Can Foreigners Open a Portuguese Bank Account?

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Foreigners can open a Portuguese bank account, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that opening a bank account is always easy.

The issue isn’t whether you’re a foreigner or Portuguese, but whether you’re a resident in Portugal or somewhere else.

If you’re already resident in Portugal, opening an account is fairly simple. If you aren’t yet a resident, it’s often a little harder – or a lot harder, depending on which country you’re a resident of.

This is challenging as many residency visas require you to have a Portuguese bank account before you move to Portugal. Don’t worry, though: there are plenty of companies that can help.

Opening a Portuguese bank account as a non-resident

It can be tricky to open a Portuguese bank account if you don’t live in Portugal. This is especially true if you aren’t resident in an EU country. For example, if you live in the USA, South Africa, or Brazil, you’ll probably have a harder time opening a bank account than someone resident in Spain or Germany.

Opening an account online

The easiest way to open a bank account in Portugal as a non-resident is to use a lawyer, relocation company, or online service like those offered by companies like Anchorless, Bordr, or E-residence.

This typically costs around €300, excluding the cost of obtaining a NIF number, which is normally a requirement for opening an account. Expect to pay an additional €100-€150 in order to obtain a NIF through one of these services. 

The following companies can all open a Portuguese bank account online for you.

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Residents of certain countries may not be able to open an account as a non-resident, including through a lawyer. As an example, here’s a list of Bordr’s supported countries.

Opening an account in person

If you’re physically in Portugal you may also be able to open a bank account in-person, even as a non-resident.

Some banks will open accounts for non-residents, even those resident in a country outside the EU, while others won’t. It often varies from branch to branch, so you may have to spend half a day going from bank to bank and trying your luck. 

Alternatively, you could use E-Residence‘s in-person bank account opening service where they accompany you to the bank and help you get the account opened in-person.

Opening a Portuguese bank account as a resident

Opening a Portuguese bank account as a resident is much simpler and it can be often done online or in-person. Novobanco, for example, is one bank that allows you to open a bank account online. 

Alternatively, you can walk into a Portuguese bank and open an account in-person. You will normally need the following documents:

  • A NIF number (there’s a whole article on NIFs, if you’re not sure what this is.
  • A Portuguese mobile phone number (this isn’t always required, but it may be needed for login codes to access your account online). 
  • ID such as a passport, European ID card, or Residency card. 
  • Proof of address such as utility bills (gas or electric or a mobile phone contract). 
  • Proof of employment status – Payslips (that ideally state your profession) or a letter of employment for employees, pension slips for pensioners, and a tax return for the self-employed. 
  • Initial deposit – many banks require an initial deposit, which is usually around €250. 

Have more questions? Read more about opening a bank account in Portugal

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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.

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