Blog EN

How Does Car Customs Clearance Work in Portugal?

We've compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Q: How quickly does customs clearance happen in Portugal?

A: On average, the procedure takes between 2 and 8 days. The duration primarily depends on the workload of the customs office. During holidays (and there are many in Portugal) or vacation seasons (mid-winter/end of summer), there can be delays, extending the waiting time to up to two weeks. This stage relies on the efficiency of government employees, and we do our best to expedite the process with the IMT (Institute for Mobility and Transport).

Q: How long does it take to get the license plates?

A: License plates are made immediately after receiving the declaration. At this point, the preparation for delivering the car to the client begins: installation of the plates, insurance request, light detailing, and delivery to the client. Thus, clients receive a car ready for use: "sit and drive."

Q: Can I drive the car before the declaration is issued?

A: No, you cannot drive the car before the declaration is issued. However, you can use German transit plates until the declaration is processed (valid for 14/30 days, depending on the type).
But you don't need to worry about this — our clients receive cars with Portuguese license plates.

Q: Can I drive the car immediately after the declaration is issued?

A: Once the declaration is accepted and processed, customs sends a request to the IMT for Portuguese license plates. At this stage, the car receives an updated customs declaration, allowing it to be driven until the registration certificate (certificado de matricula) — similar to a vehicle registration document — is received. The speed of issuing this card also depends on the inspection's workload: on average, the card arrives at the home address within 60 days after the license plate is assigned.

Q: Do I need to do anything additional?

A: No 🙂
Before delivering the car, we submit the ownership registration request and the vehicle registration document request to the Conservatória do Registo Automóvel and assist in remotely arranging the insurance policy.
💬 The process of legalizing a car in Portugal is a lengthy bureaucratic labyrinth. We take all the hassle out of it, ensuring that in just 3 weeks, your car not only arrives from Germany but is also fully ready for use — with Portuguese plates and all necessary documents.