Bringing your car to Madeira

EU Nationals

An EU national moving to Madeira, must register his/her car if one is the holder of the registration certificate, the owner of the vehicle, or a user of a vehicle one does not own (e.g. a family member). One can use your vehicle here while it is still registered in your previous home country. An EU national has 20 working days to register your car in Madeira, following the car import into Portuguese territory. One can register his/her car at any customs office by showing the Vehicle Tax (Imposto Sobre Veículos – ISV) and by submitting the vehicle customs declaration (DAV) with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority.

Please note that if one changes his/her country of residence to Portugal, one has 12 months from the date you transfer residence to Portugal to request an exemption from the payment of vehicle tax.

If one buys a car abroad, transit registration plates issued in another EU country will be recognized in Portuguese territory for the purposes of driving one’s car back to his/her place of residence (temporary importation).

One can only use his/her car in Madeira for the maximum period of 90 days, after the entrance in Portuguese territory, under the condition that it is driven only by the owner of the vehicle.

Vehicles owned by a private individual, who has transferred his/her residence to Portugal, may be exempt from vehicle tax (ISV) if they meet the following criteria:

  • individuals over 18, resident in the country from where are transferring the residence for a minimum period of 6 months, consecutive or otherwise
  • that has paid the vehicle tax in the country of your former residence and did not benefit from any type of reimbursement scheme when left that country
  • owner the vehicle in the country of your former residence for at least 6 months prior to transferring to Portugal, starting from the date on which the vehicle registration document was issued, or from the date on which the leasing contract was signed, as relevant.

An EU national registering and using his/herr car in Madeira, must pay:

  • Resgistration Tax (ISV); and
  • Road Tax (IUC).

The following categories of vehicles are exempt from vehicle tax but must be registered in Madeira:

  • vehicles whose owner has transferred his/her residence from another EU country, or from a third country to Portuguese territory
  • vehicles brought by diplomats who are returning to Portugal

The following categories of vehicles are exempt from road tax:

  • motor vehicles and motorcycles owned by foreign states, diplomatic and consular missions, international organizations, and specialised European agencies and their officials
  • motor vehicles and motorcycles which are older than 20 years or are public museum pieces, and are occasionally used for no more than 500 kilometres a year
  • non-motorised vehicles, exclusively electric or powered by non-combustible renewable energies, special non-carrying goods vehicles, ambulances and vehicles dedicated to the transport of patients under applicable regulations, hearses and agricultural tractors
Step by step
  1. When importing a car into Portuguese territory one must obtain the following documents: registration certificate and the European Certificate of Conformity (COC);
  2. Upon arriving to Portuguese territory the vehicle needs to be submitted to vehicle inspection;
  3. Obtain approval from Madeira’s Regional Directorate for Economy and Land Vehicles concerning the legality of the vehicle’s documents;
  4. Submit all the vehicle’s documents to the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and pay the respective tax;
  5. Once tax is paid the car owner will then receive the new license plate numbers, which he/she will then have to obtain (from an authorized producer) and fix the new license plates to the car;
  6.  Deliver to Madeira’s Regional Directorate for Economy and Land Vehicles the documents produced by the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and obtain the Single Vehicle Document (DUA);
  7. Once the DUA is obtained one must register the vehicle with the National Car Registry;
  8. Once the vehicle is registered, pay the road tax.

translator Miguel Pinto-Correia | fons Ekonomista

Our team at MCS has more than 20 years of experience in assisting investors and expats alike relocating their business and life to Madeira, Portugal. Should you need assistance, in dealing with the bureaucracy, namely from a tax standpoint we are here to help you.

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