal, you’ll need to fill in an import (‘entry’) customs declaration. In these cases, in addition to the Vehicle Tax (ISV – Imposto Sobre Veículos, in Portuguese), customs duties and VAT will also have to be paid.
However, you may be entitled to an exemption, but this has to be analysed individually by the authorities and, if granted, will definitely represent a big saving. Quite often, this exemption can only be procured if you enlist the support and expertise of professionals in this area, such as those in the Global International Relocation team. “The exemption request process can be rather tricky, but by far the biggest problem is that most people don’t even know they can apply for it”, they tell us.
To start the vehicle legalisation process you’ll need to have your car documents (vehicle registration and ownership title/ deed), purchase invoice or sales declaration, certificate of conformity (issued by the manufacturer) and transport document (waybill). With these at hand, the following steps need to be taken (and quite a few of them will have to be taken in person):
– Obtain a national homologation number from the IMT (Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes – Portugal’s vehicle and transport authority);
– Get a vehicle inspection to be assigned a licence plate;
– Fill in the Vehicle Customs Declaration;
– Pay the taxes;
– Have your licence plates made;
– Take out a motor insurance;
– Submit the model 9 form to IMT;
– Make the initial registration at the Motor Vehicle Registry Office;
– Pay the Vehicle Circulation Tax (IUC – Imposto Único de Circulação, in Portuguese).
“Each step requires its own documentation, specific fees, values and forms that if filled in incorrectly, can cause a total setback in the legalisation process”, Global International Relocation tell us. “That’s why we have a fully specialised and dedicated team, that monitor exclusively the vehicle import and legalisation processes, and provide all the support and assistance, bespoke to each vehicle, person and their needs”, they add.
Turns out that legalising your vehicle in Portugal doesn’t have to be a headache after all, it’s just a matter of talking to and knowing the right people or companies!