Obtaining your NIF outside of Portugal

Obtaining a Portuguese Tax Number (NIF) is the first and most important administrative step that any individual must take when deciding to have a primary residence in Portugal. Regardless of your status and main activity, having a fiscal identification will allow you to be considered as a resident in Portugal, to subscribe to life or health insurance, to work and even to consider opening a bank account. The NIF becomes, in other words, your tax identification number and it is best to apply for it before moving to Portugal. What is the NIF in Portugal and what are the tax advantages of this obligation? How to obtain a tax identification number before arriving in Portugal ?
Hand signing NIF papers

What is the NIF in Portugal ? 

Still called "número de contribuinte", the NIF corresponds to the identification or tax registration numbers in Portugal. This number is unique to individuals and consists of 9 digits. Any legal entity residing in Portugal, local or foreign, must apply for it. Moreover, if you are a French resident, a Swiss resident, a Belgian resident, a Spanish resident or an American resident, and you wish to live in Portugal, you must first apply for a taxpayer number. This must be done with the Portuguese tax authorities based on specific supporting documents. 

Like the social security number, the NIF is registered on a dedicated document. In this case, it is a single document, in the form of a paper or a PDF document, which includes identity data (name and surname, date of birth, place of birth, civil status, etc.), social security identifiers, health service user identifiers, etc. Note that the NIF is the first step to take before settling in Portugal. Without this registration number, you will be blocked for several administrative procedures.

In Portugal, you can use this number or identification card to file an annual income tax return with the tax authorities or to file another tax treaty. Also, you have to use it to buy a car or a property, open a bank account, take out an insurance contract, subscribe to a telephone, internet or TV service or sign an employment contract with any Portuguese company. 

In addition, obtaining a tax number in Portugal can allow you to benefit from tax breaks and reductions on the annual amount of taxes payable to the tax office. In your new country of residence, this tax ID or proof of residence allows you to easily reside, to benefit from real estate, to conduct your professional activity or sole proprietorship. You will benefit from the Portuguese tax system! 

Portuguese NIF Portuguese NIF

Solutions to obtain the NIF before arriving in Portugal

To get a number and become a resident in their host country, legal entities have several options to choose from. Here are some solutions to apply for a "numero de contribuinte" in Portugal.

1 - Be represented by a third party

You can ask for the help of a person fiscally resident in Portugal to apply for a number or to register in the tax directory. The fiscal representative will go to the Finanças, a formalities center to help you obtain a temporary NIF. This may well help you to have a tax resident status and to sign the purchase or rental of property in Portugal. In this case, taxable persons must provide the following documents: an identity document or a valid passport, proof of residence from their country of origin and the deed of appointment of their fiscal representative in Portugal. After obtaining a fiscal domicile in Portugal, go to the Loja do Cidadão closest to your address to obtain your definitive NIF. We are providing tax representative for 1 year for each NIF we delivered at Anchorless.

2 - Apply for your NIF online

It is possible to apply for your NIF completely online, especially through services that handle your NIF application for you. This is often the easiest and fastest way to get your NIF before arriving in Portugal when you don't know any Portuguese resident. These services take care of assigning you a tax representative, who will be in charge of sending you all the information that the Portuguese tax office will have to send you. You will receive your NIF number document after only a few days by email, in PDF format.

3 - Obtaining residency status in Portugal through a lawyer 

Apart from the previous options, you can obtain the NIF and even the security number through a lawyer. With this solution, you will have a tax identification number and be counted as a tax resident. Whether you are a micro-entrepreneur, a sole proprietorship, or a worker in a large government or small company, individual firms and lawyers can help you obtain a NIF. They act as a tax representative, similar to the role that every Portuguese establishment plays when you are their future non-resident employee. However, their services are often very expensive, often exceeding 1000 euros.

Physical NIF delivery Physical NIF delivery

Obtaining a tax status before moving to Portugal is the best solution to make all the administrative procedures in Portugal easier. Also, obtaining your number or making the tax declaration allows you to carry out your activity as a company owner, to subscribe to a health insurance contract, to fill in the formalities of the companies, to register your activity, to have your private space and to establish its resistance. You will feel less of the cost of living, because you will be able to pass all the tax conventions. This is what the NIF is for and how to obtain it.

Updated at 05-09-2023 by AnchorLess

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