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Discussion Starter #1
Firstly I apologise, as I am aware that the issue of Portuguese car matriculation has been raised many times, however I cannot seem to find a straightforward answer to my questions anywhere.

I am moving to Portugal in August and really fancied bringing my UK registered car with me (with a UK value of only around £2k, registered in 2000) -- essentially as I will have the remnants of my belongings which have not already been shipped, and the car is a robust compact 4x4, suitable for Portuguese roads...

It does appear that the whole process of bringing a car into Portugal seems like a minefield -- please could someone give me some guidance with regard to the best practice to follow, as well as the possible costs associated with the process as a whole. Or indeed, if I am just better just couriering the remains of my belongings and buying a used (overpriced by all accounts) car in Portugal!

Many thanks in advance for any advice.

:car:
 

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It would probably cost £100 - £150 to ship down the kind of volume of personal effects that you could put in a 4x4 so there is no cost saving with driving down, in fact quite the contrary. Having said that I would drive down and keep the UK car here a long as legally possible whilst you look around and buy something.

You may decide not to stay and want to go back in it !

If you are planning to move down permanently then you are allowed to matriculate one car at a lower tax rate as part of your application for residency. You shouldn't waste that opportunity on a £2k banger especially if it's not LHD. A RHD PT plated vehicle has zero resale value.
 

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The simplest clearest information on importing & matriculating your car is here
Importing cars

If you can't meet any or one of the criteria then it becomes a problem.
Costs
Car new headlights, fog lights, tail/reversing lights, hi-res jackets, triangle
Consulate Certificate €157
Residence in Portugal €15
Someone else will need to help with current Portuguese costs mine are too out of date to be relevant, but around €3-€500 plus agent if you use one, and travel Matriculation is handled at your Regional H/Q's of Customs & IMTT not your local Camra, so it can have a considerable impact and make using an agent cheaper and easier.

One of the things to take into account your UK Vehicle will be subject to yearly Portuguese Road Tax for the year it is matriculated not the year it was registered in UK

Tabela Imposto Único Circulação (IUC) 2011 - Tabela Imposto Único de Circulação - Imposto Sobre Veículos e Imposto Único de Circulação
 

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Discussion Starter #4
MrBife - its not so much the cost saving but more of a convenience thing. I am using tools and equipment for my work right up until the day I leave, which need to come with me. On arrival in Portugal, I have limited time to cover some serious miles to find our accommodation -- and once found, need a suitably sized car to fulfill all that is required in getting the family settled, as well as getting my work environment set up.

Cost comparisons between (1) Ferry and petrol versus (2) Plane/Courier/(Appropriately sized) Car hire (at both ends)/petrol are the same.

So it all it comes down to is (1) Registration of my existing car in Portugal versus (2) Purchase of appropriate used vehicle in Portugal.

canoeman - thanks for the links. Based on what I have found out about the used car trade in Portugal, I am happy to fork out up to €1k to get my car legal in Portugal, however having read a few horror stories relating to extortionate costs relating to tax-free importation requests being rejected, I want make sure I do everything correctly.

Many thanks for the feedback.

For example, the vehicle is actually registered in my wife's name -- will I need to get her to cross into Spain, just to drive it through Customs?
 

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No, but she is the one who has to meet and prove the criteria for tax free (ISV) personal import and then do matriculation, not you.
Successfully importing is not difficult, it's all about planning and having the necessary and correct paperwork. one of the most important being CoC. Oh and of course a friendly Customs man:)

Incidentally if you kept car here for the allowed 183 days you are not allowed to use it to earn income of any sort
 

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For example, the vehicle is actually registered in my wife's name -- will I need to get her to cross into Spain, just to drive it through Customs?
Driving across the border is no problem as it is no longer manned. Very rarely is a private car stopped.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It is sounding more and more that a good agent is recommended when addressing the whole process.

Can anyone pass me the details of a reputable agent, preferably in vicinity of the Silver Coast / Porto, who can deal with this for us?

Many thanks.
 

