Shipping to Portugal


Information on Shipping to Portugal

Portugal is the perfect destination, offering history, culture, affordability, long sunny days and sunsets to remember and some of the finest fish and shellfish you will ever taste. Therefore, if you are planning to live in Portugal it is important to know how shipping to Portugal works for your household goods, vehicles, the regulations and tips for a better shipping process.

The name Portugal comes from the ancient name of Oporto, from Latin “Portus-Galliae” Port of Gallia, due to the ships that frequently used this port and is known as the country of ports. The port of Lisbon is the main maritime terminal for shipping to Portugal on the Atlantic ocean whilst 32,000 hectares of basin makes it perfect for any size of ocean bound transportation.


Shipping Personal Goods or Cars to Portugal:

You will require the following documentation:

  1. Commercial invoice
  2. Bill of lading
  3. Certificate of origin

For personal goods under 1000kg or up to €1000, you will need a verbal declaration and invoice presented to customs.


For higher value items, you will need the following:

Declaration of the goods

A common law declaration (SAD, single administrative document), as well as the accompanying documents to allow their clearance. The SAD form can be obtained from Chambers of Commerce or an approved printer.

A computerised Customs clearance platform (SOFI: International freight computer system) can be accessed in Customs offices or in some Chambers of Commerce.

Duties on imports from non-EU countries, including the United States, are taxed on an ad valorem basis. Most raw materials enter duty-free or at low rates, most manufactured goods are subject to rates between 3.5 and 18%.

The minimum tariff schedule is applied to goods originating in countries entitled to the benefits of most-favored nation treatment (members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and countries with which the EU has signed trade agreements).

Special tariffs exist for tobacco, alcoholic beverages, petroleum and automotive vehicles.

Also, note that importers in Europe must pay the value-added tax (VAT) in full at the time of importation from a non-EU country, in Portugal VAT/IVA is currently 23%. Imports from EU countries only pay the IVA when a product is sold.


Bringing a car into the country

  1. A certificate of compliance or Form 1402 issued by the Direcção-Geral de Viação (Portuguese DVLA) confirming that the vehicle has undergone an inspection.
  2. Your driver’s licence.
  3. Evidence that you have applied for a residence permit.
  4. Your taxpayer’s identification card, together with 3-years’ original tax returns or a declaration from the tax office in your area of residence attesting to the amount of income earned in Portugal over the previous three years
  5. A certificate of cancellation of residence issued by the competent authority in your former country of residence. (If, as in Britain, there is no such authority, the Consulate will issue a certificate on production of evidence that an application has been made for a residence permit).


The authorities may ask for further documentation, as necessary, so it is advisable to contact them in the first instance for an application form, a list of the supporting documents required and the applicable fees. Once your application has been formally submitted, the customs authorities may issue a limited-validity authorisation (guia de circulação) which will enable you to use your vehicle while the application is under consideration.

A motor vehicle that has been imported in this way may not be sold, loaned, pledged or hired for a period of 12 months following importation. In addition, it may only be driven by its registered owners or keepers and their immediate family. Only one vehicle may be imported tax-free per person once every five years.


For Residence in Portugal, tax free

  1. The vehicle is for private use only
  2. The registered owner of the vehicle is transferring his residence from another EU member state where he has been resident for at least 185 days
  3. The vehicle was purchased fully tax-paid in its registered owner’s former country of residence
  4. The vehicle has been used by its registered owner in his former country of residence for at least six months


Cost of Shipment

The costs will vary depending on which country you are shipping from. If you are shipping from the USA, A-1 Auto Transport states that the costs will range from $2500 to $4200.


Importation Procedure

You should submit an application within a maximum of 12 months of arrival, to the customs office.

You will need the following:


MOT Testing and Certificates

An MOT testing is obligatory in Portugal for all vehicles over four years old. Cars aged 4-7 years must be tested every two years and thereafter every year. The test (Inspecção Periódica Obrigatória – IPO) must be carried out at an approved garage.

The garage is required to request the following documentation before carrying out the test;

Vehicle’s ownership document (Titulo de Registo de Propriedade).
Logbook (Livrete).
Owner’s taxpayer’s identification.

A stamp confirming that the vehicle has endured (and passed) the test will subsequently be issued. This should be displayed below the insurance stamp, in the upper right-hand corner of the vehicle’s windscreen. Make sure you choose a company that is reliable, choose a transport system that works better for you, when choosing from maritime, air transport or land. Keep in mind all the countries regulation so that you have no delays. Finally, don´t forget to ship your sunglasses!

This “Shipping to Portugal” article was written by Melissa Villalobos.



When moving to another country one should consider consulting a competent lawyer and tax advisor. For recommendations to licensed professionals contact Living Portugal Property.

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