Updated: October 25, 2023
A NIF number is an important and necessary number that you will need to complete any legal transactions in Portugal. Luckily, the process of getting a NIF number in Portugal is easy! Our guide will tell you all you need to know about a Portugal NIF number – what it is, how to get it, and why you need it.
What is a NIF number?
A NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal) is an Individual Tax Identification Number that is used in Portugal. This unique nine-digit number is also known as the contribution number (Número de contribuinte) or personal tax number. As it is a taxpayer number, it is issued by the country’s tax authorities and, as mentioned, is unique for each person.
Who needs a Portuguese NIF number?
If you live in Portugal, you must obtain a Portuguese NIF number. This is particularly important for anyone intending to run official and legal fiscal activities, such as opening a Portuguese bank account, purchasing property in Portugal, or for tax purposes. There are cases where a NIF number is not necessary, such as for students living in Portugal for a short period of time. However, in order to conduct any such activities in Portugal, you must have an Individual Taxation Number.
This means that Portuguese residents, non-residents, and Portuguese citizens must get a NIF number. While there is no criminal sanction against you if you do not obtain a taxpayer number, it is essential to conduct financial activities in a number of areas in Portugal. If you choose not to obtain this number, you will not be able to conduct activities in these areas. For example, you need your NIF number in order to get your Portuguese social security number.
An article that may also be of interest to you is about the NISS number in Portugal. This is your social security number. You can find out more in this article: How to Get Your NISS Social Security Number in Portugal.
Where can I use my Portuguese NIF number?
Areas where your NIF number is required:
- The purchase and sale of a property
- The renting of a property
- The purchase of a car
- The application for a driving license
- The application for a residency visa
- Inheriting Portuguese assets in a last will and testament
- Opening a bank account
- Receiving an income for business/work
- Receiving social security payments
- Getting loans (e.g., getting a mortgage, signing a mobile phone contract)
- Paying taxes in Portugal
- Attending a local university
- Setting up telecommunications or utilities
- Signing a mobile phone contract
- Most other fiscal activities
An advantage of having a Portuguese NIF number is the potential to save some money. In a shop or supermarket, it is common to be asked for your contribuinte. While you are not obligated to give it out, you can sometimes get tax back against certain items if you do. For example, you could get tax back against grocery items or haircuts up to a certain amount each year. As such, it’s a good idea to get your NIF number as soon as possible, as well as to memorize it for use in such instances.
How to Get a NIF Number in Portugal
It is free to obtain your NIF in Portugal. If you wish to get a Portuguese tax card, however, you will need to pay €6.80. The process of applying for the NIF in Portugal is different for citizens of the European Union (EU) and non-EU citizen. The section below will provide a guide on how to apply for your NIF number, depending on your nation and residency.
Portuguese residents can apply for the NIF number in the following ways:
- As an individual, you can apply in person at your local Portuguese tax office (Finanças office), or you can visit a citizen’s shop.
- You can appoint a lawyer or an accountant to apply for the NIF in Portugal on your behalf.
- Businesses can apply online at Finanças, but the website is in Portuguese only. If you are not proficient in Portuguese, it may be more practical to apply in person at the local tax office.
If you are not a Portuguese resident, it is possible to apply for your taxpayer number from outside of Portugal. In such cases, a non-resident can appoint a tax representative, such as a lawyer, as their proxy. This person does not need to be a lawyer, but they do need to be a Portuguese tax resident and a Portuguese permanent resident or citizen. This proxy can get a temporary number for the individual, which will be replaced by a permanent NIF number after a few months, or following the individual becoming a permanent resident in Portugal.
If you do not live in Portugal, you may not know anyone in the country. As such, you may feel more comfortable using a law firm or company to obtain your NIF for you. This will typically cost you about €100-€200, but some companies may charge more. A more affordable option is to use an online company, as they tend to charge a lower cost. GetNIFportugal can help you with the process of obtaining a NIF number from the comfort of your own home before moving to Portugal.
Step by Step Guide to Getting Your NIF
Step 1. Obtain the required documents
Step 2. Visit your closest Finanças
Step 3. Get your NIF number
Fortunately, the steps required to obtain your NIF number are straightforward: collect the required documents, visit your nearest tax office (Finanças), and get your NIF number.
Step 1: Obtain the required documents
The following documents are necessary to get your taxpayer number:
- A photo ID
- Provide proof of residence
A photo ID
When you have appointed a proxy to obtain the number on your behalf, a scanned, signed copy of your photo identification is sufficient.
Citizens of the EU, European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland can show their passports or citizen’s identity card.
For non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, you must show your passport. In cases where the passport or photo ID can’t be submitted, it is sometimes possible to present your birth certificate instead.
