What are the rules for driving a foreign plated car in Portugal?

Lisbon: According to Portuguese legislation, it is permitted to drive a vehicle with foreign registration within the country as long as certain conditions are met.

According to Ekonomista these conditions include:

Not residing in Portugal: The first condition is that the driver of the vehicle is not a resident of Portugal. This means that people who do not live permanently in Portugal are allowed to drive cars with foreign registration plates in the country.

Relationship with the owner: The driver must be a family member of the owner or holder of the vehicle. Family members are therefore allowed to drive a vehicle with foreign registration in Portugal.

EU registration: The vehicle must have a permanent registration from a European Union (EU) country. Cars with EU license plates are subject to different regulations than vehicles from countries outside the EU.

Limited period: One of the most important conditions is that the car cannot remain in Portugal for more than 180 days (or 6 months) during a 12-month period. This means that the vehicle cannot be used in Portugal for more than half a year each calendar year.

Interpolation of days: The 180-day period does not need to be continuous. It can be interpolated, however, the rule of 6 months per year must not be exceeded. This means that over the course of a year, a car with foreign registration cannot be used in Portugal for more than 6 months.

This time limitation is important because, as established by article 30 of the Vehicle Tax Code, the vehicle is exempt from paying taxes for a period of 6 months. Any use beyond this period may result in tax obligations.

When a vehicle is registered in any EU country, it is necessary to take out civil liability insurance, also known as third-party insurance. This insurance is mandatory and covers material or bodily damage caused to third parties, that is, people other than the driver of the vehicle.

It is important to mention that the rules regarding optional car insurance may vary from one insurance company to another and from one country to another. Coverage, temporal and geographic limitations may differ according to the insurer’s policies. Therefore, it is recommended that you contact your insurance company to obtain specific information about insuring a foreign-registered vehicle in Portugal.