Importing a Car into Portugal

Jaguar Car Portugal

Dave is an expat living in Portugal since 2018. Below he shares his story of importing a car into Portugal.

“I thought fellow Expat Portugal users might be interested in my experiences of registering (matriculating) my Jaguar abroad – to Portugal from the UK. It would be interesting to know about other experiences of exporting and re-registering a car which can be shared in our forum pages.

These were the steps.

  1. Move to Portugal with the car.
  2. Open a Portuguese bank account
  3. Get a Portuguese Fiscal number (this is a personal tax number, needed for just about everything)
  4. Buy (or rent) a house
  5. Get a Portuguese phone number (oddly enough, frequently requested)
  6. Obtain Portuguese residency (a whole ´other game)
  7. Obtain the services of a matriculation specialist (definitely advised, though not essential)
  8. Provide the specialist with:
  • proof of residence in Portugal
  • Passport
  • proof that you have lived in the UK for a minimum of 6 months (or is it a year – my memory fails in this as in many other issues,,,,)
  • proof that you have owned the car for a minimum of 6 months
  • Driving licence – at the time, a UK licence.
  • Fiscal number
  • Bank statements
  • Certificate of Conformity from Jaguar. This cost a mere (!) 100 pounds. Must have entailed a lot of work.
  • UK Car registration document
  • and, eventually, 400€
  1. Go to the Consulate in Lisbon, together with all of the above stuff, just in case, and a few more euros. Swear something in front of an official, – something to do with having lived in the UK – and go away with an official piece of paper.
  2. Put right-hand dip headlights on.
  3. Take the car to a test station, having located the position of all three VIN numbers (they insist on seeing them all) and have a special importation test. Not too pricey, and very efficiently done.
  4. Obtain the document and windscreen note confirming that the test is passed, Take the certificate and the consulate letter to the matriculation specialist… wait a bit…
  5. Finally, you have the livrete, which is the Portuguese logbook. Take that to a garage or car spares shop and have plates made up.
  6. Drive away!

If I had not arranged the importation of the car at the time of entering the country I would have been hit with an import tax of close to 30,000€ (Yes, this is not a mistype). All motoring in this low-wage country is expensive, though, with fuel and annual road tax costlier than the UK. The XKR road tax is a massive 950€ PA though a change in the rules next year should more or less halve it.

Was it worth it? Yes! The car receives a lot of warm attention, and I have been told that Jaguar has greater status here than cars such as Aston Martin and Ferrari… quite right, too! The metallic green shimmer of the paintwork is stunning under the bright Portuguese sun. The roads are well maintained and smooth, and often with very little traffic, if you disregard the cobbles in many towns and cities, so driving is a real pleasure. But some of the driving here is, shall we say, erratic, so I have a constant concern about the lack of safety margin often employed, such as overtaking just before a bend or a no-overtaking stretch, and tailgating is a must, and the use of indicators is not reliable.


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  1. […] We bought a little farmhouse near Cabacos which needed a lot of restoration and although we could not move out immediately as we still had commitments in the UK we started planning early retirement and works that needed to be carried out. My brother has lived in Portugal for 45 years and so we had a huge amount of help with all the paperwork involved in buying a house, fiscal numbers, residency, NHR and matriculation of the car. […]

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