What is a NIF number?

The Portuguese NIF number, commonly referred to as "Número do Contribuinte" or the "Número de Identificação Fiscal," is your tax identification number. 

You will need a NIF to perform any economic activity in Portugal. Every person has a unique nine-digit number that functions as their tax identification. The Portuguese tax authorities (autoridade tributária or Finanças) issue the NIF number. 

Whilst the NIF itself is technically free, it can end up costing some money due to procedural fees. If you want to get your NIF online using a tax representative, online businesses can charge for this process, and if you would like a Portuguese tax card, Finanças charge €6.80 for this service.

Both Portuguese residents and non-residents must have a NIF as you need it to obtain a residency permit or carry out any financial transactions in Portugal, such as signing a lease or setting up WiFi. As a foreigner living or working in Portugal, obtaining a NIF is particularly important to access public services, such as healthcare, education, or social security benefits. It is also required to pay taxes on income earned in Portugal and to apply for a Portuguese residency or citizenship.

If you're thinking about relocating to Portugal, conducting any business here, or simply staying in the country for an extended period, getting your NIF should be a top priority. 

Who needs a NIF number in Portugal?

NIF in Portugal

Anyone legally residing in Portugal, including citizens, official residents, and foreign non-residents, must have a Portuguese NIF number, especially if they engage in official or legal fiscal activities (i.e., opening a bank account, paying taxes, or buying property in Portugal).

Whilst it's optional by law to have a NIF, your options for engaging in any official financial transaction in Portugal would become seriously limited. Why, you ask? Well, for starters, you won't be able to do anything without it! Want to open a bank account? Get a NIF. Want to buy a car? Get a NIF. 

You need a NIF to get credit, open a Portuguese bank account, get a job, sign a mobile phone contract, and lease. Yes, not having a NIF can become seriously inconvenient. 

If you are a non-resident or a temporary resident, you might be issued a temporary NIF number. This temporary number will eventually be changed to a permanent one whenever you become a permanent resident. 

Where do you use your Portuguese NIF number?

In Portugal, you'll need your NIF (tax identification number) to engage in all financial activities, including: 

  • Buying and selling real estate
  • Paying taxes in Portugal
  • Creating an online profile with the Portuguese tax authority website (portal das finanças)
  • Receiving Portuguese assets as inheritance
  • Registering a Portuguese bank account
  • Taking out loans (such as getting a mortgage or signing a mobile phone contract)
  • Studying at a local university
  • Generating income via a business or job
  • Signing a contract for a mobile phone
  • Installing utilities or telecommunications
  • Accessing the social security system(healthcare, education, unemployment or sickness payments)
  • Making social security payments
  • Filing a tax return
  • Car purchase or driving license application
  • Becoming a Portuguese tax resident
  • Inheriting Portuguese assets

How to Get a NIF Number in Portugal

Let's look at how to get a NIF. There are slightly different rules for European Union citizens compared to non-European Union/European Economic Area citizens. For example, EU/EEA citizens do not need a fiscal representative to endorse their application and can apply independently. 

Do you need a Fiscal Representative in Portugal?

There's also a slight difference in procedure for non-residents in Portugal and residents in Portugal. We'll outline these procedures below.

For non-residents in Portugal

You can still apply for a NIF without being a resident of Portugal and without being present in person. This is done using a Portuguese attorney or fiscal agent who acts on your behalf as a tax representative and obtains a temporary number. Your fiscal representative must be a Portuguese resident.

When the NIF holder becomes a permanent resident of Portugal, the temporary number will be changed to a permanent one.

For residents in Portugal

Pay taxes in Portugal

If you're a resident of Portugal, you can apply for your NIF by: 

If you have applied to the Portugal Golden Visa program, you can apply for a Portuguese NIF number at the same time as applying for Portuguese residency. Individuals cannot apply for a NIF number online, but businesses can do so. 


A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a NIF Number

You can get your Portuguese tax number, the NIF, by following three simple steps.

