Importing and Registering a Foreign Vehicle

Find out where to get the certificate of conformity (proof of homologation), where to take the vehicle, and how to car onto Portuguese plates...

It is not obligatory to register a foreign vehicle for private use in Portugal for the first 180 days of a visit in any one calendar year, unless the owner intends to live permanently in Portugal.

However the following conditions must be met:

  1. The vehicle is registered in the name of a person who is not a resident in Portugal
  2. The vehicle is brought into Portugal and driven there by its registered owner or keeper
  3. The vehicle is for private use only

Registering a Foreign Vehicle

Before registering a vehicle in Portugal on a permanent basis the owner must apply for a Residency Card (Cartão de Residência) from the Portuguese immigration authorities, SEF (Serviços de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras).

An imported car or bike must conform to the Portuguese road standards under what is termed "homologation" (Homologacão) before it can be registered. The complexity of the process can vary according to age, make and origin of the vehicle.

The process is different for classic and collectable vehicles. It is also different and more complicated for modified vehicles which must be examined at an authorised inspection centre to ensure the work was carried out correctly and adheres to EU safety standards.

Information is available from the directorate general for traffic, the IMTT (Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes Terrestres I.P.)