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You need to be more specific, Silver coast goes from Porto South to Lisbon, If your looking for an Agent they tend to be localish to where you are, but Matriculation is done at Regional Centre's so for Silver Coast you have could have 5 possible Regions.
 

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Hi,
I imported my car recently and the following is basically correct.
I'd never do it again regardless of the savings.
try olx.pt to check car prices they've started to fall over the last year.
The only thing it doesn't mention is that a UK car here is subsequently very difficult to sell, and depending on engine size, co2 emissions etc you can end up paying a hugely inflated annual road tax - based on the import date / co2 emissions not the age of the car.
For example i imported a mercedes and my anual road tax is 550 euros per year, for the same model/age Portugueses car its 50euros per year - be careful especially with an older large engine car that you expect this.
There are lots of agents here who will help you with the process - most charge around 500euros
If you do it yourself the costs are approx 200euros +time, effort, several visits to customs / imtt/ ipo etc
Plus whatever you have to spend on your car, headlights etc to make it legal.
If you'd like any further info please send a pm.

how to do it - info copied from heyportugal
It is possible to import a vehicle to Portugal from the UK or other EU country without paying additional taxes, provided the vehicle has been fully tax-paid in your former country of residence, and you have been the registered owner of the vehicle in your former country of residence for at least 12 months.

Before embarking on this procedure, be aware this can be a lengthy process with a large amount of paperwork involved. It is possible to employ an agent to undertake this, but their costs can be considerable. This article therefore includes criteria to be met and steps to be taken in order to minimise the time and inconvenience involved.

To commence, you must:

a) transfer your residency status to Portugal. If you do not transfer your residency, then you cannot import a vehicle tax-free. See steps (1) and (2) below for details.
b) lodge an application to the Alfandega (Customs Office) with jurisdiction for your area of residence. This should be done within 6 months of the date on which your Portuguese residency commences. Your contact should be the Head Office for your area, which may involve quite a few kilometres to be travelled.

Paperwork required:

1. Original of your “Atestado de Residencia”. Obtained from your local Junta de Freguesia. Cost approx. €3.
2. A copy of the certificate of transferring your residency ( Certificado de Registo de Cidado Da União Europeia). Obtained from your local Camara. Cost approx. €7.
3. Consular certificate. Persons previously resident in the UK should request a “Certificate to Import a Vehicle” from the UK Embassy in Lisbon. All contact can be via telephone and e-mail, with the Certificate being posted to you. You will be required to provide :
- proof of UK residency for the previous 12 months eg utility bills, council tax payments or similar - its important to have bills showing right upto the day you leave England, and proof of arrival in Portugal the following day
- your passport,
- certificate of residency (see 2. above).
Cost is €85. Persons from other European countries should contact their own Consulate for details.
4. Registration Certificate for the vehicle – original + 3 copies.
5. Proof of residency in the UK (or other EU country) for at least 12 months prior to transferring your residency, eg, copies of payslips, water bills, electricity bills. Although provided in (3) above, the Alfandega will also require these.
6. 2 copies each of : your passport, fiscal number paperwork, and driving licence
7. Certificate of Conformity for the vehicle. Available from the vehicle manufacturer (this can be done prior to leaving your former country of residence). Request a copy in Portuguese and one in your native tongue; this will be crucial in assisting you to complete required paperwork. There may be a charge for this certificate.
8. IMTT form Modelo 9. Complete the details for “Requerente” and “Características do veículo”. The form must be taken to a vehicle inspection (see (9) below) and the “Inspecção” section completed. It must also be taken to your local IMTT office for their official stamp.
9. Inspection Type B. Click on Tipo B to find your nearest IPO station (like UK MOT centre). Please note that Inspection centres will not undertake any necessary works, they are inspection centres only. Prior to inspection:

- ensure your vehicle corresponds to the Certificate of Conformity eg ensure that any after-market alterations, such as wheels, are the correct size.
- UK right-hand drive vehicles will require headlights (and fog lights if applicable) altered for driving on the right-hand side of the road
- ensure that you have a Hi-Viz warning vest and a Portuguese Warning Triangle. Inspectors will check this.

