Importing and Registering a Foreign Vehicle

Find out how to import a car to Brazil and get it registered on the roads...

Vehicles may be brought into Brazil in one of two different ways:

  • A temporary entry permit
  • Importation

Note: It is not possible to import a used vehicle to Brazil that will not be used on public roads, with the exception of vintage cars.

If the car owner is not in Brazil, they should contact the nearest Brazilian Consulate in their place of residence for the documents specified below. If in Brazil, the required documents may be obtained from the individual organizations specified below.

A temporary import will be completed at the point of entry into Brazil. The information below is meant as a simplified guide to what is an extremely complex process for both temporary entries and for importation.

Failure to satisfy all the requirements will result in the vehicle being refused entry or the vehicle being impounded by the customs authorities.

Note: Importing a new vehicle on a permanent basis into Brazil is an extremely complicated process; it is highly recommended to use the services of a despachante for assistance.

Despachante

Despachante is the term used throughout Brazil for a professional who works in the area of vehicle documentation and registration on behalf of a vehicle owner.

A despachante can apply for new or lost driving licenses, register vehicles and oversee transfer of vehicles from one person to another among many other functions.

Importing a New Vehicle Into Brazil

Importing a vehicle into Brazil is a complex process and will almost certainly require the assistance of a despachante (administrative facilitator) or advogado (lawyer) specializing in this area. A tax must be paid, as well as various administrative charges.

An individual may import a new vehicle for non-commercial purposes on a permanent basis by obtaining the following documents/authorisations:

  1. Before importing the vehicle into Brazil, the individual or their representative must obtain a Configuration License (Licença para Uso da Configuração do Veículo ou Motor - LCVM) from the Brazilian Environmental Protection Agency (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis - IBAMA).
  2. A certified copy of the LCVM must then be sent to the National Transport Department (Departamento Nacional de Trânsito - DENATRAN), who will issue a Certificate of National Transport Law Compliance (Certificado de Adequação à Legislação Nacional de Trânsito - CAT).
  3. The next step is to register for an Import License (Licença de Importação - LI) at the Sistema Integrado de Comércio Exterior - Siscomex. To do this, the importer or their official representative should go directly (or through an organization authorized in Brazil to conduct commercial exterior operations, such as Banco do Brasil S.A.) to the International Commerce Department (Departamento de Operações de Comércio Exterior - Decex) with an authenticated copy of the Certificado de Adequação à Legislação Nacional de Trânsito - CAT.

Once all of the above steps have been carried out, the Ministry of Overseas Industrial and Commercial Development (Ministério do Desenvolvimento Indústria e Comércio Exterior - MDIC) will analyze the application and authorize the Import License.

Upon authorisation of the Import License, the vehicle can legally enter Brazil. The importer must then register a Declaration of Importation (Declaração de Importação - DI) with Siscomex.

The Tax Office (Secretaria da Receita Federal) and the Ministry of Finance (Ministério da Fazenda) will verify that the information on the Declaração de Importação (DI) conforms with the import market legislation, and that all documents submitted are correct. It is these organizations that ultimately decide that the vehicle can be collected. Once this has been decided, the importer can collect the vehicle from the point of entry or the point of delivery.

  • For further information from the Brazilian government on importing new vehicles to Brazil: Click here

Importation of special vehicles

In certain cases, for example for bullet proofed vehicles (blindados; a growing market in Brazil), it will be necessary to obtain authorisation from the Military Command (Comando do Exercito - Comexe).

Or, in the case of vehicles equipped with medical facilities, the National Health Agency (Agencia Nacional de Vigilancia Sanitaria) must issue an authorisation. The Ministry of Agriculture (Ministerio da Agricultura, Pecuaria e Abastecimento - Mapa) must issue authorisation for imported tractors.