Proof of residence
Individuals living in Portugal, when applying for a NIF number, will need to provide a Portuguese address. This proof of residency can take the form of a rental agreement, utility bill, etc.
EU citizens living elsewhere and who do not have a Portuguese address can obtain their proof of residence from someplace else in the EU.
Those applying for a NIF number from outside of the EU/EEA must assign power of attorney to a lawyer or representative so that they may act on the individual’s behalf. To do so, the individual must provide the lawyer/representative with a document signed by an attorney and translated into Portuguese. In this case, it will be sufficient to provide a bank statement no older than three months that states the individual’s non-Portuguese residential address.
Step 2: Visit your closest Finanças
You can go to your local tax office (Finanças), but it may be easier to find your nearest government office. Take your passport/ID card and proof of residence with you, and remember to confirm their opening and closing hours before arriving at their offices. As the Finanças offices can be quite busy, it is a good idea to arrive before the specified opening times.
Step 3: Get your NIF number
Once you have submitted your photo ID/ID card and proof of residence, you will qualify to receive your NIF number. This can usually take a few minutes, and once you have received your NIF number, it will not expire.
How is a Portuguese tax card different from a Portugal NIF number?
When you obtain your permanent NIF number, the Portuguese tax authority will issue you a Portuguese Tax Card. As mentioned above, the NIF cost is free. Your tax card, however, will cost you €6.80. The card is small, about the same size as a credit card, and includes the following information: your unique NIF number, the issue date, and the name of the issuing regional tax authority. You can also find your NIF number on documents related to legal activities, such as your citizen ID card. The number will also be used in any and all communication that occurs between you and the tax authorities of Portugal.
What is the role of the NIF number through the Portugal Golden Visa process?
As mentioned in the sections above, a NIF in Portugal is required for a number of areas and operations. It is also required for several transactions that need to be performed in order for you to obtain the Portuguese Golden Visa.
Investors applying for the Portugal Golden Visa will need to apply for a NIF number. This residency by investment program also enables applicants who are non-EU/EEA nationals to apply for a NIF number.
To secure Portuguese residency through the Portuguese Golden Visa, you will need to invest in the Portuguese economy, of which there are several options available, from investing in a cultural production or investment funds.
Goldcrest: Who We Are and How We Can Help You
Goldcrest is a buyer’s agent that is based in Lisbon. We provide expert impartial advice on real estate investments and how to buy property in Portugal. From scouting out the perfect property through to property acquisition, we have you covered.
If you are looking to purchase property in Portugal, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team of skilled experts is available to solve all your real estate doubts, offering insightful expertise and strategic advice. We are focused on securing the best deal for you.
As you can see, it is necessary to get a NIF in Portugal. Whether you are a Portuguese citizen or resident, a non-resident, a tax resident, or looking to conduct business in the country, getting your Portuguese NIF number is important. Fortunately, the process is simple, whether you are in Portugal or require a proxy to act on your behalf as your fiscal representative. All you need is your national ID card/passport and proof of residence, and once you have your NIF number, it will never expire!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Getting a NIF in Portugal
What is a NIF number in Portugal?
A NIF number (Número de Identificação Fiscal) is an Individual Tax Identification Number, also known as your contribution number (Número de contribuinte). It is nine digits and unique to each person. This personal tax number is used in Portugal to complete any official or legal transaction and is issued by the Portuguese tax authorities. When you have your NIF, you will find the number on documents related to legal activities, such as your citizen card.
How do I get a NIF number in Portugal?
If you are a resident of Portugal or reside within the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA), you can apply for your NIF number at your nearest local tax or government office using your photo ID/passport and proof of residence. This document can be a utility bill, rental contract, etc. If you are a non-resident residing outside the EU/EEA, you will need to assign power of attorney to a proxy. They will act on your behalf and submit your documents in person.
Can I get a Portuguese NIF online?
Finanças does provide online services for businesses wishing to apply for a NIF number online. An important note is that the website is in Portuguese only. Individuals will need to apply in person or through a proxy if they do not reside in Portugal. GetNIFportugal can help you with the process of obtaining a NIF number. Remember that if you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to have a tax representative in Portugal who is a Portuguese citizen or resident. If you are an EU citizen, you will not need to have a fiscal representative. A Portuguese lawyer can also act as your fiscal representative.
How long does a NIF last in Portugal?
Once obtained, your NIF number will not expire.
Why do I need a NIF number?
A NIF number is a unique nine digitas number that is essential for a wide range of activities in Portugal, including financial transactions, property dealings, employment, and legal procedures, requiring it for purposes such as taxation, banking, property transactions, employment, and legal matters. You essentially need a NIF for any significant financial transactions in Portugal. If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to have a tax representative in Portugal. If you are an EU citizen, however, you do not need to have a fiscal representative or fiscal representation in Portugal.