Brexit - importing a vehicle from the UK to Portugal

On this page: I explain where stands the import of vehicles from the United Kingdom under Brexit.
Last update: December 2020.

Also read: portuguese taxes on cars.

If the current agreements and plans are maintained, the UK will definitely cease to be a member state of the EU on 31 December 2020.

Until that day, any import of vehicles (cars, motorcycles, etc.) from the UK is deemed to be from EU territory.
This means that until the end of 2020, importing a vehicle from the UK or Germany is exactly the same, as it was until now.

From 1 January 2021, any import of vehicles from the United Kingdom to Portugal is considered to be made from a third territory, regardless of any previous status (be it an EU manufactured vehicle or not, being registered before Brexit, etc.).
This means that any import of vehicles from the United Kingdom from that date on will pay VAT (23%) and have no age deduction in the calculation of the ISV (registration tax), paying this tax as if it were new. New vehicles are, within certain rules, tariff free but, until now, I haven't found information about used cars. I hope to have this information in January 2021 when all the tariff databases are updated.
In practice, this means that it will no longer be economically rational to import (without exemptions) any vehicles from the United Kingdom.

Despite this, the exemption given in cases of change of residence remains valid for the UK (and any other country).
If you move to Portugal you can always bring a vehicle with you completely tax-free.

There is still no information about what will happen in relation to the IUC (annual tax).

For vehicles after 2020, what will always count as the date of calculation of the IUC will be the date of Portuguese registration.
However, for pre-2021 vehicles, the law is not clear on whether they will be considered as having the first registration in an EU country on the date of registration or on the date of import into Portugal. Let's see how the law is written:

Category A: Light passenger cars and mixed use cars with a gross weight not exceeding 2 500 kg that have been registered, for the first time, in the national territory or in a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area, since 1981 until the date of entry into force of this code;

If you import a car from the United Kingdom whose first registration was in 2006, when the UK was still a member state of the EU, is that the date considered for the IUC calculation because in 2006 the UK was still part of the EU, or is the situation of the country considered at the time of importation?
In my opinion, from my interpretation of the wording of the law, I think the situation of the country at the time of importation will be taken into account, so any vehicles imported from the UK after 2021 will always pay IUC considering the portuguese date of registration, not taking into account that the UK at the date of the first registration still belonged to the EU.

This is especially important in cases of exemption when moving to Portugal - the exemption still exists on import, even if the UK leaves the EU but, in regard to paying the IUC, there may be a negative discrimination, just as there is today in relation to Switzerland.

Therefore, be particularly careful when importing vehicles from the UK from 2021, even with exemption on import.
On top of this, I would remind you that in the case of cars, the steering wheel is on the wrong side, you will have to spend some money changing some things (headlights, etc.) if you ever need to sell the vehicle it will have a much lower commercial value than a vehicle with a left-hand drive, and you may even go as far as not being able to sell it, because nobody will buy it.

This said, if you have or want to import a vehicle from the UK, do so by the end of 2020 - don't delay it.
From 2021, I would completely advise against importing vehicles from the UK
, except in the case of motorcycles or vehicles other than passenger cars that are exempt under the exception given when you move to Portugal.

08.07.2020. 11:22

FD em 17.09.2022. 17:35

@Marco em 10.09.2022. 19:07

Usually, consulates are only obliged to emit that declaration when you leave the territory where the consulate is situated.
Meaning, if you're italian and you reside in Portugal, when leaving Portugal you can ask the italian consulate for that declaration.

If you lived in Italy and moved to Portugal, this declaration is obtained from your "comune" in Italy.

Marco em 10.09.2022. 19:07

Hello! I am trying to gather all the required documents to get the import done... There is a required document that needs to be generated by the embassy with the official date of change of residency. I am finding this impossible to get from the Italian embassy. I know the British Embassy, for instance, can generate this for British citizens without an issue... The Italian embassy simply won't do it. I don't know what to do... Any ideas?

FD em 26.06.2022. 15:24

@Nick em 25.06.2022. 06:01

For customs duty, as long as the bike is certified as been manufactured in the UK or EU, it's exempt - but you have to have a origin certificate (talk to the manufacturer to get one).

For everything else, ISV, VAT and IUC, it's considered non-EU.

Nick em 25.06.2022. 06:01

Hello again.
When you wrote this article you were unsure whether UK vehicles registered prior to Brexit would be classed as EU or non EU. Has this now been made clear? I have a 1100cc bike registered 2005 and trying to work out what I would pay to import it. Thanks.

