Car registration in another EU country – Portugal
As an EU national moving to Portugal, you must register your car if you are the holder of the registration certificate, the owner of the vehicle, or a user of a vehicle you do not own (e.g. a family member). As an EU national moving to Portugal, you can use your vehicle here while it is still registered in your previous home country. You have 20 working days to register your car in Portugal, following the car import into Portugal. You can register your car at any customs office by showing the Vehicle Tax (Imposto Sobre Veículos – ISV) and by submitting the vehicle customs declaration (DAV) through the Portal das Finanças.
Time allowed for re-registering a vehicle
If you change your country of residence to Portugal, you have 12 months from the date you transfer residence to Portugal to request an exemption from the payment of vehicle tax.
To get information about re-register a vehicle previously registered in another EU country (residence transference - tax regimen) go to Portal das Finanças - Serviços Aduaneiros.
For further information on vehicles tax (ISV), contact the customs offices (Alfândega).
Temporary registration plates
If you buy a car abroad, transit registration plates issued in another EU country will be recognized in Portugal for the purposes of driving your car back to your place of residence (temporary importation).
You can only use your car in Portugal for the maximum period of 90 days, after the entrance in Portugal, under the condition that it is driven only by you, the owner of the vehicle.
Ask the customs office (Alfândega) for a Guia that you can show to the traffic police or fiscal authorities.
Exemptions from the obligation to register a vehicle
If you are a student in Portugal from another EU country you:
- do not have to register your own car with the authorities here for your period of study. This also applies if the car is owned by your parents, who are not resident in Portugal.
- this applies for a temporary importation only
- do not have to pay road taxes in Portugal.
To qualify for an exemption you must get a certificate of enrolment at the university (or other school/college where you are studying), which is valid for every 12 months of the duration of your study visit, and the proof of residence in another member state.
If, as a student, you are also working in Portugal, you must have to register the vehicle and pay related taxes.
Pensioners, second homeowners, and cross-border commuters
As EU nationals with a second home in Portugal, you mustregister your vehicles here, if the vehicle remains in temporary importation for a period, continuous or otherwise, of more than six months in any 12 months.
Vehicles owned by a private individual, who has transferred his/her residence to Portugal, may be exempt from vehicle tax (ISV) if they meet the following criteria:
- individuals over 18, resident in the country from where are transferring the residence for a minimum period of 6 months, consecutive or otherwise
- that has paid the vehicle tax in the country of your former residence and did not benefit from any type of reimbursement scheme when left that country
- owner the vehicle in the country of your former residence for at least 6 months prior to transferring to Portugal, starting from the date on which the vehicle registration document was issued, or from the date on which the leasing contract was signed, as relevant.
A company registered in another EU country may keep a company car in Portugal for business use without submitting a vehicle customs declaration, under the following conditions:
- the car must be admitted in Portugal by a company established in another member state
- the car must have a standard registration plate, all types of temporary plates are excluded
- the car must not be predominantly used in Portugal.
The employed must produce evidence that:
- the vehicle is registered in the name of a company established in another member state and that the car has a standard registration plate
- the car owner's normal residence is in another EU country.
You are a cross-border worker, if you work on one side of the national border (Portugal) but live on the other (Spain) with your household, if exist, and return home regularly, using your own car to commute regularly from the country where you live to the country where you work, you can request the exemption of vehicle tax (temporary importation of the car) at customs.
The cross-border worker must produce evidence to show:
- his/her normal residence in the bordering country
- the work you are carrying out in Portugal (e.g. copy of your contract of employment).
As an EU national, if you want to register and use your car in Portugal, you must pay:
The following categories of vehicles are exempt from vehicle tax (ISV) but must be registered in Portugal:
- vehicles whose owner has transferred his/her residence from another EU country, or from a third country to Portugal
- vehicles brought by diplomats who are returning to Portugal
- vehicles owned by employees and agents of the EU
- vehicles purchased by the city council for transporting school-children
- vehicles purchased by the local fire brigade for fire service
- vehicles purchased by the military forces, security forces, or the municipal police
- vehicles purchased by people with disabilities.
The following categories of vehicles are exempt from road tax:
- vehicles of the central, regional, local, and military and security forces, as well as vehicles purchased by humanitarian firefighters associations or city councils
- motor vehicles and motorcycles owned by foreign states, diplomatic and consular missions, international organizations, and specialised European agencies and their officials
- motor vehicles and motorcycles which are older than 20 years or are public museum pieces, and are occasionally used for no more than 500 kilometers a year
- non-motorised vehicles, exclusively electric or powered by non-combustible renewable energies, special non-carrying goods vehicles, ambulances and vehicles dedicated to the transport of patients under applicable regulations, hearses and agricultural tractors
- category B vehicles with a CO2 emission level of up to 180g / km and category A vehicles, intended for hire with driver (letter 'T') or taxi transport
- vehicles seized in criminal proceedings
- vehicles considered abandoned, in accordance with the Highway Code, as soon as they are acquired by occupation by the State or local authorities
- vehicles declared lost in favor of the State
- vehicles used by forest sapper teams that integrate the Forest Fire Protection System.
If you do not register your vehicle in Portugal and it is required to be registered, in order to pay vehicle tax (ISV), you are still subject to these tax and to associated penalties, for late payment and fiscal evasion.