Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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All About Cars - An Overview

In this section we will try to unravel some of the myths about cars in Portugal.


However please note that this subject is complicated and before making any decisions you need to check this information. The rules here are changing all the time and even though we will endeavour to keep this information up-to-date we cannot guarantee that it is. This is the latest information we have in April 2013.

Taxes & Terms Explained

ISV (Imposto Sobre Veículos)= Vehicle Tax, also referred to an Importation Tax This replaced IA in 2008

IA (Imposto Automóvel) = Automobile Tax
Since 1988 IA has been charged; this is what you indirectly have to pay when you buy a new car. The importer pays it to the government and includes it in the final price. This importer is you if you bring in a car from outside Portugal.
One of the reasons why this tax is so criticized in Portugal is because it is subject to IVA (added after ISV has been calculated) therefore double taxation.
When you buy a new car you pay: car's base price + ISV + IVA

{ln:carroadtax 'IUC} (Unico de Circulção) = Annual Road Tax

IVA (Imposto Valor Acrescentado) = VAT currently 23% in Portugal

IPO (Inspecção Périodica Obrigatória) = MOT

GNR/PSP Roadchecks

You are required to produce you car registration document, your insurance certificate, IUC receipt, your drivers licence and also your Fiscal Number; when stopped by the GNR or PSP. They will sometimes ask for Passport but if you have a photocard driving licence this is acceptable in Portugal as Identification (Bilhete de Indentidade).

Driving Licences

If you are a resident in Portugal you are required to eith change to a Portuguese Driving Licence or to register your EU one with the IMTT.


You are required by law to have Third Party Liability Insurance.
If you want more than this eg Fully Comprehensive then please check with your insurer that this is covered by your policy.

If your car is more than 8 years old it is unlikely that you will get more than Third Party Only. Check your policy, you might be surprised and think you have more.

IPO Inspections

The IPO test is a rigourous test of a vehicles roadworthiness and is carried out at independent, authorised IPO centres.

New cars need to be inspected after 4 years, then every 2 years. Cars over 8 years old need to be inspected every year. There are no exemptions for classic cars.

Importing v Buying a Car??

It you are thinking of bringing a non-Portuguese registered car into the country and keeping here for more than 6 months then you need to think about it before you get here. So Where do you start?

In Portugal the first thing you need to realise is that "IT IS COMPLICATED" as long as you understand this you have a good starting point.

The subject of Matriculating (registering) your imported car has been split into 2 separate articles as there are two very different processes.

Option 1, if you have owned a car in another EU country for at least 12 months then you are entitled to bring it into Portugal without paying the importation duty (ISV) but you will still have to pay for the matriculation process and comply with ALL the requirements. We have tried to include as much detail as possible in our atricle about Importing a Car without paying Tax.

Option 2, if you do not comply with all the requirements in Option 1 and you still want to import the car then you need to look very carefully at the article {ln:carwithtax 'Importing a Car & Paying Tax!} IT IS NOW A VERY EXPENSIVE PROCESS!

Option 3, sell or leave your car in your home country and buy a Portuguese car here. This may seem expensive but when you consider option 2 it is often the cheaper option overall and certainly the most simple of all 3 options.
Find the car you want, do the deal then go to your local Conservatoria to get it re-registered into your name. That's It...

Travel and Transport Pages

  • The Use Of Car Indicators in Portugal +

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  • Cheap Fuel Prices in Portugal +

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  • Importing a car into Portugal – Tax-Free Option +

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  • All About Cars - An Overview +

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