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Social Security Number Portugal (NISS): Complete Guide
Updated: November 28, 2023 | Natalia
If you are planning to move to Portugal and potentially become a citizen of the beautiful European Union country, there are some important administrative tasks you will need to take care of.
One of the most important steps is obtaining the social security number Portugal administers, the Número de Identificação da Segurança Social (NISS). Also known as a Social Security Identification Number, this handy number registers you in the European Union and allows you to access the Portuguese social security system and European economic area, and you can use it to pay social security contributions.
In this blog post, we’ll be outlining how to get a Social Security Identification Number in Portugal, and we’ll provide you with some essential information about the country’s social security system.
What is the NISS in Portugal?
The NISS, also known as De Segurança Social NISS, is the Portuguese social security number. It is a crucial identification number for individuals working in Portugal, including both employees and self-employed freelancers, as it is used for various social security and taxation purposes.
Who needs a NISS?
People who are working in Portugal, such as employees, freelancers, or students, need a NISS number. On the other hand, if you are retired or don’t plan on working, you may not need a NISS. So, whether or not you need a NISS in Portugal depends on your employment status.
How to Get a Social Security Identification Number (NISS) in Portugal
In order to get a NISS, you need to have a valid residence permit and work permit. You can request a Social Security Identification Number if you have paid at least six months of tax contributions to the state.
You must visit your nearest social security office, known in Portugal as a “Segurança Social”, fill out one of the two social security applications based on your employment status, and present the necessary documents specified below.
- If you are employed, you must fill out this application form and give it to your employer. Form RV1009/2009 (Download Form RV1009/2015 for employees in Portugal, PDF only in Portuguese).
- If you are a self-employed freelancer, you must complete Form RV1000/2007 – DGSS (Download Form RV1000/2007 – DGSS for self-employed/freelancers in Portugal, PDF only in Portuguese).
Note that obtaining a NISS in Portugal can take some time. After Segurança Social (the Portuguese social security department) approves the applicant’s supporting documentation, there can be a long waiting time before the applicant receives a formal letter stating their social security number. For the time being, it is not possible to apply for a NISS online through the social security portal.
With that being said, the Portuguese government has made some changes to improve speed since January 2020.
Both employees with work contracts and self-employed workers can receive their number in person after submitting their documents at their closest Segurança Social office.
You will have to provide all the following documents for your NISS, along with a social security application form:
- ID document (A valid passport or citizen card original document)
- Your NIF (Tax Payer Identification Number)
- A valid work and residence permit (i.e., a Schengen Visa)
- Documents that provide more information about your work and earnings, such as an employment contract or a company formation document
To obtain a NISS, you will need to have a valid residence permit and have paid at least six months of tax contributions to the state.
You will need to visit your nearest Segurança Social and fill out one of two social security applications based on your employment contract. You will also need to present the specific necessary documents outlined above. Make sure you submit all these documents, including Form RV1009/2009 for employees in Portugal.
Once you have obtained your NISS, you will be able to access social security services through the social security system, make social security payments, and receive various benefits.
Please note that if a legal representative or an employer is making the request, the foreign citizen must authorize the legal representative to apply for the allocation of a Social Security Identification Number (NISS) and act on his/her behalf within the European Union.
The legal representative will have to show his identification document (Passport, residence permit, or other civil identification document of the country of origin) and an authenticated copy of the civil identification document of the person for whom they are requesting the NISS.
The NISS document must be collected by the citizen himself/herself (the citizen to whom the NISS was allocated).
How much do social security contributions cost in Portugal?
Your social security contribution is paid according to your registered type of employment in Portugal.
Legal persons, including employees, business owners, and self-employed individuals are required to pay taxes to the government depending on their monthly income. Company owners only get their social security number in Portugal after registering their company on the tax authority’s website, known as the Finanças (tax and customs authority) portal. Self-employed individuals are required to pay 21 percent of their quarterly revenue to the Portuguese social security system.
If you are employed, you usually pay 11 percent of your income to the system. Your employers are responsible for paying the remaining 34.75 percent. Employers are required to apply for their employees’ social security numbers and submit payments to the Portuguese government based on their primary income.
Every time an employer issues a work contract and onboards a new employee, the employer is responsible for applying for the new employee’s social security number. The employer must also begin making payments to the Portuguese government based on the employee’s income.
Social Security Number Portugal : Benefits Explained
The social security system is designed to provide financial support for the benefit of individuals and families who find themselves in need due to old age, disability, illness, unemployment, work-related accidents, or other situations. To be eligible for benefits, parties need to have paid contributions in the country for a certain period.
According to Portuguese law, social security benefits in Portugal are available to Portuguese nationals, legal residents of Portugal, and qualifying European Union nationals, as well as spouses and dependents. For those who do not meet the minimum income standards, a non-contributory program is also available. A thorough guide on your social security rights in Portugal is available through the European Commission if you would like more information.
Public healthcare in Portugal
Once you have a legal European Union residence permit and your security identification number (NISS) and start paying social security contributions, you will have access to the Portuguese public healthcare system, Serviço Nacional de Saúde, or SNS for short. Healthcare in Portugal is free of charge for children under 18 and people over 65. For other patients, basic medical expenses are covered or generously subsidized.
The quality of healthcare in Portugal is very good, ranking 25th in the 2023 Health Care Index by Numbeo.
Maternity and paternity leave in Portugal
Expecting parents in Portugal are entitled to both maternity and paternity leave. Mothers can take up to 120 days off work before and after the birth date of their child, with the option to extend it to 150 days if they choose to breastfeed.
