Testimony - bring your car along with you to Portugal without paying ISV

On this page you´ll find a first hand testimony of someone who filed an ISV exemption when moved to Portugal.

Reader Luis Pires would like to help people in the same situation and so, described us the necessary process, to date, to file an ISV exemption, when moving to Portugal.

Remember that this exemption is for all persons that move to Portugal, portuguese or not, country of origin in the UE or not - the ISV exemption request is possible for all the people from all the countries.

This is the (amateur) translated transcription of the text written by Luis Pires on the comments section of another page (I´ve slightly edited the text, added links where necessary).

I´m new here and maybe I can help someone with my own experience.

For those who intend to return to Portugal and bring your car with you and legalise it without paying ISV, you should do the following:

  • The car must be in your name for at least 6 months.
  • Get from the proper authorities of the country where you reside a certificate stating that you´re leaving the country, meaning, you´ll be canceling your residence in that country. If that doesn´t exist, the Portuguese Consulate will testify that.
  • In Portugal get a inspecção B (a license plate inspection) - you should have the car´s COC.
  • After the inspection (if approved), you go to the IMT and ask for the homologation number.
  • You go to the Portal do Cidadão and fill the DAV (Declaração Aduaneira de Veículos) online and send it to the AT (Autoridade Tributária), you write down the DAV number and go to the AT office of your portuguese residence (you can see which office you belong to in the AT website).
  • Take photocopies of everything, car´s documents, inspection, passport or citizen ID, COC, some documents of your daily life in that country, utility receipts, rent receipts, etc., take salary slips too.
  • You need to have your address regular in Portugal and be debt free to the AT.
  • After that you just have to wait a few days and pick up the DAV at the AT office.
  • After, with the DAV, you´ll need to go to the car registry office and register ownership.

I did all these steps alone, I had an ISV exemption of almost... 11.000€!

There´s always a catch... in the first year you can´t loan the car, and you can´t sell it for 5 years, or else you´ll have to pay the remaining ISV, you can´t change your address outside Portugal for a year (at least it was like this in 2017).

I´d like to point out that the clerks at the Jardim do Tabaco AT are very friendly, helpful and efficient! Be it by phone, email or in person. Congratulations!

I hope that this helps anyone´s doubts.

Doubts or questions? Use the comments section below.

02.02.2018. 12:01

FD em 24.09.2021. 12:41

@Tom em 23.09.2021. 21:46

You don't have to worry about owning a car in Germany and living in Portugal - no problems or issues whatsoever.

Yet, you can't drive it in Portugal, as long as you're a portuguese resident - there are no exceptions or possibilities other than registering it in Portugal.

Tom em 23.09.2021. 21:46

I moved to Portugal with intention to stay long (many years). I moved from Germany where I left my 2015 purchased car. It's still on german registration plates and I am planning to sell it ASAP. It can stay there on the street free parking spots as long as I keep paying taxes for it in Germany and as long as it's insured. I am wondering if Portugal can claim anything or if I have any obligations in Portugal as an owner of a car in Germany. I do not intend to bring it with me as even if I got the local tax exemption, I would not be able to sell it for another 5 years, which seems like not a smart thing to do (10 year old cars are not that desired, nor in good shape oftenly). I just want to avoid having troubles. I am planning to sell it ASAP, but at the same time I am wondering what would happen if I keep it registered in Germany and I use it here for some time - is it even allowed? If so, are there limits?

FD em 02.09.2021. 12:19

@Andy Tulett em 01.09.2021. 19:11

I need more context to advise you properly.
You're moving to Portugal?
You already reside in Portugal?
Where does this vehicle come from?

Andy Tulett em 01.09.2021. 19:11

Is it worth trying to import a vehicle you've owned for a while to another EU country where import is cheaper. Leaving it registered there for 6 months, and then importing it to Portugal? If so, any ideas where it would be cheapest?

FD em 01.07.2021. 17:04

@Roberto em 29.06.2021. 20:22

As long as you can prove that the car was yours for a 6 month period prior to your move, you're entitled to the exemption - to my knowledge (please do confirm this information), it really doesn't matter if it was yours and your wife's (it's different if it was only of your ex-wife).