Marco em 20.05.2022. 08:45

@FD, obrigado! This site is SO helpful! Thank you for all this amazing work!

FD em 19.05.2022. 15:52

@Marco em 19.05.2022. 13:01

Don't worry, even if that certificate declares (I don't think it does) that you've moved, you have one full year after its date to import your car tax free.

Something more important: get used to always fill dates as DD/MM/YYYY or YYYY/MM/DD otherwise you'll be in troubles soon - for example, I don't understand what you mean by writing "20/12", is it 20th of December? Or is it December of 2020? In the UK that might be straightforward but in Portugal it isn't.

Marco em 19.05.2022. 13:01

Very glad to have found this website! I have a few questions, if I may... we are a family moving from UK to Portugal in August this year. I am planning to take with me my car, as it is an exotic car. From what I read, if I owned the car for 6 months or more before moving permanently to Portugal, I would be exempt of import duties. Car was bought on 20/12, so before I move it would be more than 6 months of ownership, which I believe fits. Now, there is an issue (I think). Earlier this year (beggining of May) I went to Portugal and applied and received the "Certificado de Registro de Cidadao da Uniao Europeia" (I have Italian citizenship). The question I have now is this: Does this Certificado counts as the moving date to Portugal? Because eventhough I have it I haven't yet moved permanently (still an UK resident). I also haven't yet changed my tax residency to Portugal. Is the import process of the car going to be impacted by the Certificado de Registro de Cidadao? Hope not... thank you!!!

FD em 15.05.2022. 20:15

@Nick em 15.05.2022. 09:24

That's incorrect.

Nick em 15.05.2022. 09:24

Thank you for your reply to my previous question. Your comments regarding a RHD car are noted. I read somewhere that if you are eligible to bring your car to Portugal without paying ISV then the 20 day rule does not apply. Do you know if this is correct? Thanks

FD em 21.04.2022. 11:54

@Nick em 20.04.2022. 18:14

Deadline to apply for tax exemption: 12 months counting from your date of move to Portugal.
Deadline to initiate the tax exemption process: 20 work days after the car enters Portugal.

Meaning: within 12 months (at any time) after moving, you must bring the car to Portugal and after it enters national territory, you have 20 workdays to initiate the process (submit all documents).

Don't delay anything - if something's incorrect or missing there's no tolerance for missing the deadline.

My advice: don't bring a right hand drive car, you'll have to own it until the car is scrapped (NOBODY in Portugal buys RHD cars); don't bring any car with a registration prior to 2010 (they pay more annual tax - IUC) and always check the IUC amount to be paid yearly.

Nick em 20.04.2022. 18:14

Hi. When moving from the UK to Portugal using a D7 visa, what is the timescale for importing the vehicle from the UK if wanting to apply for it to be exempt from taxes? I've read that you have 12 months from the date that you arrive in Portugal to apply for tax exemption but I'm not sure whether that means you have 12 months in which to import the vehicle. Thank you.

FD em 18.10.2021. 12:35

@Simon Porter em 16.10.2021. 18:43

Sorry but, by principle, I don't recommend anyone.

Simon Porter em 16.10.2021. 18:43

Can anyone suggest a reputable vehicle agency so I can legalise my motorcycle?

FD em 19.08.2021. 12:32

@Jonathan em 18.08.2021. 21:17

I did understood your reason.

To my knowledge (I can be wrong), there isn't any law or official position that covers your situation, thus, it's business as usual.
So, the problem is: will portuguese authorities understand it? I don't think so, but you can try and present your case. Please be aware that by doing so, you might open a can of worms... be careful. From common knowledge and several testimonies, the portuguese tax authority isn't that forgiving or flexible (maybe because every public servant working for Autoridade Tributária receives compensation for revenue collected).

The actual cost depends on the vehicle's value - I searched our previous conversation and the estimated value was around 6.729,74€ in June 2021 so, by logic, it hasn't changed meaningfully.

Sorry but, by principle, I don't recommend anyone.

Jonathan em 18.08.2021. 21:17

Thanks for reply but you may have misunderstood my excuse............namely I could not get back to Portugal ( from Feb 2020 ) till now, August 2021.

That is my reason for not going through the processes to matriculate : I was not and could not, be here to arrange it all.

Can you give an idea as to what you think it would cost now to legalize ?

And do you know any Agencia worth approaching to ask if they can do the work ?

