For Future Portuguese: A NIF Guide

The Tax Identification Number is usually the reason for the first contact with the Portuguese administration. For those who want to live in Portugal, it is necessary.

The reason is simple: without it, you can't do anything. Although it may seem scary at the very beginning, it is not complicated to get this document. You can get it without even living in Portugal! Thankfully, nowadays, there are plenty of professionals who help non-experienced people to solve tasks of any complexity connected with moving to Portugal, starting a business there, and other related things.

With such assistance , you are guaranteed to get NIF Portugal with ease. But to begin with, let's learn a little bit more about it.


Why is it needed?

Why is it needed

Your Tax Identification Number is central in Portugal. You will definitely want to open a bank account, rent an apartment, have electricity…

Clearly: as soon as money is in question, the NIF is mandatory. It is needed for the Portuguese tax authorities to control monetary exchanges as much as possible, and therefore tax fraud.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, you can also give your NIF at the smallest  purchase, whether at the restaurant, at the hairdresser, or when doing your shopping. Doing so makes deducting part of the expenditure from your Portuguese taxes possible.


I don't live in Portugal yet; I'm applying for a non-resident NIF

If you do not have a “Carto de Cidadão” and are a foreigner, you logically do not yet have a NIF.

Attention: it is enough to have taken a step in Portugal in the past to have a NIF awarded. For example, a family has bought a small forest land in Portugal. This purchase is automatically registered in the “Finanças,” where a NIF is assigned automatically.

The request for obtaining this document is free and can be made either:

  • In any representation of the “Finanças” or at the nearest Loja do Cidadão. There are in almost every Portuguese city.
  • Since the Pandemic began, it can also be done online via the e-Balcão.

A representative

With the e-Balcão, you will need a representative who must be a resident in Portugal who will do this for you. If you don't know anyone in Portugal, it's better to come face-to-face and make the request. Demand is fast and obtaining the NIF is almost instantaneous.

Namely: if, for example, you are negotiating to rent an apartment, the owner or real estate agency can apply for NIF if they live in Portugal. Otherwise, without any other alternative, you may have to ask a lawyer or other professional for administrative procedures for a fee.

Obtaining the NIF online is slower than face-to-face, which can take two or three days, so mind it when choosing how you would apply.

Be vigilant about the requested NIF. It must be a non-resident NIF if you do not yet live in Portugal. Some administrative deadlines take into account the date of your arrival  to Portugal; it would be a shame to lose a few precious weeks or months because you are registered “too early.”


I live in Portugal; I have a resident NIF

Resident NIF

If you have decided to move to Portugal and start a business here, a resident NIF is needed. Concretely, nothing changes; the number remains the same. You can either do everything yourself or ask for professional assistance if you are not confident enough. Let's take a look at the documents needed.

Documents needed

  • Your national identity card or passport if you are a citizen of the European Union.
  • Non-EU residents can utilize their passports.
  • For children who do not yet have a Cartão de Cidadão or foreigners, a birth certificate
  • Proof of Portuguese residence for NIF resident applications: rental contract, a certificate from the town hall, etc.

Remember that children may also need a NIF. It is requested when they are enrolled in a Portuguese school, for example.

If you go face-to-face to request your NIF, it will be printed on a sheet of paper to keep. We advise you to know this number by heart, as you will need it in many cases.

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