So as I mentioned in my previous post: How To Move A Car to Portugal – it’s generally not a good idea.
However, there was another “brilliant” idea I had about how to deal with it that seems to have also been a very bad idea. So let me share that with you so you don’t make the same dumb mistake as me.
So as I had mentioned, you need to have owned your car outright for 6 months, both for the import-side in Portugal, as well as for the export-side in California (can’s speak to other states, though). In trying to be clever, I decided to pay my car off, in full, around the beginning of this month. (As I mentioned in my other post – that was not actually helpful at all).
So as it turns out we need to just sell it. Had I been just a little bit smarter about this and had I been already prepared for that outcome, that wouldn’t be a big deal. But…
You can’t sell your car without a title. The title takes 15-30 days to show up after paying off your lien. We leave for Portugal on the 29th. The check for my car showed up at the credit union on May 6th….See the problem? Yeah. The CA DMV (because: COVID, I guess?!) seems to have discontinued its ‘express title’ system, so I can re-request it and get it in…another 15-30 days. There doesn’t seem to be any system to just waltz into a DMV and have them hand you one.
So I guess I just have to sit here and wait to see if my title shows up in time. If it doesn’t, then I’ll have to leave it with Alison’s sister until the title shows up, get the title forwarded to me, sign it, then send it to her, and have her sell it? UGH. What a hassle.
Whereas, if I had just done nothing – which is absolutely free to do, by the way – I’m sure I could’ve just driven my car over to CarMax or whatever and handed them the keys and gotten a check from them (I’m assuming they have some ability to pay off the lien or whatever. Who knows, maybe they don’t).
So, in summary – pay your car off the moment you start thinking about Portugal (or the rest of Europe, probably). Then you have the option (a misguided one, IMHO) to have it shipped over, or you can just sell it (which is the smart move). Don’t do the stupid thing that I did.