Traffic rules and mobility in Portugal
This page provides information on the following:
- Stickers and discs required for the use of motor vehicles or for parking
- Traffic restrictions and low emission zones
- Toll system in Portugal
In Portugal, in general, only the motor insurance sticker or disc must be displayed in the vehicle windscreen. This sticker proves to the authorities that the vehicle is insured and may be used on public roads.
Insurance stickers must be placed in the lower right corner of the windscreen.
Every person who owns a vehicle registered in Portugal is subject to payment of road tax, known as the Imposto Único de Circulação (IUC). This tax applies to the ownership of the vehicle and not as a requirement for the vehicle to be able to travel on public roads. Therefore, even if a vehicle is parked in a garage for the entire year without being used, road tax still has to be paid.
Road tax is paid annually in the anniversary month in which the vehicle was first registered. On the Tax Authority website, you can consult the history of road tax paid, print a certificate of road tax paid, or issue a road tax payment form.
In order to drive a vehicle, you do not need to have a sticker (disc) or proof of payment of this tax with you.
In Portugal, all vehicles are subject to a mandatory inspection to confirm their safety for use on public roads.
As a rule, roadworthiness tests must be carried out every year by the anniversary date of the vehicle’s first registration at one of the various certified inspection centres.
Light passenger vehicles must undergo their first inspection 4 years after the date of first registration. Other vehicles must undergo their first inspection after 1 or 2 years. Find out more on the Institute for Mobility and Transport (IMT) website.
In addition to regular and periodic inspections (Type A), vehicles may require an extraordinary inspection (Type B) to confirm safety, in the event of:
- changes to the vehicle’s characteristics (e.g. tyre sizes)
- an accident; or
- other causes affecting the safety of the vehicle.
If the vehicle passes the inspection, it will receive a certificate of inspection valid for 1 year. This certificate must always be kept in the vehicle, as it is necessary to provide proof to the authorities.
The inspection certificate sticker (disc) does not have to be displayed in the vehicle windscreen.
In Portugal, since 2013, cars powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas (NG) can enter and park in underground car parks and covered workshops.
However, to access underground parks and covered workshops, gas-powered vehicles must display a small green identification sticker in the lower right corner of the windscreen.
Pre-2013 original or converted gas vehicles may continue to be driven on roads by displaying the old blue label on the rear of the vehicle, but may not access or park in underground parks or covered workshops. In order to benefit from such access, they must obtain the green sticker.
How to get the green sticker
- Contact an installer/repairer accredited by the Institute for Mobility and Transport (IMT) to obtain an installed equipment certificate. This certificate is valid for 30 days and applies to new installations on vehicles or a safety check on installations carried out prior to 2013.
- After obtaining the installed equipment certificate, you must schedule an extraordinary inspection (Type B) at a vehicle inspection centre. You must provide the installed equipment certificate at the time of the inspection, together with the vehicle documents. If the vehicle passes the inspection, it will receive a Type-B inspection certificate.
- Then, when you have both certificates, you must request an update of your vehicle’s Registration Certificate/Single Vehicle Document (Documento Único Automóvel, DUA), indicating the new fuel type. You can do this on the IMT platform or, if you prefer, at an IMT service desk. The new Registration Certificate will be sent to the address of the vehicle owner.
- Finally, you can then buy the green sticker at any shop selling vehicle signage items, accessories and spare parts, etc.
In Portugal, electric vehicles must display a blue identification sticker (disc) in the bottom right corner of the windscreen to be able to use public roads or park in areas designated for electric vehicles.
For example, this sticker allows the vehicle to use electric vehicle charging areas.
You can request an electric vehicle identification disc at an Institute of Mobility and Transport (IMT) service desk or by sending a request by post to an IMT office, together with the necessary documents.
Electric vehicles benefit from reduced rates or even exemption from parking charges in various municipalities in Portugal.
In Lisbon, for example, you can request a green parking disc for EUR 12 per year, which allows you to park anywhere and for as long as you wish at no further cost.
