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Starting Life When Moving to Portugal: How To Get A NIF

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When relocating to Portugal, one of the first acronyms you’ll learn is “NIF”. But what does this illusive acronym mean?NIF means “Número de Identificação Fiscal” (NIF) and it will be your taxpayer number in Portugal.

A NIF takes on a virtually mythological standing in Portugal. It is crucial to almost every procedure or administrative task and is essentially baked right into day-to-day life. From opening a checking account, signing a lease, getting a job or signing a mobile phone agreement. Without it, most everyday procedures are extremely difficult to complete.

So, how do you go about getting this vital piece of documentation? In this guide, we’re going to fill you in on all the important details. So, let’s dive in. 

What is a Portugal NIF number?

A NIF, or “Número de Identificação Fiscal”, is a Portuguese taxpayer number. It’s nine figures long and everybody in Portugal has one. You may be asking yourself, “Why is the NIF so important?” Well, once the Portuguese Tax Authority registers you by using the NIF, this number is then used for all relevant taxes and all required communications with the Tax Authority. It also serves to notify the authorities if you leave the country, which avoids future taxation problems.

Beyond that, the NIF is an essential first step for anyone looking to start a business, invest in real estate, or simply move there. It’s a mandatory requirement for opening a bank account, which is itself a prerequisite for founding a company in Portugal. 

In essence, if you’re planning on becoming a director, or shareholder, or have any formal business role in a Portuguese company, having an NIF isn’t optional—it’s compulsory. Think of it as your entry ticket to both personal and business opportunities in Portugal. Exciting, right?

Why do I require a Portugal NIF number?

To put it simply, anyone who resides in Portugal must have a taxpayer number – NIF – especially if you want to perform any official activities, like opening a bank account or investing in real estate.

If you want to use public services, have utilities or even get a driver’s license, you will need to hold an NIF. Not only that, but it is also the very first step toward starting a business.

Bottom line: if you are planning any type of financial transaction in Portugal, you must have a Portuguese NIF number.

What do I need a Portugal NIF number for?

Now that you know the importance of having an NIF, let’s talk about the different ways this magical number will come into play. There are many situations in which you must use the NIF, such as:

  • Buying and selling real estate.
  • Inheritance, wills and last testaments.
  • Opening a bank account.
  • Obtaining finance.
  • Paying taxes.
  • Receiving payments.
  • Studying at a University or College.
  • Signing up for electricity, internet and other utility services.
  • Applying for a driving license.
  • Getting a cell phone contract.
  • Incorporate a Company, whether you are a Shareholder or a Manager;
  • Get a job – execution of employment contract;
  • And many other financial or official tasks.

So, there you have it. The NIF isn’t just some random number; it’s a mandatory identifier for a wide range of financial and legal activities in Portugal. But how do you go about getting one? Let’s find out.

How to get a Portugal NIF

1. Check Your Residency Status

First off, are you a resident or a non-resident in Portugal? This will dictate how you go about getting your NIF.

2. For Non-Residents: Use Power of Attorney

If you’re not in Portugal, you can still get your NIF by giving Power of Attorney to a Portuguese lawyer. They’ll take care of the application for you.

3. For Residents: Visit the Local Tax Office

If you’re already in Portugal, simply go to the local tax office, also known as “Serviço de Finanças,” and request your NIF there.

4. Fill Out the Necessary Paperwork

You or your lawyer will need to fill out some forms and provide identification. Usually, you’ll need an ID and proof of address. We’ll dive deeper into the necessary paperwork later in the article.

5. Make Sure Your Documents Are in Order

If you’re using a lawyer, they’ll let you know what documents are needed. Double-check everything to avoid delays. 

6. Track Your Application

Lastly, once the forms are submitted, keep an eye on the application status. It’s important to know when your NIF is ready.

7. Need Help? Contact Lexidy

If all this sounds overwhelming, The ace team at Lexidy can help. We’ll gather your documents, review everything, and track the application until you have your NIF.

What documents do I need for the NIF Application?

Portugal NIF

In order to obtain a Portugal NIF, there are a number of documents you’ll need to get in order first:

  1. National Identification Document or Passport: You’ll need to provide an official form of identification to the Tax Authority. For most non-residents, a passport is the go-to option. Keep in mind that this document needs to be both notarized and apostilled—basically, it has to go through a process called the Hague Apostille to be recognized as legit.
  2. Proof of address: The Tax Authority also needs to know where you’re living. This address will be your tax domicile and you’ll need to show proof—think utility bill, rental agreement, or similar documents.
  3. Appointment a of Fiscal Representative and statement by the latter for acceptance of the appointment: If you’re a resident of an EU or EEA member state, appointing a fiscal representative is optional. If you’re from outside these regions, however, this step becomes mandatory. This representative helps manage tax matters on your behalf. 
  4. A Declaration of the fiscal representative accepting the appointment: If you do go the route of appointing a fiscal representative, you’ll also need a statement from them accepting the appointment. This confirms that they’re on board with managing your tax affairs.

A NIF and Portuguese Tax Card – What’s the Difference?

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The Portuguese Tax Card is a wallet-sized card you receive when you secure your permanent NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal). It features your unique NIF number, issue date, and the name of the issuing tax authority. 

But the Portugal NIF isn’t limited to this card; you’ll also find it on legal documents like tax papers and your citizen ID. It’s the go-to number for all interactions with Portugal’s tax authority.

How else can I use a Portugal NIF?

There are many uses of a NIF. However, the most lucrative is opening the door to a Golden Visa. Essentially, this is a visa that non-EU citizens to reside and work in Portugal if they make a financial investment.

In reality, it’s one of Europe’s most attractive Golden Visa programs. You only need to visit Portugal seven days per year to qualify and enjoy visa-free travel throughout the EU.

How Can we Assist You?

It’s simple. Our expert team of legal eagles at Lexidy are your one-stop shop for all things related to moving or investing in Portugal. 

From dissecting paperwork to demystifying procedures, we’ve got you covered. Need to fast-track things? We can even represent you through Power of Attorney to expedite the process and help you snag that all-important NIF.

Our goal? To offer you a seamless, effective, and secure journey that sets you up for a win in Portugal. If you’re ready to take the next step, fill out the form below and our team will be in touch to make your NIF dreams a reality.

We suggest that you contact us before you transfer to Portugal. Our team will assist you and ensure that your move, investment or legal matter goes as smoothly as possible.

How Can We help you?

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