Step one: Obtain the required documents

  • Photo ID

If you're a European Union/European Economic Area/Swiss citizen applying for a NIF, you need a scanned and signed copy of your photo ID. Any non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens must present a passport or citizen identification card. 

A birth certificate may be required if you cannot submit a passport or other valid photo ID to the tax office.

  • Proof of residency

When applying for a NIF, people who reside in Portugal are required to give their residential address. They can show proof of residency through a lease, a utility bill, or a CRUE (Certificate of Residence). 

Non-resident EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can provide proof of address from within the EU, or if they're already living in Portugal they can provide a Portuguese address.

If you're applying for a NIF from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland, you must send a power of attorney that has been translated into Portuguese. The power of attorney should state that your lawyer/representative can act on your behalf. 

Once you have your power of attorney, you can establish proof of residency in your country of origin by submitting a recent bank statement.

Step two: Visit the closest Finanças

If you're already in Portugal, visit your local tax office (Finanças). You must bring your passport/ID card and proof of address with you. If you're required to have a fiscal representative, they must also attend. 

When visiting the local tax office, they can either give you an appointment on the spot or might book you in for an appointment down the line, depending on their availability. Make sure you check the opening and closing hours of your local branch. There are usually very long lines, and we'd recommend arriving early in the morning, around 20 minutes before the opening time, to avoid queuing and to guarantee an appointment. 

We'd recommend brushing up on your Portuguese or bringing somebody who can speak Portuguese to your appointment. Depending on the location of the Finanças, there can sometimes be a language barrier.

Step three: Getting a NIF number

You will be able to receive your NIF number after submitting these documents. You'll typically have to wait a few minutes to receive your NIF in the tax office. If you've applied to get a NIF online, this might take longer and typically takes two to three weeks. 

Congratulations, you're all set up. Once you have your NIF you can start living like a Portuguese citizen - free to take part in any economic activity.

Getting your NIF online

If you'd rather get your NIF online and save yourself the in-person hassle, get in touch with us. We're experts at getting NIFs online. 

Simply get your document in order, fill out our online form, and make a payment, and you should receive your NIF within two to three weeks. Order your NIF by completing this form. We will make the request to the Portuguese tax authority on your behalf so that you can receive the NIF by email. We can also answer any questions you might have during the process and can translate any queries by Finanças.

Do you need a tax representative to get a NIF?

Every non-EU citizen with business involvement in Portugal has to appoint a NIF tax representative registered with the tax department. A tax representative is an individual or business (such as getnifportugal) that serves as a point of contact between a non-resident individual or business and Finanças.

The representative can be any Portuguese local resident, as long as they have a Portuguese address they can submit on your NIF registration application. However, we would recommend against registering your NIF through a friend. Local residents might not know the nuances of Portuguese tax law, and it could be too much responsibility. If your friend is leaving Portugal, your tax situation can also become complicated.

Because of this, we recommend leaving it up to the professionals. For more information, read our article on fiscal representation for the NIF

Useful links

We've written extensive articles about the Portugal relocation and tax process. Portuguese bureaucracy can be difficult to navigate, especially if you don't speak the language. Our blog aims to make these processes easier for you.

These articles might be of interest to you as you go through the NIF and relocation process:

How is a NIF number different from a Portuguese Tax Card?

The Portuguese tax office can issue you a tax card when they issue you your NIF. The Portuguese tax card is a credit card-sized document that includes your unique NIF number, the date of issue, and the name of the issuing regional tax authority. A tax card in Portugal costs €6.80.

The NIF number, on the other hand, can be found on any document related to legal activity, such as on tax cards or any correspondence between the individual and the Portuguese tax authorities.

The NIF (número de identificação fiscal) is automatically linked and accessible on the Citizen Identity Card for Portuguese citizens who live in the European Union. If they reside in third countries and previously obtained the NIF while living in Portugal, or if they request it separately, it will be included in a dedicated document.


