What to Expect From Portugal’s Car Import Inspection

When it comes to driving your car on Portugal’s roads, there are certain requirements and inspections that need to be met. Understanding the vehicle inspection process is essential to ensure your car meets all the necessary standards and is safe to drive. Whether you are buying a new car or bringing your existing vehicle into the country, it’s crucial to know what to expect during the car inspection process.

Key Takeaways:

  • Portugal has two taxes associated with vehicles: Imposto Sobre Veículos (ISV) and Imposto Único de Circulação (IUC).
  • ISV is a one-time tax paid when a vehicle is licensed, while IUC is an annual tax based on engine displacement and CO2 emissions.
  • Used cars imported from within the EU receive age discounts on ISV, while cars imported from outside the EU are subject to full taxes and VAT.
  • Vehicle assessments in Portugal include periodic checks and on-the-spot roadside inspections, ensuring roadworthiness and compliance with safety standards.
  • Pre-purchase inspections are important for evaluating the condition and reliability of used cars, helping buyers make informed decisions.

Types of Vehicle Assessments in Portugal

In Portugal, vehicle assessments play a crucial role in ensuring road safety and maintaining an environmentally-friendly vehicle fleet. These assessments include periodic checks and on-the-spot roadside inspections conducted by certified car inspectors and automotive experts. Let’s dive deeper into what you can expect from these assessments:

1. Periodic Checks

Periodic checks are mandatory for most vehicles in Portugal. These assessments ensure roadworthiness and compliance with safety standards. Certified car inspectors thoroughly examine various components of the vehicle, including the engine, brakes, suspension, transmission, electrical systems, paint, body repair, and overall condition. The goal is to identify any potential issues that may compromise the safety and reliability of the vehicle.

2. Roadside Inspections

On-the-spot roadside inspections are conducted on commercial vehicles registered in any EU country. These inspections cover crucial aspects such as brakes, emissions, and overall vehicle condition. Certified car inspectors check for compliance with regulations and ensure that the vehicle is safe to be on the road. Roadside inspections contribute to maintaining a safe vehicle fleet and help prevent accidents caused by poorly maintained vehicles.

To ensure the effectiveness of these assessments, it is essential to rely on certified car inspectors who have the necessary experience and expertise. Their thorough evaluations provide peace of mind and assure vehicle owners that their vehicles meet the necessary safety standards.

Assessment TypeKey Features
Periodic Checks– Mandatory for most vehicles
– Evaluate roadworthiness and compliance with safety standards
– Thorough inspection of various components of the vehicle
Roadside Inspections– Conducted on commercial vehicles
– Cover brakes, emissions, and overall vehicle condition
– Ensure compliance with regulations and safety standards

Import Inspection – Category B Inspection

As part of the intricate process of importing a car to Portugal, one of the pivotal steps is undergoing the Inspection Category B, commonly known as “Inspeção Periódica Obrigatória” (IPO). This inspection is a mandatory requirement and serves as a crucial checkpoint before your imported vehicle attains roadworthy status in the country. As of the current information available, the cost of Inspection Category B is approximately 80 euros, making it a necessary investment in the importation journey.

The Inspection Category B is a prerequisite for registering your imported car at the Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes (IMT), the Portuguese Institute of Mobility and Transport. It’s essential to emphasize that completing this inspection is a prerequisite before proceeding with the car registration process, as the documentation and forms obtained from the Inspection Category B are integral to the registration at IMT.

During the Inspection Category B, certified inspection centers, authorized by the Portuguese authorities, meticulously examine various aspects of your vehicle to ensure it complies with safety standards and roadworthiness requirements in Portugal. The inspection process involves a comprehensive assessment of critical components and features, focusing on areas that directly impact the safety and performance of the vehicle on Portuguese roads.

