Road Transport Operations Portugal

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula, in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Portugal has a population of circa 10.2 million inhabitants and it's capital city is Lisbon. 


UK operators may carry loads to, from or through the country. Loads can be carried between third countries by UK Operators if:

  • The load was in transit through the UK 
  • The third country is another EU member state 

Cabotage is permitted. 

Dangerous Goods 

Portugal is party to ADR. It is essential that fully completed ADR documentation is prepared for the movement of dangerous goods. All vehicles carrying Dangerous Goods must use dipped headlights at all times.  

ADR Bridge/Tunnel Restrictions 

All vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are prohibited from carrying dangerous goods every day (Monday to Sunday) from 05:00 to 02:00 on the following day on 25 Abril Bridge - there are no derogations. 

For further information, visit the UNECE website at the link below & select the country name applicable - 

Abnormal Loads 

Vehicles exceeding the weights and dimensions below must apply for a special authorisation at least 30 days prior to movement. 

All abnormal load operators will require a keeper’s certificate to prove ownership of the trailer which must be carried as part of the vehicle documents at all times.
An application form can be downloaded below:


Fuel carried in the 'running tank(s)' can be imported duty-free. 


TIR Carnets are accepted for vehicles crossing Portugal. ATA Carnets are accepted for certain temporary imports. CMR notes are advised. 

Movement Restrictions 

There are local driving/loading and unloading restrictions, especially in Lisbon. However, there are no HGV Bans at weekends or on Public Holidays. 

Low Emission Zones 

There is only one LEZ in Portugal which is for Lisbon and affects all vehicles. The scheme is enforced through cameras and number plate recognition, visit link below -  

Public Holidays 

The following dates are for the official public holidays in Portugal.  

  • January 1 - New Year’s Day 
  • April 10 - Good Friday 
  • April 12 - Easter Sunday 
  • April 25 – Freedom Day 
  • May 01 - Labour Day 
  • June 10 – Portugal Day 
  • June 11 - Corpus Christi  
  • August 15 – Assumption Day 
  • October 05 – Republic Day 
  • November 01 – All Saints Day 
  • December 01 – Restoration of Independence 
  • December 08 – Immaculate Conception Day 
  • Friday 25 - Christmas Day 

Please note that there are also 8 regional holidays. 

Road Tolls 

A closed toll system with entrances and exits is used on the motorways in Portugal. The toll is calculated on the basis of the distance of the route covered (entrance and exit) and the categorisation of the vehicle. This in turn is made on the basis of the number of axles and the height of the vehicle. 

In Portugal, the toll system is electronic, which means you need to have an OBU (On-Board Unit) placed in the windscreen of the vehicle. Similar to other methods of toll collection, the vehicle does not stop at the toll terminal. 

Tolls are split up as follows:

  • Class 1 - Motorcycles & Passenger cars (even with a trailer) with a height under 1.10 metres at the front axle 
  • Class 2 - Vehicles with two axles and a height of 1.10 metres or higher at the front axle 
  • Class 3 - Vehicles with three axles and a height of 1.10 metres or higher at the front axle 
  • Class 4 - Vehicles with more than three axles and a height of 1.10 metres or higher at the front axle 

Bridge and Tunnel Tolls 

The 2 main toll bridges in Portugal spanning the Tagus River in Lisbon, are:

  • 25 de Abril  
  • Vasca da Gama  

Maximum Weights & Dimensions 


4 metres 


2.55 metres (Fridges 2.6 metres) 


Artic 16.5 metres Road Train 18.75 metres 


Artic 40 tonnes (40 foot ISO containers - 44 tonnes) 
Road Train 40 tonnes 
There are also various maximum permitted weights on vehicles, trailers and road trains which are applicable according to the number of axles. 


Vehicle Legal Documentation

  • Green Card required, plus original vehicle registration docs.
  • A GB plate must be fitted to the rear of the vehicle/trailer. A trailer Registration Certificate is a requirement. To register for a trailer certificate go to - 

Safety Equipment 

It is compulsory to carry the following items of equipment and/or observe specific rules:- 

  • First Aid Kit 
  • Warning triangle placed 30 metres behind a broken down vehicle 
  • Spare bulbs (advised) 
  • Dipped headlights are compulsory at all times through tunnels 
  • Seat belts must be worn 
  • Snow chains should be carried and used in all cases where signage indicates during the winter months. 

Driver Legal Documents 

  • Full passport required but no visa required.
  • International driving licence and/or normal UK Licence.
  • ADR certificate if Dangerous Goods are being carried.
  • Letter from employer giving driver permission to drive vehicle or attestation letter and form. 

If the UK fully leaves the EU on 31 January 2021, HGV drivers will require travel insurance with healthcare cover 

Speed Limits 

Vehicles Concerned 

Built-Up Areas (kms) 

All-Purpose Roads (kms) 

Expressways / Dual Carriageways (kms) 

Motorways (minimum 40 kms) 

All vehicles over 3.5 tonnes 





Further Reading 

The following links provide guidance and further information 

British Embassy 

Rua de São Bernardo 33
Tel: +351 21 392 40 00  

Transport Organisation 

Rua do Conselheiro Lopo Vaz - Lote AB Escritorio A 
1800-142 Lisbon 
Tel: +351 21 854 4100