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Are we CRAZY to want to move to Portugal in these times? (by car!)  

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Posts: 34
Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 month ago

Hello, planning to move to Portugal at around 7th October, as finally after 2 years our UK house sold.
Family with a 5.5 and 1.5 year old kids.

Difficulty with finding good rental homes in Algarve.
Cannot fly now to see more houses due to UK now asking for 14 day quarantine on coming back. So it has to be done when we're there and stay in Air BnB flat for a week or two.

So now our move there will be 1 way, as it would be difficult to return if something went wrong at the beginning.
Furniture will follow 1-2 weeks later, with the highly rated Algarve removals.

New ambitious plan:
Flying to Germany, buying a nice almost-new car and driving it back to Britain (with international plates & insurance as good price cars and variety is bad in Portugal), and moving with the car on the day (drive through France & Spain or ferry to Santander with a couple of hotel stops)

Is all this possible now with Corona, are there any restrictions driving though these countries? (I read driving from Germany to UK is fine as long as there are no stops in France)
Is it possible to have a problem coming into Portugal from Spain/France?
Could there be a lockdown in Portugal in October stopping everything (e.g. estate agents)?

Any thoughts? Any experience driving though countries these crazy Corona days?

34 Replies
1 Reply
 Tams
Community Member
(@tams)
Joined: 1 month ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 24
Posted by: @itexpert7

Hello, planning to move to Portugal at around 7th October, as finally after 2 years our UK house sold.
Family with a 5.5 and 1.5 year old kids.

Difficulty with finding good rental homes in Algarve.
Cannot fly now to see more houses due to UK now asking for 14 day quarantine on coming back. So it has to be done when we're there and stay in Air BnB flat for a week or two.

So now our move there will be 1 way, as it would be difficult to return if something went wrong at the beginning.
Furniture will follow 1-2 weeks later, with the highly rated Algarve removals.

New ambitious plan:
Flying to Germany, buying a nice almost-new car and driving it back to Britain (with international plates & insurance as good price cars and variety is bad in Portugal), and moving with the car on the day (drive through France & Spain or ferry to Santander with a couple of hotel stops)

Is all this possible now with Corona, are there any restrictions driving though these countries? (I read driving from Germany to UK is fine as long as there are no stops in France)
Is it possible to have a problem coming into Portugal from Spain/France?
Could there be a lockdown in Portugal in October stopping everything (e.g. estate agents)?

Any thoughts? Any experience driving though countries these crazy Corona days?

This type of thing is a conundrum for many of us.  Our thinking was simply to buy a five seater locally here in the UK and drive all the way and then get the car changed around when we got there.

Possibly doing a lot of the driving at night with empty roads (and fuel stations) and having enough tinned food with us so as to avoid personal contact with anyone in hotels etc. Its not the most comfortable solution by any means but it keeps virus risk to a minimum. It would mean trying to find somewhere quiet during the day to get some sleep - but it would also mean that the driving is done when there are colder temperatures and so much easier to keep warm because we are on the move.

A lot of investigation going to be required with this - not least the problems of buying an English car and then having to have it adapted, re-plated for use in Portugal.  I am not sure how feasible it is tbh.

Advice on these matters most welcome 🙂

 

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Posts: 334
Admin
(@gerry)
Reputable Member
Joined: 10 months ago

Hello @itexpert7 and welcome.

If you buy a car in Germany, you will have to matriculate it to Portugal plates after a short period of time here.

I am sure other members can advise the detailed information but I highly recommend that you check out the cost of your specific matriculation before you go ahead. Likely you will have to pay additional taxes.

Indeed cars are more expensive here but if it was simply the case that we could pop over to Spain, France, Germany etc. to buy and import cars into Portugal without additional cost, we would all be doing it! 

Definitely worthwhile to research further before you commit to this plan 🙂 

Regards

Gerry

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1 Reply
Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Joined: 1 month ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 34

@gerry

Hi Gerry, thanks, sure, I've used the calculators, the ISV cost is nothing, 607 euros (powerful plug in hybrid, the way to pay almost nothing and enjoy electric driving)

> you will have to matriculate it to Portugal plates after a short period of time here.
Of course, the car will be on transit plates so within the week of coming to Portugal.

> import cars into Portugal without additional cost, we would all be doing it! 
I know a few Portuguese people and they have done it, through an agent.

But these are not the problems, my worry and questions are about the elephant in the room, the Corona craziness.
Can we do all this beginning October? Might we have problems with borders, virus tests, quarantines?
Does anyone know?