During this period, they will receive 100 percent of their salary from social security. Fathers are entitled to 20 days of paternity leave, which can be taken within the first five months after the birth date of their child. During this period, they will also receive 100 percent of their salary from social security.
Unemployment benefits in Portugal
The Portuguese system offers unemployment benefits to those who have lost their jobs involuntarily. The number of benefits you will receive will depend on your previous income and your length of service.
You will need to have paid contributions for at least 12 months in the 24 months before losing your job to qualify for unemployment benefits. The duration of the benefits will also depend on your length of service.
Bureaucracy in Portugal
It’s not uncommon to hear people complain about Portugal’s bureaucracy. While navigating bureaucracy in Portugal can be frustrating and time-consuming, it is important to ensure you have all the necessary documentation and be prepared for differences in requirements between different locations and officials. The process may seem daunting at first, but with patience and organization, it can be managed.
Navigating bureaucracy in Portugal
The first thing you should do is ensure you have all of the necessary documentation. Also, you should be aware that what works in one place or with one official may not work in another place or with a different official. For instance, the documents you’ll need in Porto may be different from those you’ll need in Lisbon.
Make sure you bring your passport or other civil identification documents, such as a citizen card or declaration of residency. If you are patient and organized, and bring all the essential documents (including the ones you might think you won’t need), the job will get done.
Who we are and how we can help you
To request your NISS and get set up on the country’s social security system, you need a NIF (a Portuguese taxpayer identification number). You need a NIF to sign a work contract in Portugal and to get set up on the Portuguese tax system. It’s the most important document you’ll need during your time in Portugal.
We can help you with the creation of your NIF with speed and ease. Simply fill out an online form and submit a civil identification document to have a NIF straight to your inbox within two to three weeks. Once you have submitted your required documentation and signed your power of attorney, we liaise with the Portuguese tax and customs authority on your behalf and act as your legal representative. If you’re a non-EU/EEA national, it is mandatory for foreign citizens to have an attorney acting as a tax or legal representative to get a NIF.
Furthermore, if you’re working in Portugal, you’ll need a Portuguese bank account. We can also help you set up a Portuguese bank account with ease. Simply get in touch and we can get you set up with one of Portugal’s leading banks.
Once you have your NIF, bank account, and job – you’re in an excellent position to get a security identification number (NISS).
If you’re starting out in Portugal, the following blog posts are full of information on living and working in Portugal:
- Working in Portugal as an Expat
- Non-Habitual Tax Residency for Digital Nomads
- Digital Nomad Portugal
- The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Portugal
- Moving to Portugal from the US
- Property Tax in Portugal
- Tax Management Services in Portugal
- Living in Portugal as an American
Frequently Asked Questions about the Social Security Number in Portugal
Does Portugal have a Social Security Number?
Yes, Portugal has a Social Security Number, officially known as the Social Security Identification Number Portugal or NISS (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social). It’s essential for anyone working in Portugal, including those in self-employment.
What is the format of a Portuguese Social Security Number?
The Social Security Number Portugal format is a unique number assigned to individuals for tracking their paid social security contributions and ensuring they are part of the social security systems in Portugal.
How do you get a Social Security Number in Portugal?
To get a Social Security Number in Portugal, visit a local Social Security Institute (Instituto da Segurança Social) office with the necessary documents, such as a citizen card or passport. You can also apply for Social Security Number Portugal online if you have legal representation.
How can I check my Social Security status in Portugal?
You can check your social security status in Portugal by using the Social Security Number Portugal login portal or calling the Segurança Social contact numbers for inquiries about unemployment benefits, family benefits, or your contribution status. You can make an appointment by calling 210 548 888 or 300 088 888.
How can I get a Portuguese NISS number?
If you are working in Portugal, your employer will usually handle the process to provide you with a Social Security Identification Number. For self-employed individuals, you must apply personally at a Social Security office.
Can I apply for a NISS online through the Social Security portal?
Yes, you can apply for a NISS online through the Social Security portal, especially beneficial for foreign nationals and those from the European Union. The online system is part of the Portugal Social Security Number services.
Steps for applying online are as follows:
- Access the Social Security portal.
- Select the tab relevant to you, whether you applying as a citizen or as an employer.
- Select the Atribuição de Número de Identificação de Segurança Social (NISS) option.
- Click on the online form to request a Social Security Identification Number.
- Once your have submitted your complete form and information you will receive an email confirming the creation of the NISS and that you are registered. The email will also communicate instructions to collect the NISS in person at the Social Security Services. You can collect your NISS on any date but in person collection is mandatory.
Who is eligible to apply for a Social Security Identification Number (NISS) in Portugal?
Eligibility to apply for a NISS in Portugal includes foreign citizens with residence authorization, Portuguese citizens, legal persons, and employers. The NISS is also automatically assigned to individuals with a citizen card or a Portuguese taxpayer number.
Can foreign nationals get a NISS in Portugal?
Yes, foreign nationals working in Portugal, including those from the Federative Republic of Brazil, can obtain a NISS. For those in self-employment, an appointment with Segurança Social is necessary, where they will provide an identification document and possibly an expiry date for their work permit.
How can I access Social Security Number in Portugal for related services?
If you need to get a Social Security Number in Portugal, you should first understand that there is no legitimate Portugal Social Security Number generator as each number is unique and officially issued. To obtain a NISS (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social), visit the Instituto da Segurança Social website or a local office. Here, you can also inquire about benefits like the survivor’s pension. Additionally, for those from the Federative Republic of Brazil, specific agreements may apply. After receiving your NISS, you can use the Social Security Number Portugal login portal for various services and information.
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