To reside in the country you’ll need an NIF number. Discover what this is and what you’ll need it for, in this handy guide to NIF Portugal.
Whether you are a resident or non-resident in Portugal, you will need a tax number or Numero de Indentificacao Fiscal (NIF) if you are carrying out any official or legal activities in Portugal. You will need to apply for a Portuguese NIF number through the tax authorities and the process is slightly different for nationals from non-EU countries.
This guide will look at the essential information concerning NIF Portugal.
What is a Portuguese NIF number?
The Portuguese NIF number is a tax identification number used for tax purposes in Portugal when you pay taxes, make official purchases such as buying a property as well as carrying out other formal activities. The Portuguese NIF number is issued by the Portuguese Tax Authority and is something that should be sorted out as soon as possible if you are staying in Portugal, even if only for a short-term residency.
The NIF number in Portugal is a 9 digit number unique to each individual and will be found on any tax correspondence with the Portuguee Tax Authority as well as on tax cards that are issued as well as on the Portuguese citizen’s ID card.
Who needs an NIF number?
Anyone who is living in Portugal, both official residents and citizens as well as foreign non-residents, needs to have an NIF number in Portugal. It’s not a legal requirement to obtain one and you won’t get into trouble just for not having one, but without one you will not be able to carry out activities such as buying property, opening a bank account, getting credit, getting a mobile phone contract or even take up employment.
If you are a non-resident or a temporary resident, you may be initially issued with a temporary or provisional NIF number in Portugal which will be replaced with a permanent NIF number after a few months or when you become a permanent resident. See our guide to Portuguese citizenship and permanent residency for more information on who qualifies as a Portuguese citizen or permanent resident.
How to apply for an NIF number
You can apply for an NIF number in Portugal at a number of outlets. The following are all places where you can get a Portuguese NIF number:
- The local tax office of the Portuguese tax authority
- At a local branch of a Citizen Shop
- At a counter that provides the Citizen Card
If you are a non-resident and want to apply for a Portuguese NIF number from outside the country, for example if you want to buy property there, you can get a temporary NIF number from a Portuguese lawyer or a fiscal representative based in Portugal who agrees to act on your behalf.
If you are a non-EU/EEA national applying for Portuguese residency by making a significant investment in the Portuguese economy through the Golden Visa programme, you can apply for a Portuguese NIF number at the same time. See our guide to the Portuguese Golden Visa for more information.
Businesses can apply for an NIF number in Portugal online, but this option is not currently available for individuals.
Requirements for a Portuguese NIF number
The document requirements for a Portuguese NIF number are fairly minimal. You will need to present photo ID (or a scanned, signed copy if applying through a lawyer or representative). For nationals from outside the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, this has to be a passport. For EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, it can be a civil ID card. In some circumstances, those unable to present a passport or official photo ID can use their birth certificate instead.
If you are applying for a Portuguese NIF number from inside Portugal, you will need to show proof of address (utility bill, etc.). If you are applying from abroad through a lawyer or a fiscal representative, you will need to provide a Power of Attorney document (translated into Portuguese) which grants them permission to act on your behalf.
There is no fee attached to obtaining an NIF number in Portugal, although there is a charge of EUR 6.80 for the issuing of a Portuguese tax card.
Using your Portuguese NIF number
Your Portuguese NIF number will be needed to carry out various transactions in Portugal, including:
- buying and selling property in Portugal
- inheriting Portuguese assets in a last will and testament
- opening a bank account in Portugal
- obtaining any kind of credit in Portugal, including getting a mortgage or taking out a mobile phone contract
- paying taxes in Portugal. See our guide to tax in Portugal for more information
- receiving an income for work or business in Portugal
- studying in Portugal
- receiving social security payments in Portugal
- setting up utilities or telecommunications in Portugal
- buying a car or applying for a driving license in Portugal
Portuguese tax card
You will be issued with a Portuguese tax card when you receive your permanent NIF number in Portugal. The card is a standard credit card/ID card sized document that contains your unique NIF number, date of issue and regional tax authority that issued the card. The current cost of a Portuguese tax card is EUR 6.80.
- Portuguese Tax Authority website
- Portuguese Portal of Public Services website, with information on tax services in Portugal
- Website where you can search and validate NIF numbers for Portuguese online companies
Click to the top of our guide to the NIF number, Portugal.