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Posts: 2186
VIP Member
(@x-camone)
Noble Member
Joined: 11 years ago

There's a platform made available by the EU Commission that's advertised as up to date with all the current restrictions.

No current problem driving all the way from the UK through France and Spain.

When the French and Spain / Portugal borders were closed earlier in the year, it was still possible for citizens and registered residents to pass through those countries (including stopping overnight en route) on their way to Portugal.

There was some dissatisfaction previously with the way member states were taking unilateral decisions about border arrangements and calls for a unified response in future, which the Portuguese government certainly was in favour of, having called all along for Schengen borders to remain fully open except in extremis, and then only constrained if necessary by multilateral agreement.

Portugal has never imposed quarantine or tests by law at national level for arrivals from within the EU and some other countries including the UK, although some local authorities had signs up during the "state of emergency" saying all arrivals from abroad were required to self-isolate for 14 days.

There isn't any talk of a 2nd blanket shutdown here - current thinking seems to be that it's under enough control for that not to be required (quite apart from which the economy simply wouldn't withstand it), although some special measures are in place as we're officially in a "state of contingency" and have seen a significant rise in numbers in recent days.

 

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1 Reply
Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Joined: 1 month ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 34

@x-camone

Thank you so much for your advise and fantastic link!
Maybe we can after-all be brave enough to come by car to Portugal.

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Posts: 275
VIP Member
(@shepherdess)
Reputable Member
Joined: 10 years ago

Hi,

The questions I would be asking relate to import tax for the nearly new vehicle as you (I assume) would not have owned the car long enough to be exempt from import tax.

If you buy a car in Germany, will you have to pay import tax/VAT to take it to the UK (I'm assuming you would need to provide a UK address to register it - unless there is something temporary to cover this and particularly as you do not have a permanent Portuguese address to register it to)? UK.gov say:

VAT is usually only charged on vehicles that are new. A vehicle is new if either:

  • it’s been driven less than 6,000km (about 3,728 miles)
  • it’s been in use for no more than 6 months

Also, I'm not sure it would qualify as a temporary import to the UK because the conditions are:

You can usually use a vehicle with foreign number plates without registering or taxing it in the UK if all of the following apply:

  • you’re visiting and do not plan to live here 
  • the vehicle is registered and taxed in its home country
  • you only use the vehicle for up to 6 months in total - this can be a single visit, or several shorter visits over 12 months

You are already living in the UK, so would not be able to satisfy the above.

Then, if you are planning to move to Portugal, will you have to pay import tax again? Further to that, with Brexit there may now be some additional considerations when exporting it from UK to Portugal. This may be out of date now, but it should give you an indication of the cost of importing car taxes to Portugal

https://www.autoimport.eu/car_tax_calculator.php?language=pe   (will that offset any saving flying to and from and buying in Germany)?

I'm not sure how much of this would actually apply in your circumstances, but I would certainly recommend checking (if you haven't already done so, as your attempt to save money could actually end up costing more money, time and effort than it is worth).

Hope this helps.

 

 

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Posts: 34
Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 month ago

Hi, thanks, I already know these things and used the websites and import tax calculators for a number of years.

These days the matriculation/import charge is peanuts, as long as one is wise and gets a plug-in hybrid car (even a powerful 9 month old one costs just 600 euros for the ISV!). As plug-in hybrid reduces the ISV by 75% (a quarter), and the CO2 emissions are usually under 50 grams, ending up very cheap for a powerful (200+ bhp) 6 months old car.
Indeed it has to be over 6 months *and* over 6000km.

Somehow used and new cars are very expensive in Portugal, even said plug-in hybrids, there isn't the competition and online car buying that exists in UK and Germany. For example for a brand new car it's usual to get up to 20% off in Germany or UK. (I got 25% off mine in the UK 4 years ago, but sadly the steering wheel is on the wrong side, so I can't take it with me!).

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14 Replies
Premium Member
(@tygger)
Joined: 3 years ago

Active Member
Posts: 8

@itexpert7

20% discount on a car in the UK? I wish!

I have been considering the possibility of doing what you are suggesting, but when everything is totalled up the numbers don't (for me) work out, the savings don't compensate for the hassle.

The Portugues governmnet have been penalised by the EU for this blatant flaunting of the so called free trade agreements, as has Ireland, but it seems that the fines are far less than tax raised.

I will be very interested to hear from you if you do go through with this.

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Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Joined: 1 month ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 34

@tygger

- "20% discount on a car in the UK? I wish!"

I got 25% on my new BMW in UK 4 years ago! Lots of fantastic online car selling websites. Back then I used broadspeed.com to persuade my dealership to give this discount (it was the special invite only sale weekend also).

