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print article131-E Car Issues




 Cars that were registered or changed ownership before November 2005 will have to documents, Titulo de Registo de Propriedade (blue) and Livrete (green). After November 2005 a new document “Documento Único” was introduced to substitute these too which will be done gradually as the cars are re-registered. The Police may ask for these to be shown at any time. They are also required for taxing your car annually, for the roadworthiness tests, and when you come to sell.


Different organisations are responsible for issuing these two documents. The Motoring Institute of Road Transport (IMTT) maintains records of all motor vehicles and issues the vehicle registration number (matrícula do veículo). Your local Civil Registry (Conservatória do Registo Automóvel) maintains registers of ownership. It is the Registry that issues the ownership registration document (Documento único).


MOT car inspection Document, Insurance Green Card (Carta Verde) and Annual car tax proof of payment are the complementary documents you must carry always in the car. 


New car registration  The easiest way of acquiring a car with valid registration documents is to purchase a new vehicle from an authorised agent who will register the vehicle for you. When you receive the car they will provide temporary documents which are valid until you receive the originals by post. This way of buying a car brings the added advantages of having the manufacturer’s agents close by to provide service and guarantee repairs, gives ready access to spare parts (cars from other countries often have slightly different spare parts), and as the model will be recognised it will have a higher second-hand value. 


Imported cars  Registering an imported car is more complicated. Import agents or the Automobile Club (ACP Automóvel Club de Portugal) can assist with the process of obtaining the first vehicle registration document and ownership registration. This is described in more detail in Bulletin M/04/E Importing a car. 


Transferring ownership  To transfer the ownership of a vehicle requires substitution of both vehicle and ownership registration documents. Bulletin M/05/E Buying and Selling Cars gives further details.  However, your name will remain on the central register of owners until the substitution is complete. You may remain liable for accidents and infringements of the Highway Code unless you can show that transfer of ownership was initiated beforehand. 


Replacing lost documents  Loss or damage of either of these documents can make life very difficult as you will be unable to drive your car legally. Fortunately replacement is fairly simple, especially if you have kept photocopies in a safe place. The ACP, driving schools and other agents can assist but insist that they provide the original receipts from the IMTT and the Civil Registry as these can be used as substitutes of the original documents. 


To obtain a substitute of the vehicle registration document you have to go the regional office of the IMTT. They will need to see your identification and tax card (cartão de contribuinte) with copies, a self addressed envelope, and form 1406 filled-in and signed. Your photocopy of the original Document will help in completing this form which is purchased at the IMTT office. They will provide a receipt which acts as a substitute, and after a few weeks the new document will arrive by post. 


If you have the document(s) and you only need to replace them because they are damaged, you can do so at your local Conservatória do Registo Automóvel, by bringing the old document with you and filling in a request provided by the Conservatória.





All vehicles over a certain age are required to undertake a roadworthiness test, (Inspecção Periódica Obrigatória, IPO). A valid test certificate must be carried with the vehicle documents and the sticker that comes with the certificate must be displayed on the windscreen of cars. The only exception to this rule is for veteran cars, which instead should carry a certificate, proving it to be a veteran car. Veteran car certificates, are issued by the Portuguese Veteran Car Club (Clube Português de Automóveis Antigos).  Wherever we mention Documento Único, it refers to the vehicle documents whether it is documento unico itself or the older livrete and Registo de propriedade, depending on how long ago you registered your vehicle. 


When to have your vehicle tested  The date of the first test and the frequency of subsequent tests depend on the type of vehicle you own. The type of vehicle is specified in the Documento Unico. If it is a light passenger vehicle, the Documento Unico will show it registered as a viatura ligeira de passageiros. Cars must be tested once they reach 4years old, again at 6 and again at 8 after that it must be tested every year. Your inspection certificate will have written on it the date that the next inspection is due. This is at the bottom of the certificate in the space for Próxima inspecção. Please note that this date states the very last day for the inspection to be done.  Other light vehicles such as pickups, mixed passenger/cargo and special vehicles (ligeiros de mercadorias, ligeiros mistos, ligeiros especiais) are first tested when they reach 2-years old and then annually. Heavy vehicles and trailers are tested annually, after eight years they are tested every sixmonths.  The vehicle can be presented for inspection in the month they were first registered, up to the actual date of registration, or during the previous three months to the date, unless the existing certificate specifies the next date of test. Authorised inspection centres will carry out these tests.  Vehicles with only minor deficiencies will be issued with a red certificate and sticker. These vehicles must be tested again within the next 30 days. Should a further test be required this must be undertaken within the next 15 days.  Vehicles with only minor deficiencies (maximum of 7) that need repairs before the next inspection date will be issued with a certificate but if stopped by the authorities can be fined, if the repairs are not done.  If the car fails the test, the owner will be issued with a red provisional certificate. There are two degrees of deficiencies 1) 2nd degree (a maximum of 30 days is given to complete all necessary repairs, 2) 3rd degree (these vehicles cannot be driven from the inspection centre, they must be towed to a garage until repairs have been completed). Should a further test be required this must be undertaken and the test date will be indicated on the certificate issued. 


