Transfer of ownership
The seller of the used vehicle is responsible for providing the form for the registration of the change of ownership (“Transferência de Propriedade”). The Form 2 (“Modelo 2”) is available from the “Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado” (IRN), and contains information about the vehicle, the previous owner and the new owner. During the sale it should be completed and signed by both the buyer and the seller.
It is the buyer's responsibility to register the change of ownership at the local IRN vehicle registration department within 30 days.
The Portuguese equivelent of the MOT test is the IPO (“Inspecção Périodica Obrigatória”).
The IPO test is compulsory and may only be undertaken by a test centre (“Centro de Inspecção”).
All cars over four years of age must be inspected and tested at an approved garage test centre every two years until the age of seven. From the eighth year onwards, the vehicle must be tested every year.
Light Goods Vehicles (LGV) must be inspected two years following registration and annually thereafter.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) must be tested one year from new and annually thereafter until the eighth year. After it must be tested twice a year.
When you take your car for a test make sure you have
- Vehicle ownership document (“Titulo de Registo de Propriedade”) and Vehicle logbook (“Livrete”) or
- DUA (“Documento único Automóvel”) - the new combined registration, licence plate and log book card
- Owner's tax contribution card or number (“NIF”)
- The previous IPO inspection test certificate
In addition to the normal requirements of a UK test, make sure your car is carrying an approved reflective vest, a red warning triangle, spare wheel and tools for changing the wheel.
When you car has passed its' test you will receive a green paper that has to be displayed on the nearside of your car's front windscreen.
If the car fails the test you receive a red certificate and you have 30 days to re-test.
Road tax (Imposto Único de Circulação, IUC) is paid annually on the date that the vehicle was first registered. Drivers must keep the receipt in the car as proof of payment.
The amount to pay is different for vehicles registered before and after July 2007. Owners of cars registered before July 2007 pay a tax related to the age of the vehicle and its cubic capacity. The tax on vehicles registered after July 2007 also take into account the vehicle's CO2 emissions and the power of the engine.
Road tax can be paid at the local Finanças office or via the Internet at e-finances >
As in the UK, it is a legal requirement to have car insurance. There are the same options as in the UK, although 3rd party tends to be more common in Portugal. You have to display the 'stamp', that the insurance company provides, in the car windscreen.
In Portugal the car is insured, rather than the driver. As long as you have written permission, you can drive someone else's car and be covered on their insurance.
Generally breakdown recovery is included, but check to see the cover you are receiving.
Most towns have insurance brokers, and banks and some supermarkets offer car insurance. Also check for prices on the internet. Search for 'seguro auto'.
Information correct as of January 2011