The 12 month period starts when you move - you bring your stuff, you rent/buy a house, you start a new job, etc. This date is declared by you and should be provable.
There are no ties between moving and renting/buying a house or getting a new job, so, if you rented in September but only moved in December, your move date is December; if you moved in January and only got a job in March, your move date is January, etc.

Roberto em 29.06.2021. 20:22

Hi there.

I arrived in December 2020 and am also looking to import a vehicle; however, what happens if the car you are importing was registered under your wife's name AND your name, then you got divorced overseas and the registration/title of the car has been changed and is only in my name? Do I have to wait 6 months after removing my ex-wife's name from the registration/title of the car before I can import it?

Also, the 12 months starts the date in which the airplane arrived and you got your passport stamped, not the date when you started your rental agreement, correct?

--based on David Allen's question from 17/7/2020 (below)

I arrived in Portugal from the U.S. on Dec 23, 2019. I did not immediately bring my car. I understood that I have 12 months to get it here and not pay the import duty taxes. Is that correct?

Then read your response:
@David Allen em 17.07.2020. 07:55

Yes, that's correct, as long as you comply to the criteria mentioned above - you have owned the car for more than 6 months prior to your move and you have lived in the US for more than 6 straight months.
You have to supply official documentation (proof of residence, etc.) that can attest this, otherwise, you may not get the exemption.

FD em 23.05.2021. 15:25

@Andy Tulett em 21.05.2021. 21:50

It is perfectlly natural that, after some time, COCs aren't available.

This said, the COC isn't mandatory.
In those cases, where there isn't a COC, you can ask IMT for a procedure called "homologação individual" (165€).

Andy Tulett em 21.05.2021. 21:50

What can you do if the manufacturer refuses to give you a CoC?

Mercedes said they wont give one to a vehicle manufactured in 2002 as its too old.

FD em 26.03.2021. 11:01

@Roman em 25.03.2021. 19:44

The 6 month rule works this way: the car must be registered in your name in your country of origin for at least 6 months before you move to Portugal.

So, hypothetically, if you buy the car today, you'll only be tax free if you move to Portugal on 26th September of 2021.

Date of move to Portugal = the day that you declare that you crossed the border to reside for at least a year in Portugal. This is declared by you when you change your fiscal domicile to Portugal.

You can, of course, buy or rent a house before you move to Portugal, the date that always is considered is the actual date of the moving but, nevertheless, you shouldn't bring the car before that date (you can but it's like opening a can of worms, you can never tell what's going to happen with some overzealous public servant).

Roman em 25.03.2021. 19:44

Thank you very much for the information, it is very helpful.
I have a question regarding the 6 months rule. I'm a long time German resident and plan to relocate to Portugal. I want to buy a new car and take it with me to Portugal. Does the 6 months count until the time I register in Portugal, or until the time I cross the Portuguese border? If I buy a car now, wait 4 month in Germany, drive to Portugal, and register after 2 more months - will I have to pay ISV?
I'll be able to show that I lived in Germany for more than six months and that I had the car registered in my name for six months, it's just that the overlap between these periods in only four months. I would really appreciate any clarification or inside, thanks!

FD em 08.02.2021. 11:50

@Simon Porter em 07.02.2021. 18:20

Please read: brexit - importing a vehicle from the UK to Portugal and import a motorcycle to Portugal.

Simon Porter em 07.02.2021. 18:20

I wish to bring my 1997 motorcycle from the UK to Portugal for my personal use as I reside here in Portugal.
Will it be subject to import tax as the UK has left the EU, if so, how much would I be expected to pay and how would it based on?

FD em 05.02.2021. 11:53

@Philippe em 04.02.2021. 19:32

Yes, ISV is due for any car except the one that you may bring tax free, as explained in the text above.
However, for any car manufactured before 1970, the way the tax is calculated is different.
More information (in portuguese): import of classic cars to Portugal.

Regarding yearly tax (IUC), you may be exempt if some conditions are met: IUC exemption for +30 years old vehicles.

