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Guide To Getting a Social Security Number in Portugal (NISS)

Updated: September 19, 2023 | Natalia


If you are planning to move to Portugal, there are some important administrative tasks you will need to take care of. One of the most important is obtaining a Número de Identificação da Segurança Social (NISS), also known as a Social Security Identification Number. This handy number allows you to access the Portuguese social security system. You 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 (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social) 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 Social Security Identification 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

General requirements

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 supporting documentation specified below.

  1. 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).
  2. 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 social security number 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.

Required documents

You will have to provide all the required documents for your security identification number (NISS), along with a social security application form:

  • A valid passport or civil identification 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 supporting documentation 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) on his/her behalf.

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).


Portugal NISS

How much do social security contributions cost in Portugal?

Your social security contribution is paid according to your type of employment in Portugal.

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 make 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 Benefits in Portugal

The social security system is designed to provide financial support for 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, you need to have paid contributions into the system for a certain period.

Social security benefits in Portugal are available to Portuguese nationals, legal residents of Portugal, and qualifying EU 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 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 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 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 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. 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.

portugal social security identification number niss

Who we are and how we can help you

To get your Social Security Identification Number 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 get a 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. 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 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).

Related articles

If you’re starting out in Portugal, the following blog posts are full of information on living and working in Portugal:

Frequently Asked Questions about the Social Security Number in Portugal

How do you get a social security number in Portugal?

You can get a security identification number (NISS) number in Portugal by visiting a Segurança Social department and providing them with a social security application form and the required documents.

You can make an appointment by calling 210 548 888 or 300 088 888.

Does Portugal have a social security number?

Yes, the Portugal social security number is called a NISS, or Número de Identificação de Segurança Social. Only those working in Portugal are eligible to receive a Social Security Identification Number. Additionally, you will need to have this identification number assigned if you are a freelancer in Portugal working for yourself.

How can I check my social security status in Portugal?

If you want to check your social security status in Portugal, you can reach the social security line by calling +351 210 545 400 or +351 300 502 502 from 9 am to 6 pm on business days.

This phoneline to the Portuguese social security authority provides general information on benefits, pensions, allowances, contributions, etc.

How can I get a Portuguese NISS number?

If you are working in Portugal, your hiring company will probably provide your social security identification number. All you have to do is provide them with an identification document and your application form.

If you’re self-employed, you can book an appointment to get your NISS through the phone line mentioned above.

What is a Portuguese social security number?

A Portuguese social security number is a NISS (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social). You can obtain this number if you are employed in Portugal. You will also need it if you are a freelancer.

Can foreign nationals get a NISS in Portugal?

Foreign citizens and nationals who are working in Portugal can get a NISS in Portugal. Their employer can apply for one on their behalf. If the foreign national is self-employed, they can book an appointment with Segurança Social to obtain their national insurance number.


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