What is inspected?  The tests carried out during the inspection assess the security of the vehicle to ensure that it is in a good enough condition to circulate on the public highway.  The inspection starts by confirming the vehicle identity* (model, registration number, motor and chassis numbers, and tyre sizes). There is then a series of tests that include: 


• level of noise, exhaust emissions, and oil leakage;  • lights (intensity and orientation);  • body work and interior (corrosion and other damage);  • visibility (mirrors, windows and wipers);  • equipment (seat belts, warning triangle, horn, speedometer);  • brakes and braking power;  • steering and alignment;  • excessive play in the suspension, steering and axles;  • wheels and tyres.  Some other aspects of the vehicle, regarding safety, may also be inspected. The inspection centre will check the several details that may affect the driver’s and passenger’s safety 


Where to carry out the test  Officially, approved independent testing centres carry out the roadworthiness inspections. You can use any test centre. They are indicated by road signs marked "Centro de Inspecções Obrigatórias - IPO" and are listed in the yellow pages under "Automóveis - Inspecção" and on the IMTT website Tests usually need to be booked in advance, but some centres will accept casual callers. 


Preparing for the inspection  The test centre will need to see the vehicle documents, and will need your tax registration number (número de contribuinte). The charge is approximately €30.  If the vehicle is in good condition, the only preparation needed may be a good clean to make the inspection easier to do and to allow the inspectors to confirm the identification numbers easily. Older vehicles may need more preparation.  Many garages will prepare vehicles for the inspection and even deliver and collect them from the test centre. This can be a convenient time for the annual service. 


Results of the inspection  When a vehicle passes the inspection, the test centre will issue a green certificate (ficha de inspecção) and a green sticker (vinheta). The sticker is for fixing to the windscreen on the right hand side and the certificate should be carried with the other documents of the vehicle.  Vehicles with only minor deficiencies (maximum of 7) that need repairs before the next inspection date will be issued with a certificate but if stopped by the authorities can be fined.  If the car fails the test the owner will be issued with a red provisional certificate. There are two degrees of deficiencies 1) 2nd degree (a maximum of 30 days is given to complete all necessary repairs, 2) 3rd degree (these vehicles can not be driven from the inspection centre, they must be towed to a garage until repairs have been completed). Should a further test be required this must be undertaken and the test date will be indicated on the certificate issued.


Should you lose the test certificate or sticker then the test centre, which carried out the last test, will issue a substitute on receipt of a written request.





This tax is payable each year on each motor vehicle which you own.  Starting in 2008 the tax will be paid on the anniversary of the vehicle or the Portuguese licence plate date when the car is imported.  You will need both your Car documents (See Bulletin M/06/E) and your fiscal number and Identification (See bulletin P/01/E). At the Treasury in your local Finanças you will provide these documents and may pay your tax and receive your receipt, the stamp to put in your car window will no longer be provided and only a proof of payment is necessary.   The amount of tax varies according to the cubic capacity of the engine and for cars registered after 1st July 2007 the CO2 emission will also taken into account. New cars purchased in Portugal will have the CO2 emission stated in their specifications and imported cars will be subject to a technical inspection which will determine the CO2 emission. The payment of this tax can be done via internet at  in order to do this, you will need to request a password (pedir senha) on the same site. Only after you have this password you will be able to enter your private file and pay your tax. In all cases you must carry the payment receipted. Please find below information on how to pay this tax online


The following tables give you the rates for the current year. Note that diesel vehicles will have an addition to the tax (see below).


Table of Tax for vehicles matriculated before the 1st July 2007


Diesel additional tax for vehicles registered before 1 July 2007


Engine Power (cm3) Matriculated after 1995

Matriculated  1990 to 1995

Matriculated  1981 to 1990

 Fuel Type Year of Matriculation


 Petrol cm3

Others cm3

Electrici ty Wats

After 1995




<1000 <1500

Up to 100 €17.87 €11.27 €07.91


=1001 <1300

=1501 <2000 Over 100 €35.87 €20.16 €11.27


=1301 <1750

=2001 <3000 - €56.03 €31.32 €15.71


=1751 <2600 >3000 - €142.17 €74.99 €32.41


=2601 <3500 - - €258.17 €140.59 €71.59 F >3500 - - €459.98 €236.29 €108.57


 Vehicles matriculated after the 1st July 2007 


Engine power (in Cm3)

Tax (in euros)

CO2 emission brackets (in grams by Km)

Tax (in euros)

Registration  2017 (new tax) Up to 1250 28.52 Up to 120 58.51  1250 to 1750 57.23 120 to 180 87.68  1750 to 2500 114.36 180 to 250 190.41 38.08 Over 2500 391.38 More than 250 326.19 65.24


Vehicles matriculated in Portugal after the 1st July 2007, will have a CO2 component on their annual tax, to find out what your tax is from the table above you must add the tax relating to the engine power to the tax related to the CO2 component. As an example we took a 2.000cc, registered in Portugal on 21st July 2010, with a CO2 emission of 140. For 2009 there is an addition to this tax, a coefficient according to the year of matriculation in Portugal:   Cars from 2007 - Coefficient of 1.00 Cars from 2008 – Coefficient of 1.05 Cars from 2009 – Coefficient of 1.10 Cars from 2010 onwards – Coefficient of 1.15


Example: CC tax €114.36 + CO2 tax €87.68 = €202.04 x 1.05 = IUC €212.14 this year  


Diesel additional tax for vehicles registered after 1 July 2007 (this should be added to the total of the tables above)


Engine power (in Cm3)

Tax (in euros)

Up to 1250 5.02 1250 to 1750 10.07 1750 to 2500 20.12 Over 2500 68.85




With the courtesy of AFPOP


Date Inserted: 15 November 2017
Have questions or comments on this article? email me


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