Philippe em 04.02.2021. 19:32

I have 3 oldtimers. Specially 1947. 1953 American cars
I plan to live my retreat in Portugal
Is the ISV due for 73 and 67 years old cars ?

What about yearly taxes for > 50 y-old cars ?


FD em 06.01.2021. 13:32

@Chris em 05.01.2021. 17:45

Yes, that's one of the requisites.
You're better off selling the car abroad.
Thanks for your feedback.

Chris em 05.01.2021. 17:45

Hi - very helpful and concise description but I would add one clarification that I’m currently having a problem. The 6 months in your name is not so easy... I bought a car in 2017 and it has moved with me around the EU. No problem but when arriving in Portugal the authorities ask 6 months matriculation in the EU country immediately prior to Portugal- in my case because the change from Belgium to Portugal was not planned it only had Belgian plates for 4 months - I do face an 11,000 euro ISV for a car that cost 10,000 pounds in 2017.

FD em 14.12.2020. 10:55

@Laura em 13.12.2020. 14:46

As long as you can provide proof of a relationship between you and the leasing company (leasing contract, for example), for exemption purposes, it's considered yours.

But, if the car is leased to a company, that's not applicable - you can't be exempt because the car isn't yours.

Yes, you can import the car up to 12 months after moving. Where you can find that information: alínea a) n.º 2 Artigo 45.º Código ISV.
The 12 months period starts from the moment you move or from the moment your personal id states your new address.

Laura em 13.12.2020. 14:46

Hi! I still have a few questions about importing a car:
What about a company car (that’s being leased)? The car isn’t on me or my husband’s name. But the car will be in Portugal for more than 6 months per 12 months.
Somebody commented that you need to import the car within 12 months after you move to Portugal. Is this information correct? And where can I find this info?
If the information in 2) is correct: when does this period of 12 months start? From the day you get your temporary residency? Or from the day you’re no longer registered in your former country?

FD em 17.10.2020. 15:28

@roamingandy em 16.10.2020. 16:11

No, in Portugal the periodic car inspection has to be done until the exact day of the license plate (registration).
If you let that date pass by, you can still do it but, you can be fined in the road by the police if "caught".
The inspection centre doesn't fine any one.

roamingandy em 16.10.2020. 16:11

@FD Thank you very much.

In the UK you are allowed to drive directly to the mechanical test. Do you know if that is the same here? Or do you need to have it towed to the test?

FD em 16.10.2020. 10:32

@roamingandy em 15.10.2020. 18:38

In think so but, that certification isn't done by a garage.
In Portugal it's done by a "Centro de Inspeções", see here: https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/servicos/consultar-a-lista-de-centros-de-inspecao-de-veiculos

Please be aware that if you drive with an expired MOT you can be fined.

roamingandy em 15.10.2020. 18:38

Due to Covid my MOT in the UK expired.

Is it possible to import with a Portuguese garage certifying it is roadworthy?

FD em 17.07.2020. 09:53

@David Allen em 17.07.2020. 07:55

Yes, that's correct, as long as you comply to the criteria mentioned above - you have owned the car for more than 6 months prior to your move and you have lived in the US for more than 6 straight months.
You have to supply official documentation (proof of residence, etc.) that can attest this, otherwise, you may not get the exemption.

David Allen em 17.07.2020. 07:55

I arrived in Portugal from the U.S. on Dec 23, 2019. I did not immediately bring my car. I understood that I have 12 months to get it here and not pay the import duty taxes. Is that correct?

FD em 15.05.2020. 11:23

@Deb em 15.05.2020. 11:08

If you're not moving and the car is in your name, it's not ISV exempt.
It will only be when you move definitely - until then it's a no-no.

And please be aware that it can't be in Portugal for more than 6 months per year, unless it's given a special permission.
More about this: conduzir um carro com matrícula estrangeira em Portugal.

Deb em 15.05.2020. 11:08


We are from the UK and are in the process of relocating to Portugal.
My partner has already relocated and is living here. I will continue to live between both countries until my contract is up at work.

