Any advice on getting a “baggage certificate” from the Portuguese Embassy or Consulates in the US.? Because of the pandemic they are only dealing with emergencies, we have a car and household items in the Lisboa port. The shipping agency in Portugal keeps telling us to get this document and we try to explain it is not possible. I know a lot of you had bad experiences with lawyers but do you think it would help to hire one? Also I wonder if I should pursue the AT (Authoridade Tributaria) since they handle all taxation of imports? I live in the far North of Portugal(one hour north of Porto), so any recommendations? Renting a car has really strained the budget.
As far as I know, the baggage certificate is the document that confirms your household possessions that you are bringing with you to Portugal and enables you to import these household goods without paying Portuguese import tax on your possessions. This baggage certificate is issued in your country of origin by the Portuguese consulate there. The baggage certificate is an itemized list of all your goods, with a valuation of each specified item. Usually this must be stamped or approved by the consulate before your goods get to Portugal. The consulate charges a fee for doing this (about $160 CAD). The consulate we dealt with to get this certificate was fairly unresponsive and unhelpful (Vancouver). So we actually flew there from Calgary to extract this certificate from them.
So, now, you may be able to persuade the Portuguese consulate where you come from to retroactively issue this. But this could require that you fly back there to arrange this. Your shipping company should have told you about the importance of getting this certificate.
You are probably liable for customs storage fees. It may be that you may just have to pay the import duties (?23%) to put this behind you. The car is another story, and I don’t know the solution for it.
Sorry, this is a bit of a negative answer, and I prefer to be optimistic, so I’m hoping you get a better resolution than what I’ve suggested here.
I wouldn’t hire a lawyer and wouldn’t deal with the AT. Paying the import tax could well be cheaper.