If you’re moving to Portugal from the UK and plan on driving your own car, you can relax for a while as you don’t have to do anything right away, other than popping a GB sticker on the back of your vehicle and getting some easy to install headlight converters. Once you’ve settled in there are a few jobs to do, to make sure you’re driving on the right side of the law.


Getting a license

Generally, if youre an EU citizen and hold a valid driving license then you can drive for up to 6 months without issue. If you are planning on living in Portugal permanently, you can still drive using your EU driving licence, but you need to register with the Institute for Mobility (IMT) or Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes within 30 days of receiving your certificate of residency, or certificado do registo de cidadão da união Europeia.

Its a good idea to get yourself a Portuguese driving licence anyway if you plan on living in Portugal long term, as obtaining replacement documents will prove much simpler down the line than if you need to go through the Swansea based DVLA!

When you apply for a Portuguese license you will be issued a temporary one, as your UK license will be sent off whilst you wait.


Essential documents to keep in the car

When youre driving, make sure you have these documents on you at all times.

~ Driving license

~ Vehicle registration document

~ MOT certificate

~ Insurance documentation


Essential items:


Hiring a car in Portugal

If youve made the choice not to drive full time once youve made the move, you might find the need to rent a car from time to time. Handy for picking relatives up from the airport or for exploring further afield. To avoid paying over the odds, do a bit of research on comparison sights and ensure you book in advance where you can. As is the case wherever you go, busy periods can mean higher tariffs for renting a car so again planning ahead is key. To be able to rent a car in Portugal, you just need to be over the age of 18, having held a valid EU driving licence for over a year. Drivers under the age of 25 may be subject to a young drivers charge.


Taking your car with you from home

If youve decided not to part ways with your UK registered car, you can drive it in Portugal for up 6 months before it needs to be ‘matriculated or registered locally. We recommend starting the process with plenty of notice as otherwise you run the risk of a hefty fine if stopped by the police and your car hasnt been properly imported.

To avoid paying the import tax (called IVA in Portugal), you must have owned the car for a minimum of a year before bringing in into the country.


Rules of thumb:

~ 120 kph (75 mph) on motorways

~ 90 kph (56 mph) on rural roads

~ 50 kph (32 mph) in built up areas


How to stay calm when driving in Portugal

Dont panic! Driving in Portugal is a little different to the UK (which is to be expected), certain rules of the road we take as a given arent the case. A few things to be aware of before taking to the roads are:



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