- "I have been considering the possibility of doing what you are suggesting, but when everything is totalled up the numbers don't (for me) work out, the savings don't compensate for the hassle."

In my case:
BMW 225xe, plug in hybrid, quite fast car (6.7 seconds!), runs on electric most of the time. New price 56000 euros (in Germany!), more in Portugal. 1 year old price (with 18,000km) 30,000 euros (with full extras, panoramic sunroof, leather, M-sport kit, driving assistant plus with radar cruise, etc, etc, as it's not a desirable sporty car). You can't find a used car specced this well in Portugal. ISV (import tax) is 600 euros (as plug in hybrid reduces by 4, and CO2 is only around 40 grams)

Hassle: 1 night in Germany, plus 2 days driving back, plus 300 euros for international insurance. Dealer gives transit plates. Plus doing the paperwork in Portugal which Peter above claims he done in 1 day.

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 rmpt
Community Member
(@rmpt)
Joined: 1 month ago

Active Member
Posts: 5

@itexpert7 I have imported a car (paid the ISV) and apart from IMTT getting the declaration wrong (2 visits but the second time I didn´t need to queue) and an argument at customs (alfândega) in Faro that I eventually won, it wasn't too painful. In total it probably took 4 days out of my life, including the inspection and certification from manufacturer. There is a very good import company (Faotir) in Faro that will assist you with the process if you want.

I am quite interested in this as my next car will be electric, so I have been looking at prices- is it really that much cheaper to buy from Germany? There are a few of the cars you are looking at for around €33.000 for sale (I guess the spec is not as nice) https://www.standvirtual.com/anuncio/bmw-225xe-active-tourer-i-xe-ID8OPnry.html#b1f38fd263 https://www.standvirtual.com/anuncio/bmw-225xe-active-tourer-i-xe-ID8OTjjv.html#b1f38fd263

In my experience having a dealer warranty is a big benefit here, and you will get an obligatory warranty with a second hand car here.

Good luck!

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Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Joined: 1 month ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 34

@rmpt

Hi, thanks for your thoughts.
The 225xe you linked, is 2000 euros more than the similar age and model cars in Germany I'm considering importing (which is fine as the drive from Germany, 600 tax and paperwork makes up for it), *but* it's base spec, cloth seats, no driver assistants, manual seats, no panoramic sunroof, no camera, not even remote door opening with alarm! (I saw it's missing on the photos!) etc, etc.
For 30,000 the 225xe's in Germany have 10,000+ euros of options which transform the car.
I'm sure a "plain" car in Germany is much cheaper.
On resale the German 30,000 euro 225xe with all these options would sell for 5,000 more, so in money terms the difference is around 7,000 euros, but in real terms the German one is a much better car to enjoy.
(Sadly German cars in Europe are sold very basic and everything is an option, even the alarm 500 euros for a BMW, much worse than these sold in the UK where you have alarm, parking sensors even leather as standard)

Posted by: @rmpt

In my experience having a dealer warranty is a big benefit here, and you will get an obligatory warranty with a second hand car here.

1 year old cars should have international manufacturer's warranty surely? Which is better than used car warranty.

Kind Regards, Michael.

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Premium Member
(@tygger)
Joined: 3 years ago

Active Member
Posts: 8

@itexpert7

The warranty in the UK is 2 years manufacturers with an extra 1 year provided by the supplying dealer, so yes you are corrrect there should be at least 1 year remaining.

I wonder if the Asian car companies that provide 7 year warranties (in the UK) still apply in Portugal, even Ferrari provide a 7 year warranty and service plan for their new models, caveat be very carefull when buying a Ferrari that has just come out of its 7 year warranty 🙁

I've had Beemers and Merc's but never again.

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 rmpt
Community Member
(@rmpt)
Joined: 1 month ago

Active Member
Posts: 5

@tygger

I was thinking along those lines. I have a 5 year warranty with my Toyota and a 10 year battery warranty. Not sure I would have had either if imported it, but to be fair I didn't ask....

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Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Joined: 1 month ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 34

@rmpt

Thank you very much for the company, I will contact them.
Any pointers for importing a car, to help avoid the problems you had?

Kind Regards,
Michael.

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 rmpt
Community Member
(@rmpt)
Joined: 1 month ago

Active Member
Posts: 5

@itexpert7

If you speak Portuguese, and have time, it is not too much of a hassle. My only real issue was at customs in Faro, and that was because of a stubborn employee. And at IMTT, but that was human error, and they quickly corrected that.

I imported a car as I wanted to understand the process, as I am often asked by clients how they can import cars.

