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Baggage Certificate

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Topic starter
(@traceyjmo65)
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Joined: 2 years ago

Hi

My husband and I have been living in Portugal for 10 months and have completed on our

house purchase this week. We have requested our belongings to be sent from UK where they've been in storage and are facing a nightmare of paperwork!

One question that is causing a big headache is how to apply for the Baggage Certificate from here. On the instructions list it says if applying from Portugal you must get an international cheque (presumably printed at the bank?) and send with completed forms, (though on the Embassy website it says they will ask by email  for payment by bank transfer) but seems to imply that your self addressed envelope for return of certificate must be back to Portugal but our shipping company in UK need it! Can we put a UK address on the self addressed envelope so that the certificate is sent to the shipping company in UK rather than here? 

59 Replies




Posts: 252
Premium Member
(@thunderduck)
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Joined: 2 years ago

Following. I'm trying to figure this out as well. We plan to move household stuff in the fall or winter. It seems to be quite complicated. How detailed does the itemized list need to be? Box of kitchen tools? Or list every item. 

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5 Replies
Community Member
(@traceyjmo65)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 27

@maxgravy Hi, I have no idea how detailed the belongings list needs to be as we packed up 10 months ago so it's listed the way the storage company did it at the time which is big items of furniture etc listed individually and cartons and crates just listed by what was written on their labels by myself. I hope and pray this is going to be ok!

Are you already living in Portugal?

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Premium Member
(@thunderduck)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 252

@traceyjmo65 Yes, we've been living in Lisbon since early April. We're planning a return trip to get stuff from storage. We don't have much to ship, mostly family mementos. A lot of it we'll bring back in our suitcases.

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Community Member
(@traceyjmo65)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 27

@maxgravy we're beginning to wish we had stuck to just personal goods but didn't feel buying all new furniture etc once here was justifiable or affordable for us.

Good luck with your move ☺

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VIP Member
(@old-bloke)
Joined: 14 years ago

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Posts: 2337

@traceyjmo65 

You're cutting it fine as the free importation (no import duty or IVA to pay) of your personal effects only applies during the first 12 months of your residency if not being imported from another EU member state.

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Community Member
(@traceyjmo65)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 27

@old-bloke thank you, I am aware of this. Our residency certificate is dated 16th Dec.

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Posts: 29
Community Member
(@brooks63)
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Joined: 2 years ago

Hi Traceyjmo65, can I ask , did you resolve your query?

We will be in a similar position in a few months from now. We complete on our house at the end of the month and also have the daunting task of that paperwork coming. 

We are of course going to follow the advise of the Portuguese Consulate on their website which is as clear as mud and throws up more questions than answers. 

We are with PSS removals and have a "ton" of stuff to bring over!

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1 Reply
Community Member
(@traceyjmo65)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 27

@brooks63 Hi

Fortunately our storage company in UK have taken the task in hand and are liaising with the shipping company to get the paperwork resolved. No one seems to be totally clear as to what is required as things keep changing! Good luck with your move 🤞

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Posts: 8
Community Member
(@dafnii)
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Joined: 1 year ago

Hello All,

We are still in the UK, looking into the Baggage Certificate now and also find it very confusing regarding how exactly should the belongings be listed in the inventory - very detailed or general? Also it says they need serial numbers of major electrical appliances - what is considered not a major electrical appliance? A toaster? A kettle? Is a slow cooker a major or minor one?

Also as I understand, as the UK is not in the EU the Baggage Certificate is absolutely necessary, right? 

Good luck all with moving your belongings! 🙂

 

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Posts: 10
Community Member
(@bobble)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Following as we are planning to move early 2022 and the baggage certificate seems to be a huge grey area with very little firm information available.

I'd be very interested to know if anyone makes sense of all this!!!

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21 Replies
Community Member
(@susan-marie)
Joined: 1 year ago

Member
Posts: 75

@bobble Hi Bobbie,  Leif and I are in the throws of our D-7 Visa and trying to decide is we can wait to ship our HHGS after we are already in Portugal with a one year lease.  Did you have to go back to your country of origin to get your baggage certificate?  I agree it is very confusing.  TIA  Leif and Susan

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Premium Member
(@thunderduck)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 252

@susan-marie You need to get the baggage certificate from your embassy in the US. The shipping company can help with this. I don't believe you need to be physically in the US.

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 Zoom
Premium Plus member
(@zoom)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 175

@thunderduck We're using GIR, and they have provided very clear instructions on what we need to do, forms we need to provide and the order in which they need to be done, along with the options available to us. In our case since my wife is an EU citizen, we can apply for the baggage certificate at the DC embassy as soon as we have our packing list. The DC embassy requirements seem fairly clear: https://washingtondc.embaixadaportugal.mne.gov.pt/en/consular-services/consular-services/importation-of-household-effects

For non-EU citizens, you do have to wait till you get your residency before you can apply for the baggage cert. This will mean storing your goods in your home country till you get the cert, since otherwise you run the risk of them arriving in Portugal and being charged customs duty (the estimate for which seems to be fairly reasonable - about 10% of value). We were given the option of shipping right away to avoid storage fees, but then paying duty at the other end.

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 Bert
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(@bert)
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Posts: 326

@zoom I don't mean to contradict but this is not true for US citizens. I know several who have applied for their baggage certificate who are just going over on their D7, ie - have not established residence in Portugal prior to leaving. In fact the apostile from the consulate is sent to you in the US. You do run the risk of duty if you are not organized with obtaining the certificados, ie sending things without organized timing and a place to reside in Portugal. You also for many freight forwarders need to agree to take the risk if your belongings arrive before you have your certificado de bagagem e certificado de residencia in Portugal. Also, don't forget to have a NIF address that matches those documents. It is possible and in fact I am currently doing it. I am in the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Consulate and so the freight out of here is already backing up again. I do have a rental already in Portugal, though did not before applying for my visa as I have a sponsor. The new rules (at least in SF) are that you must have a year's lease when you apply for your visa. 