In Portugal, some municipal councils provide discs allowing residents of the municipality to park their vehicles in their area of residence. Costs may vary depending on the municipality.
Check the information provided by the municipal council in your area of residence.
If you are driving in Portugal, be aware of the traffic and safety rules, which may be different from your country.
In Portugal, low emission zones are defined by each municipality. In order to find out which areas are restricted to certain vehicles, or to find out how to obtain authorisation to drive in such areas, you should consult the municipal authorities’ websites.
Find out, for example:
- how to apply for permission to drive in low emission zones in the city of Lisbon
- how to apply for permission to drive in low emission zones in the city of Porto.
On the site of Infraestruturas de Portugal (Portugal's Infrastructure) you can consult traffic conditions, such as possible road closures or road works, etc.
You can also consult the municipal authorities’ websites for more detailed information on temporary traffic restrictions or alternative means of travelling in the city of your choice.
See, for example:
When driving on Portuguese roads, you may encounter toll sections on certain motorways and on the two bridges connecting Lisbon to the south bank of the river Tagus.
As a general rule, tolls may be paid manually or electronically.
On some motorways, toll payments are exclusively electronic. On these roads there are no toll booths where you can stop and pay an attendant or use a payment machine.
When a car passes through the automatic detection system above the road, it is identified for the respective toll charge.
Exclusively electronic toll roads are marked with the reference ‘electronic toll only’.
The EasyToll system is an automatic electronic toll payment solution via a bank card (Mastercard, Visa or Maestro) linked to the car’s registration number.
You can join EasyToll in dedicated centres at the following locations:
- A28 – Viana do Castelo Service Area
- A24 – 3.5 km from the Chaves/Verin border
- A25 – Alto de Leomil Service Area (Vilar Formoso)
- A22 – near the Castro Marim/Ayamonte border.
TollCard is a pre-paid product activated via SMS which has a fixed amount to be used as you drive. A TollCard can be paid in cash or with a bank card, is valid for 1 year and the balance can be checked online.
- all service areas on the A23
- all service areas on the A22
- the Celorico, Vouzela and Aveiro service areas on the A25
- the Viana do Castelo and Vila do Conde service areas on the A28
- the Almodôvar service area on the A2
- the Estremoz service area on the A6
- the Barcelos service area on the A3
- the Seide service area on the A7.
Pre-paid product with two options:
- Pre-charged card with unlimited use for 3 days at a cost of EUR 20 plus a joining fee of EUR 0.74. This product is only valid for Class 1 and 2 vehicles.
- Pre-charged card with pre-defined itinerary and date:
- Spain – Porto Airport, via A28 or A41 (one way or return only)
- Spain – Faro Airport, via A22 (one way or return only).
Via Verde Visitors temporary device
With electronic Via Verde devices, tolls are paid by direct debit from the linked bank account, with no additional administrative costs.
These devices are valid for use on all motorways, both exclusively electronic and traditional payment, where lanes reserved for Via Verde can be used.
For customers who drive more frequently on motorways and who have a bank account in Portugal, Via Verde has other types of devices that may be more suitable.
You can buy these products from Via Verde shops or online from the Via Verde portal.
On other motorways or toll roads, which are not exclusively electronic, payment is generally made at a booth with a barrier. The booth with barrier may have an attendant accepting your payment, or there may be a payment terminal where drivers can pay in cash or with a bank card.
For Via Verde customers, there are reserved lanes without barriers, where vehicles can pass freely, and the electronic device is recognised by the overhead system.
You can plan your road journey in Portugal by choosing the route and simulating the amount of tolls you will have to pay through the map of motorways in Portugal on the Infraestruturas de Portugal website.
Find out the class of your vehicle for toll purposes:
- Class 1
- Motorcycles and vehicles with a height of up to 1.1 m on the front axle
- Class 2
- Vehicles with 2 axles with a height of more than 1.1 m on the front axle
- Class 3
- Vehicles with 3 axles with a height of more than 1.1 m on the front axle
- Class 4
- Vehicles with 4 axles or more with a height of more than 1.1 m on the front axle
- Class 5
- Only for motorcycles using Via Verde