The Role of a NIF Number in the Portugal Golden Visa Process

A NIF number is essential to carry out the transactions necessary to obtain the Portuguese Golden Visa. Investors can apply for a NIF number at the same time as they apply for a Portugal Golden Visa

One of the main requirements for the Golden Visa is to maintain a minimum investment amount and comply with tax obligations in Portugal. To fulfill these obligations, the investor must obtain a NIF number. It is required to submit tax returns and pay taxes on income generated in Portugal, which is a key requirement for maintaining the Golden Visa status.

You must obtain a NIF number if you are conducting legal business in Portugal. You can either get the NIF by following the steps above, or you can contact us, and we can get a NIF on your behalf. 

Frequently asked questions

What is a NIF number?

The NIF is the número de identificação fiscal, your tax identification number. It’s also known as your contribution number (Numero de Contribuinte). 

It’s a unique nine-digit code that allows you to engage in any type of commercial or financial activity in Portugal.

Can I get a Portuguese NIF online?

Yes, you can. Foreign citizens can apply for their NIF online in Portugal using a fiscal representative. 

Why do you need a NIF in Portugal?

The NIF is required in Portugal for any type of financial activity, from working a job to purchasing property in the country.

Can I cancel my NIF in Portugal?

You can’t cancel your NIF in Portugal once it has been assigned to you by the Portuguese tax office. We advise that you only apply for a NIF if you need one.

What is the benefit of a NIF number in Portugal?

In Portugal, every person or organization has their own NIF number (número de identificação fiscal or tax identification number), which is provided by the Finance and Taxation department (Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira, also known as Finanças). 

This number is necessary for various transactions, such as purchasing property, opening a bank account, obtaining a loan, signing an employment contract, and managing tax and social security activities. It also indicates the individual’s residency status.

Do I need a NIF to rent in Portugal?

Yes, in most cases, you will need a NIF number to rent a property in Portugal. This is because landlords often require a NIF number for the lease agreement and to register the rental contract with the tax authorities. 

Additionally, a NIF number is needed to open a bank account in Portugal, which is usually required for paying rent and utilities. It is important to note that there may be some exceptions depending on the landlord and the rental agreement, but having a NIF number will generally make the rental process smoother and easier.

Do you need a NIF to buy a car in Portugal?

When buying a car in Portugal, you’re usually asked for your photo ID, proof of residence in Portugal, and your NIF.

Who issues NIFs in Portugal?

The tax authorities of Portugal (Finanças) issue your NIF number. Getting your NIF number is free. However, if you want to get a Portuguese tax card, you’ll be charged €6.80. 

How do I change my address with NIF Portugal?

There are two ways to change your address with Finanças in Portugal. The first is to visit a Finanças office in person and provide proof of your new Portuguese address, such as a utility bill, rental contract, or property deed. The address can be updated on the spot. 

The second option is to use the Finanças online portal to make the change.

Can I get a Portuguese NIF online?

No, you personally cannot apply for a Portuguese NIF online. You need to visit a Citizen’s Shop (Loja do Cidadão) in person to apply for a NIF. However, we can apply for your NIF online as your tax representative. If you apply online through our service, we will apply for a NIF on your behalf, and forward your tax identification number to you by email within two to three weeks.

How can I get a free NIF in Portugal?

To obtain a free NIF in Portugal, you can apply in person at a Citizen’s Shop or at a Finanças office.

Can a non-resident get a NIF in Portugal?

Yes, non-residents can get a NIF in Portugal. If you have a tax representative in Portugal, they can apply for a NIF on your behalf. Alternatively, you can apply for a NIF personally when visiting Portugal.

What documents are required for a NIF in Portugal?

To apply for a NIF in Portugal, you typically need to provide identification documents such as a passport or national ID card. Proof of address may also be required, along with any relevant supporting documents based on your specific situation (e.g., employment contract, rental agreement).

How much does it cost to get a NIF in Portugal?

Obtaining a NIF in Portugal is generally free of charge. However, there may be associated costs for specific services or processes related to your circumstances, such as legal or administrative fees.

Do I need a NIF to buy a house in Portugal?

Yes, having a NIF is usually necessary when buying a property in Portugal. It is advisable to obtain a NIF before engaging in any real estate transactions to ensure a smooth process.