Shipping A Car To Portugal
Typical Shipping Prices – How Much Does It Cost?
- Most auto shipments to Portugal from the U.S. cost from $2,500 to $4,200.
- Cars shipped from the eastern United States are more affordable to ship because there is significantly less distance, as are those that are transported in a shipping container.
Portugal is the westernmost country on the European mainland. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Spain, the tiny country of Portugal once had one of the largest empires in the world. Although it is no longer a colonial powerhouse, Portugal is a popular vacation and retirement destination.
Popular Shipping Destinations
You are allowed to bring a car for personal use into Portugal and drive it for up to 180 days in one calendar year as long as the vehicle is registered in your name and you and your family are the only ones who drive it while in the country. You must also have a valid driver’s license and insurance from your home country.
Importing a Car
If you are moving to Portugal to work or retire, you will need to register your car after 180 days and in order to do this, you will need to apply for a residency permit. The car or motorcycle must also be inspected and be brought into compliance with Portuguese highway standards. This can be done at any authorized inspection center within the country, and the standards vary depending upon the make, model and age of the vehicle. There are somewhat different rules for classic or collectible cars, but any car that conforms to European standards will pass Portuguese inspection.
You will also need to surrender your foreign driver’s license when you apply for a residency permit and apply for a Portuguese driver’s license. Unless you are importing a new car from outside of Portugal, you will not have to pay the Value Added Tax; however, if you sell the car within a year, the tax will come due. One vehicle may be shipped into the country duty-free every five years.
Documents and Registration
Cars in Portugal carry an “All-in-One” Card which serves as vehicle registration, license plate and log book. This card must be kept in the car at all times. When you get your All-in-One card, you will also need a new license plate. You can register your car at any local civil registry office. One snag in the process is that all of the documents you will need to fill out are in Portuguese. Luckily, there are helpful staff in what are called Citizen’s Shops. This is an effort by the Portuguese government to help foreigners open utility accounts, apply for ID cards and navigate the local bureaucracy. It can be tricky to navigate the Portuguese bureaucracy because all of the documents are in Portuguese, so unless you are fluent in the language, it’s a good idea to get some help.
Required Documents For Shipping A Vehicle To Portugal
- Certificate of registration
- International driver’s license
- Vehicle title
- Import license
- Proof of insurance
- Purchase invoice
- Passport & visa
Types of Transport
You can export your vehicle via cargo ship either directly to Portugal or to another European country and drive it there. The most cost effective way to transport your car across the ocean is on a ship either by Roll On/Roll Off (RO/RO) or container shipping. With RO/RO your car is driven onto the ship and secured on the deck. You may not leave anything inside the car when you ship RO/RO. When the ship reaches Portugal, your car is driven off the ship and is waiting for you to collect it.
Shipping your car in a container is a bit more expensive, but you are allowed to pack other items in your vehicle for the crossing. It is more complicated to load and unload a container and this explains some of the expense.
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