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International Relocation for Expats in Portugal

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: September 2015

Moving to a new country is an exciting prospect. However, you will quickly find yourself with a near endless to do list: apply for a visa, obtain a work permit, look for work, find accommodation, move belongings to your new home... It can be wearisome trying to arrange everything on time and  dealing with bureaucracy in two countries – especially when one of them is Portugal. However, the key is to familiarise yourself with what is required and start planning well in advance! In this respect, our Expat Briefing articles on Portugal offer a great starting point.

Relocation Companies

In recent years, relocation companies have become very popular with expats moving to international destinations. Most of these companies do a lot more than merely arrange the removal of your belongings. For example, they can also help you to apply for visas and look for accommodation, fulfil administrative requirements and advise you how best to settle into your new environment. Using the services of a relocation company will save you a great deal of bureaucratic legwork and ensure that your relocation meets all rules and regulations in the destination country. Of course, they do want remuneration for their services, but they are certainly an option worth considering.

You can either look for a relocation company in your home country or for one in Portugal. It is best to take some time to shop around, getting quotes from different companies, as prices may vary significantly. In addition, make sure to check which additional services are included in the price. Some companies that offer relocation services to Portugal are:

Moving your Belongings

Packing is never much fun, so before you start, take a long hard look at your possessions. What do you really need? The more belongings you have, the more likely you are to need a removal firm. As these companies charge by volume, the more stuff you have, the more it will cost to move. So remember the old adage: if in doubt, chuck it out! Easy methods of lightening the load include donating to charity shops and selling goods online or to second-hand dealers.

If your budget does not stretch to the full services of relocation company, you can simply use them to do the removal alone. Equally, you can use the services of a specialist removal company to move your belongings. These companies are also able to move any pets and vehicles you have. Do not forget, however, to take out a good insurance policy. Specialist international removal companies operating in Portugal include:

For short distances, an even more budget-friendly option is moving to Portugal by car. This may involve multiple trips, which will raise the total cost somewhat. Hiring a van is also likely to be economical, provided you have less than a vanful of belongings or the distance you are moving is not too great.

If you have a few too many effects, you could consider sending some items. Most airlines will only allow one free piece of luggage when travelling into the country. Sending items via post or express delivery services such as DHL or UPS is only feasible for small items, as heavy parcels tend to have high price tags. Having said that, parcels do normally have a maximum delivery cost.

Note that the belongings you can move may be restricted or may be subject to duties and taxes. In general, to be allowed into Portugal duty free, most household items and personal belongings must be owned for at least six months before they are imported.

For information on how to move to Portugal with your family and pets, see Relocating with Families and Pets.

Importing your Vehicle

Importing a vehicle from within the EU is a comparatively simple affair. The main step is registering the vehicle with the Portuguese authorities. Import duty will be payable; you may the full amount if your vehicle is less than 12 months old, otherwise the amount decreases accordingly. To gain this reduction, though you will need to provide proof of address for the last year. In addition, if you do not have valid registration and a receipt for the purchase of the vehicle, you may need to pay VAT (IVA in Portuguese).

You will also need to register your vehicle at the Institute for Mobility and Land Transport (Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes Terrestres, IMTT) within 12 months of entering the country. To do so you will need certificates of conformity and homologacão (type approval) from the manufacturer of your vehicle. Owner’s documents and other certificates may also be required.

Your vehicle will need to be inspected before registration can be completed. The inspection must be carried out at an IMTT-approved garage. Once you have submitted the application to register, the authorities may grant you limited authorisation, which enables you to use your vehicle while your application is pending.
When importing a vehicle, in addition to the above steps your vehicle will need to be inspected to ensure that it is functioning properly and that it meets with local safety and environmental standards. By importing your vehicle into Portugal from outside the EU, you will be liable to pay IVA. For more information on driving in Portugal, see Driving and Public Transport.

Arriving in Portugal

After successfully relocating to Portugal, you will have to take care of several administrative matters, such as opening a bank account, registering with a doctor and several additional requirements. To find out more, have a look at other sections of our Expat Briefing Website and consult the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service webpages.

 

 

 




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