Portugal NIF: What It Is And How To Get One?

Our guide explains how to obtain a NIF, a tax identification number required for banking, working and living in Portugal. Easy steps and tips included
February 16, 2023
Ana Fankhauser
February 16, 2023

Are you considering moving internationally?

People from all around the globe are considering relocating to another country. And, with technology the way it is today, it's more possible than ever before.

One of the hotspots people are relocating to is the sunny shores of Portugal. This country on the west coast of Europe is rapidly becoming a popular travel destination for ex-pats and tourists alike.

If you've never heard of a NIF, don't worry. This article will give you all the information you need. We'll talk about what a NIF is, why it's important, and what you need to do to get one.

If relocating to Portugal is your dream, you're going to want to stick around until the end of this article!

Let's dive in.

What is a Portugal NIF?

When moving to Portugal, your NIF will be an important part of your new documentation. It's your “Número de Identificação Fiscal”. Translated to English, that means your fiscal identification number.

This ID number is used for tax purposes. Anyone conducting business or paying invoices within the country should have one. A NIF isn't necessary for travel in Portugal. If you plan to travel as a tourist, you'll be fine without one.

But an NIF is important if you are planning to move to Portugal.

During your time in Portugal, you may also hear your NIF referred to as your “número de contribuinte” or "contribution number". To receive this number, you'll need to submit an application to the tax authorities in Portugal.

Your NIF will also be displayed on any tax paperwork you file while living in the country. It's also visible on your citizenship ID cards.

Who needs a NIF?

Anybody who wants to trade, conduct business, or live in Portugal should apply for a NIF. It's an easy process that can be completed before you arrive in the country.

If you want to do any standard activities like open a bank account, rent an apartment, pay electricity bills, or buy a car, you'll need to provide a NIF.

Applying for any type of loan or signing legal documents, like a mobile phone contract, will also require a valid NIF.

The process for obtaining one is simple, but it's not the same for everyone. It all depends on your home country. Since Portugal is part of the EU, EU residents have a different process than non-EU residents for obtaining their NIF.

Applying for a NIF number should be one of the first things you do when deciding to relocate to Portugal. Fortunately, it can be done from abroad.

Compare NIF Prices

Partners we recommend could result in us getting compensated. For more details, see our advertiser disclosure.

Company Service Price
MovingTo NIF 140 EUR Apply
Bordr NIF 150 USD Apply
Almeida, Dias and Associados NIF 150 EUR Apply
Lexidy NIF 250 EUR Apply

The NIF Application Process

There are four main ways for you to apply for your NIF. Each method has its own steps in the process. None of the application methods are difficult. The one you choose is going to depend on what works best for your situation.

Let's briefly outline them below.

Getting Your NIF Online

This is a popular method for individuals moving to Portugal. Getting their NIF is an easy item to cross off their "To-Do" list as they're preparing to relocate. It can be done quickly and easily as they pack up their belongings in their home country.

There are a variety of attorneys and other service providers that can help you get your NIF in Portugal. You'll need to do your research to determine which service is best for you. Once you locate an attorney, you'll have to give them power of attorney and appoint them as your fiscal representative.

The costs for this method of getting your NIF can range anywhere between €150 and €300. The average price is around €150.

Request a Tax Representative

Recently, Portugal has made it even easier to get your NIF remotely. These measures have been taken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals who want a NIF number can simply log in to Portugal's finance portal. Traditionally, this process would've required visiting Portugal's finance office in person or having a tax representative do it for you.

Requesting a tax representative is an important step in the process. The person you choose has to be a permanent resident of Portugal. It's not a matter of life and death, but your financial representative is taking on some level of responsibility.

You wouldn't want to walk up to a stranger in Lisbon and ask them to be your tax representative.

It's important to note that if you're a non-EU citizen, you will need a tax representative no matter what. Even if you visit the Finance Office in person, you'll need to bring a tax representative with you.

Most online NIF services will double as tax representatives. They have the ability to legally represent you as part of the online NIF process. The fee for their legal tax representation is covered in the fee you pay them to obtain your NIF.

Different companies and attorneys charge different rates for the NIF process. Check out our NIF prices comparison.

Even EU residents may need to hire a tax representative. Many EU residents who are moving to Portugal choose to apply for their NIF before they make the move. This makes the most sense because you're going to need a NIF to get a house or apartment once you arrive.

Email Portugal's Finance Office

The upside of this method is its cost. Emailing Portugal's finance office can be done at no charge. But, there are some minor drawbacks to taking this route.

Many people have had success obtaining their NIF this way. But, if you email a particular office and they don't answer, you'll have to move on to the next office.

The problem with this is that emailing each office one by one can be time-consuming. Also, each office can take multiple days to respond to your email inquiry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made this method of obtaining your NIF more challenging. Government staff in Portugal may not be in their normal office locations. Conduct thorough research before trying this method.

Visit Portugal's Finance Office

As we mentioned earlier, you're still going to need a financial representative if you decide to go this route. Of course, that's only if you're a non-EU resident.

