Moving to Portugal from Canada

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Moving to Portugal from Canada
Moving to Portugal from Canada

With its warm Mediterranean climate and mild winters, Portugal has many advantages for Canadians looking to relocate overseas. Whether it’s for work, study or even to retire, Portugal can be the ideal place to live. 

One of the most commonly posed questions among those who are moving from Canada to Portugal is, how do I import a vehicle into the country? While you can always choose to purchase a car when you arrive, you may decide that you’d like to bring your current vehicle along for the ride. 

When it comes to importing a vehicle to Portugal, there are several factors to consider. We’ve outlined all the essential information in regards to taxes, certificates, required documents and more. This elaborate guide will help make importing a vehicle from Canada to Portugal a smooth and easy process.

Why import a vehicle to Portugal?

While the low cost of living in Portugal makes it one of the most desirable countries to relocate to, the price to purchase a vehicle is very high. When compared to other countries and the cost of living, car prices in Portugal are ridiculously expensive. The reason for the high prices is due to factors such as: 

  • Transportation costs. It’s very expensive to have vehicles transported down from the respective countries. Consider how far Portugal is from Germany, France and Italy for example.
  • Higher taxes in the country. 

Price is a major reason why you might consider to have your car imported from Canada to Portugal. In most cases, the exact vehicle you want to purchase will cost you significantly more in Portugal than it would if you bought it in another country. 

Do I have to pay taxes when importing a vehicle to Portugal?

Portuguese law states that you are not required to pay taxes when importing a vehicle to Portugal if you are transferring your residence from Canada to Portugal. The specific requirements for a tax-free import are as follows:

  • You had a valid driver’s license in Canada for 12 months minimum
  • You have been a resident of Canada for no less than 12 months
  • You plan to transfer your regular place of residence to Portugal and will remain on a permanent basis
  • The vehicle has been fully paid for, including taxes. You will be required to provide proof of this.
  • The vehicle was owned in Canada for at least 12 months prior to transferring your residency to Portugal. They determine this by looking at either the date the leasing contract was signed or the date the vehicle registration was supplied. 

Note: A vehicle that has been successfully imported tax-free cannot be loaned, sold, hired or pledged for 12 months after the date that the Portuguese registration number has been assigned. Also, only one vehicle is permitted to be imported tax-free per person and once every ten years. 

How do I apply for a residence visa in Portugal?

If your plan is to remain in Portugal on a permanent basis and you’d like to import a vehicle tax-free, you need to transfer your residency and apply for a residence visa. The most common visa for Canadians looking to transfer their residency to Portugal is the Type 1 visa. These types of visas are issued to people who will be settling in Portugal permanently for: 

  • Independent living 
  • To start their own independent business in Portugal
  • To establish investments
  • Retirement
  • To become independent professionals in their particular field

Aside from submitting for a background check, Canadian applicants for residency in Portugal will also need to show proof of private healthcare insurance that is valid in Europe. Additionally, you’ll need to show that you have sufficient funds to cover the cost of accommodation and support yourself in general within the country. 

To begin the process of residing in Portugal, you should submit your application at a Portuguese embassy or general consulate at least one month before your planned departure date from Canada. In Canada, you can find consulate generals in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Whereas, the Portuguese embassy is located in Ottawa. 

Completed applications along with all the required documentation will be sent to the nearest Portuguese consulate for processing and then dispatched to the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras in Portugal for consideration. All applicants will be expected to report to Portugal for a residency interview with Immigration once they’ve received and reviewed your documentation. 

Once approved, you will be given a temporary residency visa that is valid initially for one year then followed by two successive two-year terms. After you’ve been a resident in Portugal for five years, you are permitted to apply for a permanent residence visa. 

How do I import a vehicle to Portugal?

To import a vehicle from Canada to Portugal, you need to submit the application within six months of the date that you transferred your residency. The application needs to be submitted with the following items and documentation: 

  • A bill of lading
  • An entry manifest or other customs declaration related to the car
  • Proof of ownership such as the vehicle registration documentation
  • Your driver’s license
  • A photocopy of your valid passport
  • The original and photocopy of your Portuguese Tax Department issued Card
  • A certificate from the Canadian embassy indicating that you are registered in Portugal
  • A consular certificate that confirms the dates you were a resident of Canada or, other forms of evidence of residency. These can include utility bills, rent receipts, tax forms, pay stubs etc. 
  • Your Portuguese Immigration Authorities (SEF) issued resident card
  • Completion of these following applicable forms: 22.1101, 22.1100, 11.1020, 21.1069, 21.1070, 21.1065
  • Certificate of conformity from either the vehicle manufacturer or a certified representative

If for whatever reason your application for tax-free importation is not approved, the Customs authority will contact you and require you to notify them within 30 days what you intend to do with the vehicle. If you fail to notify them, they will declare that the vehicle has been brought into the country illegally. 

There are two other things to note about importing a vehicle to Portugal. The first is that all vehicles located in Portugal are required by law to have the proper vehicle documentation. Specifically, you will need to obtain a Certificado de Matrícula (Registration Certificate) provided by the Instituto de Mobilidade e dos Transportes Terrestres.

Additionally, all vehicles over four years old are required to undergo periodic car inspections, or IPO testing at an approved inspection center. Cars between four and seven years old must be tested every two years and cars older than seven years must be tested annually.

Hire A Reputable Auto Shipping Company to Import Your Vehicle And Household Goods to Portugal!

At A-1 Auto Transport, we understand how challenging it can be to file all the legal paperwork and present the appropriate documents when you’re hauling a vehicle overseas or moving your home to Portugal. That’s where we come in! Our team of international shipping experts come equipped with a wide range of customs and import/export process knowledge to make your auto transport experience as effortless as possible. 

If you’re planning to ship a vehicle from Canada to Portugal, look no further than A-1 Auto Transport for the job. Fill out the form at the top of this page to access your free overseas shipping quote. You can also get in contact with our international shipping specialists or give us a call. We’ll walk you through your options for overseas transport of your vehicle and assist you with all the required paperwork!


Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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