If in doubt, check with a local garage first. The actual inspection costs approx. €68.

In addition, you will be required to purchase and complete the following forms from the Alfandega :

a) Mod 221100
b) Mod 211063 (for Alfandega use only)
c) Mod 221101

These cost under € 3 and are self-explanatory. These forms ask for personal details, and vehicle details which can be copied from the Certificate of Conformity.

The Alfandega will also provide you with, and ask you to complete, a “Declaration of Value” for your vehicle” and an “Authority for Consultation”.

Once all documents have been completed and received by the Alfandega, your case will be considered, and a decision sent to you in writing.

If successful, you must not sell the vehicle within 2 years (we are couble checking this as 2 different time periods have been quoted).

If unsuccessful, you may either pay the required customs duty, or take the vehicle out of Portugal. Your intent will require to be declared to the Alfandega within 30 days of their decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I guess I was looking for recommendations first and foremost, but if it more of a regional thing then I am looking for something around the Lourinhã Municipality - which I guess falls under Lisboa/Leiria regions.
 

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Just to update some of Stevs's info as posted

Registering Residence is now 15€ per person
Consulate Certificate now 157€ (note 6 month matriculation window is from date Consulate say you leave UK enter Portugal not the date you Register Residence)
Ownership time is 12 months from date of matriculation, which means if you sold car before that time you would be charged ISV tax + other costs
 

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An agent might be able to use a different centre but personal applications for matriculation are handled by the Regional Custom Office of the Region you live in so Lourinha comes under Lisbon, but the actual office is Peniche which also handles most of Leira Region as well.

I double checked ownership after Matriculation and it is 12 months , there are two additional points as well (learn something new every day)
It is considered a criminal and administrative offence if sold within the 12 month period
and
You must be a Portuguese Resident for a period of 1 year
and
if then sold within 5 years appears to be a sliding scale of tax calculated at ISV rates at date of matriculation.
Need to check this next time i see my Customs friend.
 

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It's just part of the main Portuguese Customs site AT
car imports whether ISV free or otherwise top right under FAQ (wonder why:))
Imposto Sobre Veículos, translates well in Google Chrome, covers both import options.
 

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Doing the right thing ?

I guess I was looking for recommendations first and foremost, but if it more of a regional thing then I am looking for something around the Lourinhã Municipality - which I guess falls under Lisboa/Leiria regions.
Hi CoastalB,
Good to se someone from Bournemouth is considering moving here ! Just makes me more certain I did the right thing. You can get better "Cherry"picking here though !
I am not about to condone what I am about to say but ... there are many ,many and more people here driving UK cars on UK plates who have not gone throuigh the matriculation process who just happen to go back to UK when their insurance and tax/MOT is due. Perhaps they are on long holidays or come here very frequently ...or perhaps not. Some of these cars were here when I arrived in 2003. As I say I am not advising you what to do but I think you will have time to find a reasonable car within the "timescale" without having to panic into making a mistake. I started out down the matriculation process but abandoned after 3 visits to the customs and IMTT etc.etc. I had to take back a newish jeep to Blackbush auctions ( which I guess you will know) and lost a lot of money.No chance of selling here and no decent offers from car dealers in UK.Cars are more expensive here but they tend to hold their value better than in UK.
I bought my first portuguese car after 18 months here and have changed 3 times since with no real problems.
 

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Yes and I'm sure we all know at least 2 or 3 overstayers, one of ours got swept up last year, 2 options around 13,000€ to matriculate with fines etc, or get it out of the country, he chose the latter, and should really count himself lucky because no one bothered to check his licence that had not been registered or exchanged, where all waiting now for Financas to realize he doesn't file returns either and runs a holiday lets operation.
Considering Portugal's current difficulties then I personally think that expats who follow this cherry picking approach are asking for trouble, as we are very easy targets.
 
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