Do My Children Need a NIF?

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Originally published in Feb 2022 & last updated on November 30, 2023
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Adults who are resident in Portugal need a Número de Identificação Fiscal (or NIF for short). This number is used for most transactions in Portugal. It’s optionally used in shops, for example, such as when you’re buying your groceries, and it’s needed for purchases like buying a house or car. You’ll also need one if you’re signing a contract to rent a house or apartment.

But those are all things that adults do. Minors are not going to be renting a house or buying a car, so will they need a NIF number as well?

According to Kathleen Lo from Bordr, a website that helps people obtain a NIF number and bank account, ‘there isn’t a hard requirement on age, but your child will need a NIF in order to enroll in school.’

Get a NIF with for just $140.

So, even though a child is unlikely to use a NIF on a day-to-day basis like an adult would, they will still need a NIF number at certain points, such as when they enrol in school.

Similarly, your child may also require a NISS to register (along with other documents like a vaccination certificate).

As blogger Alicia writes,

“You must get a NISS number,” said the teacher, standing in the sunlight and showing me a piece of paper with a list scribbled on it. “We need a NISS, and a vaccination certificate for your son. Also a health card.” All that? Where do we start?

There are a few ways to obtain a NISS or social security number, some free or by using a paid online service like E-Residence.

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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.

You can contact James by emailing or via the site's contact form. This article includes contributions from Kathleen Lo, co-founder of

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There are 2 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.


  1. Hi, thanks for the very useful articles!

    I also found out that for the child to be able to enroll in the school you need a NISS number. Do you hear anything about this?


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