FD em 18.08.2021. 19:37

@Jonathan em 18.08.2021. 17:34

Yes, there was a COVID-19 period but, almost all services were available, albeit remotely (email, telephone, online portals, etc.).
Even in 2020, for almost half the year, services were physically available.
From my point of view, no, it is not possible to legalise your car by pre-Brexit rules - however, that's my opinion and nothing more.

Yes, as it is now, the car can be apprehended and you may have to decide between legalising it or losing it to the portuguese state.

My advice: sell it as it is (for parts, whatever) or take it back to the UK.

Jonathan em 18.08.2021. 17:34

I am still trying to understand if I can legalize my 2006 [ UK Registered] Clio under the old rules.
The facts are:
1] The car was brought into Portugal perfectly legally in autumn 2019. ( I think I kept petrol receipts and so on. Also I would be happy to make a sworn declaration if that helps.)

2] I myself departed Portugal in Feb 2020, with intention to return a few weeks later to sort out re registration.I left the car in my yard ( I own a house in Portugal albeit I am resident in UK , not Portugal. )

3] The CLIO itself has never moved from my yard since Feb 2020. It has not been driven on the public roads.

4] COVID happened, preventing my personal return to Portugal until now ( August 2021 ).

5] Will I be permitted to legalize the car on Portuguese plates under the pre Brexit rules and if so what will that cost ? Approximately ?

6] Am I at risk of prosecution for keeping the car longer than six months on Portuguese territory, even though I have an understandable excuse for so doing ( Covid ) ? Might the car be confiscated / crushed ????

7] If it can be imported under the pre Brexit rules, are you able to recommend ANY Age^ncias which would do this work, obv. for a fee ? ( The ones I have emailed to ask just do not reply....)

Obrigado para resposta, em ingle^s ou portugue^s ( percebo bem a li'ngua escrita ).


FD em 19.07.2021. 16:59

@Adilson em 19.07.2021. 15:20

You have to declare it at the customs office - both in England and in France (I suppose that's how you'll enter the EU territory).
You'll have to pay VAT.

Adilson em 19.07.2021. 15:20

Planning to take my dirt bike ( no road legal,just invoice) inside of my car from England to Portugal. Just pack and go or any paperwork please?
TIA. Cheers

FD em 16.06.2021. 11:43

@Peter Toms em 15.06.2021. 14:50

That car doesn't pay 1.800€ of ISV, it pays around 8.000€ if gasoline and 20.000€ if diesel.
You are probably using the age discount to calculate the ISV amount but, being the UK a third country, there is no age discount, that's only for cars registered in the EU countries.

As with the ISV calculation, being the country of origin the UK, you'll also have to pay VAT/IVA (those rules you mention are only applicable to EU countries).

The amount considered to calculate VAT/IVA is: price paid + expenses (transport, etc.) + ISV = total * 0,23 = VAT/IVA to be paid.

Peter Toms em 15.06.2021. 14:50


I have found a nice LHD car in the UK for sale and want to bring to Portugal

I am a Portugese resident, this will be a 2nd car, for my wife, I did bring my 1st car in duty free, so do not expect that to happen again as I am about to buy the car now

Car is 1.6L
Value around Euro 3,000
Emissions 180g/kg
Weight approx 1,500kg (under 2,500kg)
Age around 15 years
Do I pay 2 taxes ?

1) ISV (I calculated at approx Euro 1,800)
2) VAT - what rate ? (this is IVA ? )

If I have to pay VAT / IVA then this is my UK value or the value of the car the Portugese decide is appropriate ? On what base do they work the VAT out on

I have also read on another website " IVA (VAT) is only payable if the car is new or has less than 6 months and 6.000km. " Is this correct ?

Or any other taxes ?

I think I have to pay DAV / DUC / Inspection / IUC

Thanks for your support, and I look forward to giving you any feedback I get on the process

Cheers Pete

FD em 25.05.2021. 11:50

@Stephen em 25.05.2021. 09:12

You can also provide a sworn statement written and signed by you.

Stephen em 25.05.2021. 09:12

I arrived by road in 202.
Do I still need to provide receipts and gas? This is for the entire journey through France and Spain.
I didn’t keep these!!

FD em 11.02.2021. 14:22

@Kevin Fitzmaurice-Brown em 10.02.2021. 19:08

If it arrived before 31st December, you can still matriculate it by 2020 rules, but you'll have to prove that (toll ticket, gas receipt with the license plate, etc.).

Kevin Fitzmaurice-Brown em 10.02.2021. 19:08

Does anyone know what the situation is now for used cars from the UK My car arrived in Portugal prior to the BREXIT December 31 st. deadline and I want to matriculate it now.


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