We frequently receive questions about importing cars, boats or other high value properties to Brazil. This article covers the basic steps needed in order to import a car to Brazil.
Any person or company can import cars to Brazil for their own personal usage. This article does not cover all aspects related to setting up a car importing business to Brazil, but will give you a good overview of the process.
If you feel intimated by the paper work outlined in this article we would recommend you to contact a customs brokers specialized in importing cars to Brazil, he will be able to help you with all related issues.
Agencies Involved in the Process
You will be facing a substantial amount of paper work in order to import a car to Brazil and you will have to interact with the following agencies:
- Departamento de Operações de Comércio Exterior (DECEX)
- Sistema Integrado de Comércio Exterior (SISCOMEX)
- Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA)
- Departamento Nacional de Trânsito (DENATRAN)
- Secretaria da Receita Federal do Brasil (RFB)
Depending on the type of vehicle you are planing to import you might also need to interact with additional agencies.
- For bulletproof cars will need an authorization from “Comando do Exército”
- For ambulances will need an authorization from “Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária”
- For tractors will need an authorization from “Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento”
Note about Used Cars
It's only allowed to import new cars and cars that are more than 30 years old to Brazil. There exists special rules for cars donated, inheritances and that belongs diplomatic missions.
It's important to verify that the car you wish to import are classified as a new car in Brazil.
Step 1: Receive Import Authorization
The first step is to receive an import authorization from SISCOMEX which controls all foreign trade transactions made in Brazil.
Your will have to submit your personal data and documents. Specially important is your income report since SISCOMEX will verify that the entity that is planing to import a car can prove that the income is compatible with the value of the car planed to be imported.
If everything is correct you will receive an authorization from SISCOMEX within 30 days.
Step 2: Buying a Car
With the SISCOMEX authorization in hand you can buy a car. The foreign exporter of the car will have to issue a Pro-forma Invoice that state your intention to purchase a specific car.
The Pro-forma Invoice should contain information about the seller, the buyer and the validity of the proposal, characteristics of the vehicle and the total price including shipping.
Step 3: Getting the Brazilian documents
With the Pro-forma Invoice in hand you can contact IBAMA to prove that the vehicle meets the Brazilian limits for emission and noise. If approved IBAMA will issue a license named “Licença para Uso da Configuração do Veículo ou Motor” (LCVM).
With the LCVM in hand you can move further to Denatran where you will have to prove that the car complies with the Brazilian laws for vehicles. If approved Denatran will issue a certificate named “Certificado de Adequação à Legislação Nacional de Trânsito” (CAT).
Step 4: Car Payment
With all the documents in hand you can go back to SISCOMEX and ask for the formal Import License (LI), which will be reviewed and approved by DECEX.
Important: Do not pay for the car with foreign money directly to the foreign exporter.
All payments for imports must be made through an exchange agreement. You will have to go to a Brazilian bank authorized by “Banco Central” in order to issue a remittance to the foreign exporter.
With the remittance in hand, the foreign exporter should issue a commercial invoice and an export order.
Step 5: Custom Clearance
If everything goes well your car should be in Brazil about 100 days after you started the importing process. You will now have to pay all your taxes to “Receita Federal”, this include (Import Duty, IPI, PIS, COFINS e ICMS).
With the confirmation of payment “Receita Federal” in place and all the other documents that you collected during the process your will get the car released from custom.
Keep in mind that you still have to get license plates issued from Denatran and all other issues sorted out in the same way as if you bought a new car in Brazil.
What's the cost of Importing a Car to Brazil?
It's easy to guess that the process of importing cars to Brazil isn't cheap. We have tried to summarize the major costs when importing a car worth BRL 40 000 abroad.
- Agent Fees – BRL 1.000
- Harbor Taxes – BRL 3.000
- Import Duty (35%) - BRL 14.000
- IPI(25%) - BRL 10.000
- ICMS (18%) - BRL 7.200
- PIS, COFINS and other taxes (12%) - BRL 4.800
- Freight cost – BRL 6.000
This adds up to BRL 46.000 or 115% of the car price.
Please notice that these calculations are approximate because taxes and freight cost will vary. You should assume that the cost of importing a car to Brazil is between 90 and 120% of the foreign value of the car.