I don't know what the rules are if you have already started living in Portugal, ie -have resident status, and are sending for your belongings within the first year of arrival. 

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 Zoom
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(@zoom)
Joined: 2 years ago

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Posts: 175

@bert I'm sorry about the inaccuracies - thanks for setting me straight! The GIR guys may have said that to avoid the risk of duties if they ship and don't get the baggage cert in time. So it looks like you can either take the risk of duties and ship before you get the cert, or wait and pay storage charges.

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 Donn
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(@donn)
Joined: 2 months ago

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Posts: 32
Posted by: @bert

... Also, don't forget to have a NIF address that matches those documents.

I noticed that requirement, in one of the many stories about what you need (each different!  Did you see the one about registering with the local police?)

I can't associate my NIF with my Portugal residence - I tried, and they denied the request, explaining that this requires SEF title of residence.  There may be a way, I haven't given up altogether, but I'm guessing it doesn't really apply to the customs process.  What they would object to - I think - is if your NIF had a different Portuguese address.  Our NIFs will just say we live outside the country.  But of course I'm just guessing, as one does.  Also going through SF.

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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 1624

@donn This has changed, and you need a resident card to change your NIF address and get a baggage certificate. The alternative is try and lower the tax burden to something reasonable.

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 Donn
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(@donn)
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@jonesdn2020 Really?

The picture I get here is, you secure a residence in Portugal, start the process, and 8 months to a year later - the time it takes to get that card - they see you moving in?

Not sure what you mean regarding the tax burden. Import fewer / less valuable items?

I was interested in the IVA free import partly because it would save a few thousand, but also because it seemed to me that it would likely expedite the process, if no one had to review the contents for value.  But it's starting to look like a situation where likely many of us just forego whatever advantages, in favor of being able to move in a year earlier.

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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
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@donn The process is what you make of it. We moved here 2 weeks after our VFS appointment. 

We sold everything except what we took on two plane trips from the US to Portugal. 

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 Donn
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(@donn)
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@jonesdn2020 I'm bringing my tubas, so there's going to be a shipment.

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(@jonesdn2020)
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@donn Definitely check on bringing them on a flight with you. We found our second flight with luggage was the same price as shipping the luggage.

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 Donn
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(@donn)
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@jonesdn2020 Definitely not - no to flying with large musical instruments, and I have a bunch of them.  My main tuba has a case, and in its case I can barely get it out the door;  I can carry it about 50 feet before I have to rest.  I wouldn't consider checking the tuba in that case, even with some extra bubble wrap padding - there isn't enough protection.  As an item gets bigger and heavier, it gets treated more roughly if only by accident, and it's really a lot more fragile than say a trumpet, for the same reason there will never really be giant ants however much radiation we release.  A decent container would be something like 3x3x5 feet, with a lot of work involved in building it.  (And then I'd also need to ship the case.)  I have several tubas, and other large instruments that are more fragile.

I get that some households could consider paring down until they have only some baggage to bring along.  Others are going to need to ship.

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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
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@donn Have you got a quote from a shipping company? You can find a couple here Moving & Shipping | Expats Portugal

 

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 Bert
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(@bert)
Joined: 3 years ago

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Posts: 326

@donn Hi Don, I am happy to discuss my experience with you. You might want to just PM me. I bought a seat on the plane for my cello when I moved. The advantage was we got to board first, haha. In any case my container made it into the country (May 2022) just as the rules were changing for not being able to change your NIF until your SEF appointment. I don't know where you live in the US but I used and excellent company in the middle of the country despite living in California before I moved. Not one blessed thing was broken and the Portuguese destination agent was equally excellent. Tchau.

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 Donn
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(@donn)
Joined: 2 months ago

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Posts: 32

@bert Hm, I have heard of tubas going that way, too.  It's a little risky, because the crew on board has the final say, and if they don't like the looks of it, your travel plans are going to have to change at the last minute.  Like because the "passenger" looks like it could become a hazard to life and limb in a turbulent moment.  But the idea has its attractions.

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 Bert
Community Member
(@bert)
Joined: 3 years ago

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Posts: 326

@donn I flew TAP. I had to book the seat for my cello through a special person at TAP. The cello had to have the window seat for safety reasons related to passenger exiting should there have been an emergency. I don't know about other airlines.

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 PMH
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(@pmh)
Joined: 10 months ago

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@jonesdn2020 Did you need any documentation for the things you brought on the plane?

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(@jonesdn2020)
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@pmh No but we made sure everything was on the approved list. We brought the same things we would normally bring on a 3-week European vacation.

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Premium Member
(@alleycat)
Joined: 1 year ago

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Posts: 148

@jonesdn2020 Hi Trevor & Shannon, do you have a link or could email me an official approved list of items we can bring, both TSA and Portugal customs. I've read one on TSA, but it doesn't specify whether I can bring the actual wings & skull (old bones with feathers, salt cured) of a dove that was a companion of mine for a decade...very sentimental & hard to leave behind. A trash can at either airport is unacceptable. Oh, the things we must dwell upon...

 

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VIP Member
(@antonio_f)
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VIP Member
(@jonesdn2020)
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@alleycat No clue and when things are not expressly on the list that @Antonio_F supplied you are taking a chance on a customs officer if you get screened.

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