We would like to import my car from the UK to Portugal. It is registered in my name but I would like to leave the car here so we have a relatively new car without it costing us a crazy amount. I have owned the car for 3.5 years. The car has a 1.2 motor and falls under the yearly £30.00 tax bracket in the UK.

Would we fall under the ISV exemption or not as I will not be permanently based here but my partner will as the car is registered in my name?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

FD em 05.01.2020. 15:42

@Miguel em 05.01.2020. 15:22

Com o livrete do carro (V5C/logbook) dirija-se ao serviço de Finanças mais perto do local onde o veículo permanece e indique aí que pretende pagar o IUC.

Miguel em 05.01.2020. 15:22

Ola boa Tarde, gostaria de perguntar como posso fazer para obter o celo de circulaçao para um carro de Matricula Inglessa em Portugal.?

FD em 04.09.2019. 22:53

@Harry em 04.09.2019. 18:46

As far as I'm aware, Turkey belongs to the EU Customs Union.
Therefore, movement of goods between EU countries and Turkey is completely free.

You don't have to pay any tax in Portugal if you decide to choose this motorcycle to benefit from tax exemption regarding your change of residence, as described in the text above.

Harry em 04.09.2019. 18:46

I'm from the UK, but have been living in Turkey for the past four years. I'm trying to bring my motorcycle (second hand, I've had it more than a year and done more than 6,000KM) from Turkey, riding it from Istanbul to Portugal, where I will become a resident.

Do I need a customs export form (from Turkey) in order to bring the bike to Portugal?

I ask, because Turkish customs have told me they won't give me one unless I ship it. They say I should just to take green card insurance at the border and then return to cancel the registration papers and licence plate at a notary.

I am fine doing that, but will Portugal allow me to import it if do not have the form?

Secondly, I also have to prove vehicle tax has been paid on the bike in Turkey. How do I do that if the bike is second hand?

Finally, does this exempt me from paying all taxes, or do I still have to pay VAT?


FD em 03.07.2019. 12:41

@Rosario em 03.07.2019. 12:01

You're exempt as long as you meet all the criteria.
Please read this for more information: isenção por mudança de residência - condições e procedimentos.

Rosario em 03.07.2019. 12:01

Excellent advice, thank you all
I am a non resident Portuguese national living in London for the past 15 years prior to that I had been living in different countries of the world, I am looking to move back to Portugal and start anew as I recently bought a flat along the silver coast. As I have never lived in Portugal for more than 30 days in the past two years or worked in Portugal , do I need to pay the ISV import tax to bring my car from UK to Portugal or am I exempt from it . Any advice is appreciated

FD em 06.04.2019. 18:23

@Claudio em 05.04.2019. 17:55

If you're moving and you meet the criteria above, no, you will not pay VAT (named IVA in Portugal).
When moving, the tax exemption is total, meaning, you don't pay any taxes (customs duties, ISV and VAT).

Claudio em 05.04.2019. 17:55

This has been very helpful, thank you...
If importing a motorcycle into Portugal when immigrating from South Africa to Portugal, do I pay VAT 23%?
Trying to figure if its better to sell vehicle and buy there or import it...


FD em 21.03.2019. 11:01

@Jackson em 21.03.2019. 10:19

Your translation is correct.
But, please be aware of the c) paragraph in that same article.

From what I read of it, the car could have been purchased in a different country but, it must have been your property (i.e. registered) in your country of origin.

Jackson em 21.03.2019. 10:19

Thank you FD. I suppose it's best to re-register in UK and wait 6 months then...

On article 60 (b) - can you confirm what the first part says? Does this refer to the purchase or the registration of the vehicle "in the country of origin or in a country where the owner has also previously resided"?

b) ter sido adquirido no país de proveniência, ou em país onde anteriormente tenha igualmente residido o proprietário, em condições gerais de tributação e não ter beneficiado na expedição ou exportação de qualquer desagravamento fiscal, presumindo-se tal facto quando o veículo se encontre munido de uma placa de matrícula de série normal, com exclusão de toda e qualquer placa temporária


FD em 20.03.2019. 17:26

@Jackson em 20.03.2019. 16:13

The law states that the vehicle must:
- not had any fiscal exemption/benefit in the country of origin regarding its export
- have a definitive license plate in the country of origin
- have been registered in your country of origin in your name for at least 6 months

There's no mention to what address the vehicle must be registered in, meaning that, to my understanding, your vehicle's UK registry address can be different from your UK address.
This said, I wouldn't facilitate it - I would registered it under your UK address - you never know what an overzealous civil servant is capable of.