I would always use Faotir, they are a good company and take the hassle out of the process. A client of mine has just used them and all they had to do was take the car to the inspection. 

I made sure that the car was clean (engine too) for the inspection, and had just been serviced, so there were no problems. I did have to get a declaration of the engine number from the manufacturer, as the inspector said that they won´t look for it, it has to be easily visible.

As with anything that involves public offices, make sure you have all the paperwork you need before you go, and you should be ok. 

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Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Joined: 1 month ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 34

@rmpt

Thank you!
I will use Faotir, I've emailed them already and they replied with details.

Are you a consultant of some sort with having clients?

Kind Regards,
Michael.

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 rmpt
Community Member
(@rmpt)
Joined: 1 month ago

Active Member
Posts: 5

@itexpert7 I think you will be well served by Faotir. I have a real estate and property management company, so we do get the odd client who wants advice in relation to importing cars.

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Premium Member
(@tygger)
Joined: 3 years ago

Active Member
Posts: 8

@itexpert7

Ouch that's almost a 50% depreciation in 12 months, most cars only suffer that drop in 3 years, no wonder that you got a 25% discount in the UK.

As I'm not going to move permanently to Portugal, my car will be shut away for 6 months of the year, which is not a good idea for an electric vehicle, also I just need a runabout, so I'm looking at a Honda or Toyota, reliabilty is more important for me and I don't think that I would want to drive my Bentley in the Algarve, as much as I like the roads, I would probably be too concerned about bumps and scrapes.

I'm also considering the possibilty of long time car hire, especially as I will be there out of season.

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Premium Member
(@itexpert7)
Joined: 1 month ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 34

@tygger

Yes, the long term car hire is an option, how much will it cost you?

In UK cars depreciate so much (if you look at the official retail price, that no-one wise would pay), usually around 1/3rd value left after 3 years, except very desirable models.
In Europe things are different, especially in southern countries, where people want "gold" for their old banger 😀
A good priced new car in Portugal I found, is a Nissan Qashqai, they have very good offers for the last year, which are similar to UK prices despite the high Portuguese car taxes. And even better they are very well equipped as there are no option lists, just models, so logically they should have stock cars, eliminating the 3 month factory-order wait.

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Premium Member
(@tygger)
Joined: 3 years ago

Active Member
Posts: 8

@itexpert7

I've only just started to explore the longterm rental option, so it's early days, one of the challenges is finding a reliable/honest car hire company, in the past, especially Germany, I have had some unhappy experiences with budget type hire companies, so I now stick with Avis, Sixt, Alamo & Hertz.

As you say the 3 year residual values to depend on Make and Model, apart form my Bentley, not purchased new! we always buy Audis and they are very good at holding their values.

 

I agree that it's best to let someone else take the first years depreciation, but we have bought new Audis on the odd occasion, because the 6 - 12 month price has been very close to the new price.

 

I've been looking at the 3 main sites, Autotrader (UK) StAndvirtuAl (Portugal) and Autoscout (Europe) and although it can be difficult to compare identical models, at the moment there's not a massive difference in the prices, although I like the idea of going to Germany, bringing a car back to the UK and then driving it to Portugal.

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VIP Member
(@peterfc)
Joined: 14 years ago

Famed Member
Posts: 2682
Posted by: @itexpert7

@tygger

- "20% discount on a car in the UK? I wish!"

I got 25% on my new BMW in UK 4 years ago! Lots of fantastic online car selling websites. Back then I used broadspeed.com to persuade my dealership to give this discount (it was the special invite only sale weekend also).

- "I have been considering the possibility of doing what you are suggesting, but when everything is totalled up the numbers don't (for me) work out, the savings don't compensate for the hassle."

In my case:
BMW 225xe, plug in hybrid, quite fast car (6.7 seconds!), runs on electric most of the time. New price 56000 euros (in Germany!), more in Portugal. 1 year old price (with 18,000km) 30,000 euros (with full extras, panoramic sunroof, leather, M-sport kit, driving assistant plus with radar cruise, etc, etc, as it's not a desirable sporty car). You can't find a used car specced this well in Portugal. ISV (import tax) is 600 euros (as plug in hybrid reduces by 4, and CO2 is only around 40 grams)

Hassle: 1 night in Germany, plus 2 days driving back, plus 300 euros for international insurance. Dealer gives transit plates. Plus doing the paperwork in Portugal which Peter above claims he done in 1 day.

 

I did claim to do it in a day in fact i did it in about 28hrs. Started at Customs 10am Monday and finished 2.14pm Tuesday all legal.

 

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