Have spent a number of years of my life living in Europe and planning to spend as close as possible to half of the remaining years with Portuguese residency, using Portugal as a base to travel elsewhere in Europe. Central to this plan is importing a soon-to-be-purchased Class A American motorhome, likely a Forest River 2020 Berkshire, either the QS or the slightly longer XL-37A. Not important the vehicle - which from a European perspective would be relatively very large - but the process. I keep getting conflicting information concerning the importing of an American RV into Europe. Ironically, establishing residency in Portugal has become the least of my concerns. Questions unanswered clearly so far
- How many months do I have to have owned the vehicle in the U.S. before I can import the vehicle to Portugal duty free as a resident of Portugal? I've heard six and then also twelve months. Does anyone know which it is?
- What do I need to do to the vehicle to register, license, and insure it as a Portuguese resident? In that context, I've heard the term "certification" used. I believe certification would imply to some sort of commercial import license for a particular model of American RVs, not to the import of a vehicle for personal use But I can't be sure. I have read in various of these fora that Europeans have imported U.S. RVs and had to swap out the headlights, transform the voltage to take 240V shorepower, maybe find different propane fittings for different countries, etc. All manageable although I don't have a reading yet on the headlights problem. What I don't know about is whether there would be a blanket embargo on importing US. RVs, even as a Portuguese resident, unless the vehicle has achieved some kind of European-wide or even Portuguese import "certificate." Obviously, if I'm paying north of $200K for a quality American Class A RV, it would be a calamity if I couldn't import it properly. I would have to ship it back to the U.S. which is actually not that expensive. But why put that kind of money into an RV in the states when I own a home?
- Has anyone in this forum ever moved an American RV to Europe as a tourist and what happened? Did you have to pay import duties even if it had American plates? I originally thought I could import it as a tourist using American plates and then convert it to Portuguese registration when the ownership "incubation" had run its course and I'd also obtained Portuguese residency. Pretty sure I can't do that now but still very hard to be sure from a distance.
- Anything else anybody thinks I've overlooked which could be considerable. Steep learning curve!
Thank you for your time