You can read the full article regarding this here: Artigo 60.º Condições relativas ao veículo do Código do ISV.

Jackson em 20.03.2019. 16:13

Hi, firstly thank you very much for these resources & replies to comments - very good information available!

I understand to be ISV exempt, my car must first be registered in my name for a minimum of 6 months.

I am a UK resident looking to move to Portugal. My car was purchased in France & currently registered in Germany.

Unfortunately I cannot find information on where (which address & country) my car must be registered for 6 months before importing to Portugal, hoping to avoid massive ISV charges...

To be ISV exempt, does my car need to be registered at my official UK residence address?
Or, can my car be registered at a different UK address (still under my name)
Or, can my car be registered in any EU country (e.g Germany, under my name) even if my official residence is UK?

Will I first need to register my car under my UK address for 6 months before importing - or is the car registration location not important and only the name that counts?

Kind regards,

FD em 14.01.2019. 14:42

@rebecca em 14.01.2019. 11:58

O seu carro com matrícula francesa pode permanecer legalmente em Portugal 6 meses, seguidos ou não, por cada período de 12 meses. O período de 12 meses não é anual.
O carro apenas pode ser conduzido por um não residente em Portugal.

Your car with french license plates can be kept legally in Portugal for 6 months, consecutive or not, in any period of 12 months. That 12 month period isn't linked to a year.
The car can only be driven by a non resident in Portugal.

rebecca em 14.01.2019. 11:58

Eu sou um residente do Reino Unido com casas de férias em Portugal e na França. Eu tenho um carro registrado francês que eu comprei de uma garagem na Inglaterra há um ano e registrei-o do meu endereço de casa de férias na França. Eu tenho uma carteira de motorista francesa. Eu paguei para transferir os documentos para o meu nome, é MOT verificado e atendido regularmente na França.
Por quanto tempo posso legalmente mantê-lo em Portugal e o que devo fazer para cumprir a lei de Portguese? Se eu o mantiver em Portugal durante seis meses por ano, é o tempo calculado a partir de 1 de Janeiro ... ou o dia em que o dirijo a Portugal, Obrigado pela sua ajuda antecipadamente.

FD em 07.12.2018. 10:45

@John H em 07.12.2018. 05:07

O ISV a pagar por motos não é tão caro quanto o dos carros.
O máximo de ISV que pagaria seria 224,49€ + IVA.
A despesa maior seria o IVA sobre o valor da moto, que é 23%, e as taxas aduaneiras.

De qualquer forma, a lei é clara: a isenção é válida para motos, pelo que pode ficar completamente isento de qualquer imposto.

Quanto ao COC, uma vez que a data da primeira matrícula da moto é anterior à implementação da legislação do COC (1996), está isento da sua apresentação.

John H em 07.12.2018. 05:07

Obrigado, este é um guia realmente útil, talvez o mais útil até agora. Minha situação provavelmente será um pouco diferente e eu me pergunto se você tem algum conselho. Espero mudar-me para Portugal no próximo ano fora da UE e espero trazer comigo uma moto porque a possuí há muito tempo. É feito em 1990, então será 29 anos, vou comprar um carro em Portugal depois que eu chegar, então a moto será tudo que eu tenho por um tempo. Eu não acredito que eu possa obter um COC por causa da idade da máquina, é provável que eu possa importá-lo sem pagar ISV? se eu tiver que pagar ISV é possível calcular o que isso custaria para uma moto de 980cc?

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POR FAVOR leia a página toda antes de fazer perguntas que já estão respondidas no texto principal! Obrigado.




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