What’s the Fastest Way to Open a Portuguese Bank Account?

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Written by: | Last updated on July 24, 2023 | Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Do you need to open a Portuguese bank account quickly? That may be the case if you’re applying for a residency visa and have been told that you need to show a Portuguese bank account funded with at least 1 year’s living expenses (a common requirement). 

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it isn’t easy to open a Portuguese bank account quickly as a non-resident. And, app-based banks like Revolut and N26, while great for using while travelling, aren’t normally accepted on residency visa applications – it needs to be a Portuguese bank. Don’t worry, though: this article will show you the fastest way that you can open an account here.

The Fastest Way to do it Remotely

The fastest way to open an account from outside of Portugal would be to get a NIF number through E-Residence, choosing their 1 working day service. A NIF number is almost always required to open a bank account in Portugal, and this is the fastest way to get one remotely.

Then, choose to open a bank account using either E-Residence or Bordr.(Tip: you’ll get a discount with either Bordr or E-Residence when you use the code PORTUGALIST).

Unfortunately, none of the other services seem to be able to offer a faster service, so expect this to take somewhere between 3 and 4 weeks, including the time to obtain the NIF number. 

Need it Faster? Come to Portugal

By far, the fastest way to open a Portuguese bank account would be to come to Portugal and open one in-person. In theory, you could open an account the same day that you arrive, especially if you’d ordered your NIF number ahead of time. 

Well, in theory. 

Many people report that it’s become incredibly difficult to open an account in person, particularly if they have a non-EU (e.g. US) passport. This can often vary from bank to bank and branch to branch, so it’s worth going into multiple banks and speaking to lots of different people. You might get lucky with the first bank or you might need to visit several.

If you want to ensure that you get your account opened quickly, however, you could use E-Residence’s in-person account opening service. This way they can take you to their preferred branch and help you get an account set within 3-4 days. At least this way you won’t have to try in multiple banks.

If you’re already a resident in Portugal, opening a bank account is much simpler. Firstly, you should be able to go into any branch and open one easily, assuming you have the required documents. If you aren’t currently in the country, a number of banks now allow you to open an account online (e.g. Novo Banco).

For more information, be sure to read our articles about the NIF number, opening a bank account in Portugal, and the best banks for expats in Portugal.

Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form.

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