EU residents can still handle this process on their own. The process remains free for EU residents. Non-EU residents will have to pay a fee of 10.20 euros. In addition to your fee, you'll also need to bring proper documentation.

When you visit the Finance Office in person, you'll need to bring some form of photo ID. For non-EU residents, this is typically a passport. EU residents can just bring their ID cards.

It's important to note that obtaining your NIF this way is now harder due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Documentation for a NIF

So, what type of documentation do you need to apply for a NIF? Well, that's a good question. The documents required are much fewer than for similar processes in other countries.

To start your NIF application process, you'll only need to send in a photo ID. This can be scanned and sent to the lawyer or financial representative helping you with the process. This is what the process looks like for EU residents.

For non-EU residents, you'll need a little more paperwork. You'll need to submit your passport. There's no way around this requirement.

Residents of Switzerland may be able to use their citizens' identity cards. And, in some cases, a birth certificate may be acceptable. This is a secondary option if you can't produce a passport.

If you apply for a NIF from abroad, you'll need to provide your passport and photo ID, no matter what. It doesn't matter where your address is currently located. Whether you're living in or outside of Portugal, you'll still need these documents.

This address information will be included in your 2-page NIF application document. Once you update your address to a Portuguese location, you'll automatically be established as a tax resident.

Proof of Residency

If you're applying for a NIF while living in the country, you need to provide proof of residency. Proof of your residential address can be shown in a variety of ways. You can show a rental contract, a utility bill, or some other mail with your current address on it.

You'll need to provide proof of residency and a passport ID, no matter your nationality or country of residence. If you currently live abroad, you would be required to send proof of residence from your current country.

Providing proof of residency from an address within Portugal is impossible without a NIF number. This number is required to purchase or rent any sort of real estate within the country.

Once the document is signed, it will then need to be translated into Portuguese. This document intends to officially express that you wish for this attorney to act on your behalf throughout the Portuguese NIF process.

What's next

Once you have a NIF, you can get your visa, move to Portugal, rent an apartment , and open a bank account. The Golden Program Visa is very popular, but it's not the best visa for everyone. After officially becoming a Portuguese tax resident, you can apply for the NHR tax regime , this is a very attractive option if you want to save some taxes while you life in Portugal

Residents can apply for the NHR regime once they become a tax resident of Portugal. The type of visa you apply for doesn't affect your application to receive the NHR regime.

In order to qualify for the NHR tax regime, you need to meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Anyone who hasn’t lived in Portugal for the past 5 years (foreigners or Portuguese)
  • Anyone who hasn’t been on the NHR scheme before (you can only join once)
  • Anyone who satisfies both of the rules above and also becomes a tax resident in Portugal

The NHR is one of the most popular resources for ex-pats in Portugal. Most people who choose to take up residency in Portugal will be living on some form of income. Receiving the NHR tax regime offers residents the most favorable tax rates on that income.

The tax breaks that you receive will be dependent upon the industry that you're working in.

In recent years, even more people are coming to Portugal for the NHR tax regime. This is because not only does it offer great tax rates on income and free dividends, it offers great tax rates on cryptocurrency investments too.

Portuguese tax residents can realize profits from their crypto investments 100% free of capital gains tax. This is one of many initiatives taken to help grow the Portuguese economy.

Costs of the NIF Application

It doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money to get your NIF. The process is relatively simple and doesn't require any specialized skills or expertise. It's not like applying for a visa or filing a Portuguese tax return.

Several companies will help you get your NIF online for a reasonable price.

Fortunately, we've created a comparison chart to allow you to quickly view and compare your different options.

Companies To Help With Filing

Several companies will help you with filing your NIF application. They charge a reasonable fee to act as a financial representative and walk you through the entire process.

Two major companies that perform this service are Bordr or any of the other law firms listed here. These companies will handle every step of the process for you from start to finish. Generally, their fees fall somewhere around the average of approximately 200 euros.

For more ratings on these companies, as well as others that perform this service, visit our blog.

Portugal Is Waiting

Now that you have your NIF or Portuguese fiscal number, you can go explore! Portugal is an amazing country with much to offer. The buzz of city life, amazing culture, and fantastic cuisine is nothing short of extraordinary.

If you have any more questions on living a life in Portugal, contact MovingTo today. We're more than happy to help you in any way we can.

Written by
Author's profile picture

Ana Fankhauser

Ana has worked in many startups and moved to a few countries, which led her to create MovingTo. She believes that remote work is a growing trend that is here to stay and that digital nomads will move to countries that have more to offer than the ones you were born into. She mostly writes opinion pieces for MovingTo.

Connect with Ana on LinkedIn
Share this post
Share tips, news, insights with the Movingto community on Facebook. It's completely free.
Join our Facebook Group
Check it out
Ana Fankhauser
movingto facebook group

Join our Facebook Group

Share tips, news, insights with the Movingto community on Facebook. It's completely free.