Here’s an overview of what the Inspection Category B typically entails:

  1. Lights and Signals: The inspection thoroughly checks all lights and signals on the vehicle, including headlights, brake lights, indicators, and hazard lights. Ensuring these components function correctly is vital for safe driving and compliance with Portuguese road regulations.
  2. Braking System: The functionality of the braking system is rigorously examined, including the brake pads, discs, and overall braking performance. Adequate braking is paramount for road safety, making it a key focus during the inspection.
  3. Emissions Testing: The inspection assesses the vehicle’s emissions to ensure compliance with environmental standards. This includes measuring exhaust emissions and verifying that they fall within the acceptable limits set by Portuguese regulations.
  4. Suspension and Steering: The suspension system and steering components are scrutinized to confirm their proper functioning. Any issues with these critical systems can compromise the vehicle’s stability and handling.
  5. Tires and Wheels: The condition of tires, including tread depth and overall integrity, is examined. Additionally, the inspection verifies the alignment and condition of the wheels to ensure optimal performance and safety.
  6. Chassis and Undercarriage: A thorough inspection of the chassis and undercarriage is conducted to identify any structural issues or damage that may affect the vehicle’s safety and roadworthiness.
  7. Safety Features: Various safety features, such as seat belts and airbags, are checked to ensure they meet the required standards. The proper functioning of these safety mechanisms is critical for the protection of vehicle occupants.
  8. General Vehicle Condition: The overall condition of the vehicle, both inside and out, is assessed. This includes an inspection of the interior components, exterior bodywork, and general cleanliness.

By adhering to these stringent inspection criteria, Portugal aims to maintain high safety standards on its roads and ensure that imported vehicles meet the necessary requirements. The Inspection Category B is a comprehensive evaluation that, once successfully completed, provides the essential documentation needed to move forward with the car registration process at IMT. While the process may seem meticulous, it underscores Portugal’s commitment to road safety and the well-being of all drivers on its vibrant roads.


When it comes to owning a vehicle, ensuring its safety, reliability, and compliance with roadworthiness standards is of utmost importance. This is where car inspections play a vital role. By getting a thorough pre-purchase inspection and prioritizing regular roadworthiness checks, vehicle owners can have peace of mind, uncover hidden defects, and make informed decisions.

Choosing certified car inspectors and reliable car inspection services is essential. These professionals have the expertise and knowledge to thoroughly assess a vehicle’s condition, alerting buyers to any potential issues or concerns. By relying on their expertise, buyers can avoid costly surprises and make confident decisions about their vehicle purchase.

In addition to individual benefits, regular roadworthiness checks also contribute to safer roads and environmental protection. By ensuring vehicles comply with emissions standards and maintaining a reliable vehicle fleet, roadworthiness checks promote a safer driving experience and contribute to a more sustainable transport system.

Whether you need a pre-purchase inspection or are due for a roadworthiness check, finding a car inspection service near you is essential. Make sure to choose a reputable service that provides comprehensive inspection reports. Prioritizing vehicle inspections is key to enjoying a smooth, worry-free ownership experience, and ensuring the safety and reliability of your vehicle.



  1. Taxation Overview:
    • Portugal imposes two taxes on vehicles: Imposto Sobre Veículos (ISV) and Imposto Único de Circulação (IUC).
    • ISV is a one-time tax, while IUC is an annual tax based on engine displacement and CO2 emissions.
    • Used cars imported from within the EU receive age discounts on ISV, while cars from outside the EU face full taxes and VAT.
  2. Types of Vehicle Assessments:
    • Vehicle assessments in Portugal include periodic checks and on-the-spot roadside inspections to ensure roadworthiness and safety.
    • Periodic checks evaluate various components, from the engine to safety features, ensuring compliance with standards.
    • Roadside inspections, mainly for commercial EU-registered vehicles, cover brakes, emissions, and overall vehicle condition.
  3. Import Inspection – Category B:
    • Inspection Category B is a mandatory step in importing a car to Portugal, costing approximately 80 euros.
    • It’s a prerequisite for registering at the Instituto da Mobilidade e dos Transportes (IMT) and involves a thorough examination of the vehicle’s safety and roadworthiness.
    • Inspection criteria include lights, braking system, emissions, suspension, tires, chassis, safety features, and general condition.
  4. Conclusion:
    • Portugal emphasizes road safety through stringent vehicle inspections, contributing to a reliable and environmentally-friendly vehicle fleet.
    • Choosing certified car inspectors ensures thorough assessments, uncovering potential issues and providing essential documentation for registration.
    • Regular roadworthiness checks promote safer roads, environmental protection, and a worry-free ownership experience.