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Home Living in Portugal Government & Law Applying for a NIF in Portugal
Last update on 25/10/2022
Gary Buswell Written by Gary Buswell

To live in Portugal, you’ll need an NIF to do just about anything. Discover what this number does and how to apply for one.

Whether or not you’re a resident in Portugal, you’ll need a tax number – or Número de Indentificação Fiscal (NIF) – if you’re carrying out any official or legal activities in the country. Find out exactly what the Portuguese tax authorities use the NIF for and how to apply for one. Sections include:

Bordr

Start your Portuguese adventure with Bordr. They offer a streamlined online application process for your NIF and Portuguese bank account, so you can get set up quickly in Portugal, and their website has answers to many questions you might have. Contact Bordr to simplify your transition to Portugal.

The NIF in Portugal

The Portuguese NIF is the tax identification number for all Portuguese citizens, residents, and non-residents carrying out business or making official purchases that involve paying tax in Portugal. Consequently, you will need to apply for an NIF in Portugal if you move to the country for any period of time. You will also need the number if you live outside Portugal and want to carry out a significant financial transaction, for example, buying property.

A woman using an ATM

NIFs are issued by the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira – AT). They consist of nine digits unique to each individual. You can find your NIF on all correspondence from the tax authorities. The number also appears on the citizen ID card for Portuguese citizens. In addition, non-citizens living in Portugal can order a taxpayer card (Cartão de Contribuinte) which features the NIF.

What information does the Portuguese government keep about me?

The NIF is used by the Portuguese Tax Authority to calculate your fiscal responsibilities in Portugal. You will need it for a range of official activities related to receiving income or paying taxes. Permanent NIFs for Portuguese citizens and residents last for a lifetime. Non-residents carrying out financial transactions in Portugal get a temporary NIF used for that particular activity. They will then need to apply for another temporary number if they engage in future activities.

If you are a Portuguese citizen, you can apply for a citizen ID card which includes the following information about you:

  • Full name
  • Nationality
  • Gender
  • Photo and biometric information
  • Date of birth
  • Height
  • Signature
  • NIF
  • Social security number

Using your Portuguese NIF

You will need an NIF for a variety of different transactions in Portugal. These include:

There are no criminal sanctions for living in Portugal without an NIF. However, you will find it almost impossible to go about your day-to-day business as you won’t be able to do any of the above.

Who needs an NIF in Portugal?

Anyone living in Portugal and non-residents carrying out any of the transactions listed in the above section will need an NIF. This includes:

Short-term visitors and non-residents will receive a temporary NIF. If you move to Portugal for a longer period of time, for example, on a temporary visa, you may initially receive a temporary NIF before getting your permanent number.

How to apply for an NIF in Portugal

Citizens born in Portugal should automatically receive their NIF once they reach the age of 10. However, those moving to Portugal must apply for it. You can apply for a NIF in Portugal at any time in a variety of places. These include:

You can also use a service such as Bordr or NIF Online, which will sort out your application for you. This is particularly useful if you are applying for an NIF as a non-resident from outside the country, as you need a tax representative with power of attorney to do this for you.

Market stalls on a summer's day

If you are a non-EU/EFTA national applying for Portuguese residency via the Golden Visa program, you can apply for your NIF at the same time.

The documentary requirements for an NIF in Portugal are fairly straightforward. You will need:

  • Valid ID, which needs to be a passport or Portuguese residence document if you are a third-country national
  • Proof of address, for example, a utility bill or rental contract
  • Proof of power of attorney if a tax representative is applying for your NIF on your behalf

Application for the NIF in Portugal is free. However, if you want to purchase a taxpayer card that displays your NIF, this costs around €7. You can apply for a replacement (in Portuguese) if you lose this or it gets stolen.

Portuguese business tax numbers

If you start up a business in Portugal as a freelancer, sole trader, or unincorporated partnership, you can use your individual NIF for tax purposes. However, limited companies and other business forms that exist as a separate legal entity need their own NIF. This number for businesses is called the NIPC (Número de Identificação de Pessoa Colectiva). The NIPC also functions as a VAT number for tax purposes and consists of ‘PT’ followed by nine digits.

You will get your NIPC number when you register your business with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and the National Company Registry Office (Registo Nacional de Pessoas Colectivas). It is also possible to apply for the NIPC online using a service such as nif.pt. You will typically need to provide:

  • Business registration documents to prove that the business exists as its own legal entity
  • Proof of business address
  • ID of the person representing the business, for example, a passport or NIF, along with proof that they have authority to represent the business

Social security numbers in Portugal

While the NIF is used for tax calculations in Portugal, it doesn’t automatically grant access to social security benefits. For this, you will need to apply for a social security identification number (Número de Identificação da Segurança Social – NISS). Portuguese nationals don’t need to apply for a NISS as it is automatically assigned and appears on the citizen card. However, foreign residents will need to apply for one in order to access benefits such as the state pension and unemployment allowance.

The NISS consists of 11 digits. You can apply for the number yourself at either a social security district center or a local social security office (both links in Portuguese). You will need to provide a valid ID, such as a passport or residence permit, along with proof of Portuguese address. Alternatively, your employer or anyone with power of attorney can apply on your behalf. The application is free of charge.

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