Buying a car and insurance pending ARI approval?

I am doing the 350k urban rehabilitation route which requires me to make frequent trips to Portugal to supervise the renovation of my property. Renting a car every time for ~ 7 days is becoming increasingly expensive. I am contemplating purchasing a car to reduce my rental expenses.

However, as I do not have my residence card nor even ARI pre-approval yet, I am unsure if it is possible for me to purchase a car and obtain insurance. While I understand that I can buy a car with just my deed, I am uncertain if any insurance company would be willing to insure me without a residence card.

I would greatly appreciate any insights or advice regarding this matter. Thank you.

How cheap are cars in PT that buying is cheaper than many many rentings? Or does PT not have an Uber equivalent?

Sorry I don’t have any advice, I am just curious about local logistics.

PT has bolt and its quite cheap but I need to move construction stuff around with my car. Renting is about ~€40-50 per day, and buying one (i’m gonna buy a really cheap second hand one) is around €2000.

Perhaps this post by Tommy would be of help. Car import in Portugal - #3 by tommigun.
And another link:Buying, importing, and selling a car in Portugal | Expatica


My understanding is that it is not possible to license a car, pretty much anywhere,without having residence rights.


I think if you applied for GV before 31 Dec 2021 then you should be allowed to do anything in PT as a regular resident. If you applied later then it’s a bit of a gray zone.


Yes, normally residence rights are proven by holding a residence permit.
But anyone with a ‘pending SEF process’ since before 31 Dec 2021 also have residence rights.


You need a NIF and an address in Portugal, you don’t have to have your residence visa yet. I am waiting on my Golden Visa (had biometrics in early February) but I bought a used car in May of last year, no problem. I have a house here because I went with the option of buying a house that cost at least 500,000 euros


have a friend in GV process (just did biometrics) He’s been living in Lisbon a couple years now and has already bought and sold two cars since he arrived. So must be pretty easy to do.


What car insurance company did you use?

I support this comment. Not only you can buy a car, but you can even import one from abroad - that’s what I did with my Spanish car. And my ARI is still in process, so no residency yet. I have Allianz insurance.

1 Like

Heads up that I went with Fidelidade insurance and if your payment isn’t made within a few days of it starting they automatically cancel it. The only email you get reminding you of this is a “New message” email which I didn’t catch at the time. It’s pretty annoying because you can’t pay when you sign up online, only after the fact. I didn’t realise they had automatically cancelled it for months and was driving around uninsured by mistake. This is very different than how it would work in my home country where they would send you multiple emails and letters reminding you to pay before cancelling and would let you pay upfront too.

i bought new car from Santogal. They have a department which is able to give a quotation for insurance.
I opted for the lowest one i.e. the third party insurance, cost 180Euros /year. Happy with the insurance in the Portugal. In addition to this, the insurance is for the car. So all my family can drive under this insurance. :+1:


@tsiksssooo For your car import purposes, I suppose you had to register yourself as a tax resident in PT?

I live here, so I am a tax resident…but anyway you need to have a fiscal number (NIF) to do it.

Ok, thanks. I do have my NIF and I am in the middle of the car import process that’s why I asked :slight_smile:

The Customs required me to register as a PT tax resident, which I did from the 2nd attempt.
On the 1st attempt I went to my local AT office, but they refused to register me without seeing my GV card.
On the 2nd attempt I did this via my lawyers :sunglasses:

Does anyone have experience in getting a Portuguese drivers licence? I am now a resident (GV) in Portugal. I have a license from another EU country and would like to get a Portuguese license.

It’s easy if your current driving licence is still valid, to exchange the EU licence for a Portuguese licence. And you can apply 6 months before the licence expires. See: Indeed, it is best to apply as early as possible within the last 6 months of your current EU licence because if you think SEF is slow, wait until you get to know IMT!!
Best to join ACP (Automóvel Club de Portugal) Av. Eng. Duarte Pacheco, 1070-103 Lisboa (or look up another convenient branch) to facilitate the process. You will require your residence card, other EU driving licence, ACP will have somebody to do a cursory medical exam (on their premises, reading letters of diminishing size on the usual board - for vision), número de utente. Good luck.

1 Like

As I understand from the IMT website, since August 1st 2022 the UK driving licences are valid in Portugal even for PT residents, so no longer required to be exchanged to the PT licence.

Do I read this correctly?


The regulation link you provide is in force. OECD rules apply to the UK licence, so no need to exchange or apply for PT licence until you come to an age-limit or are reaching an expiry date. Your reading is correct.