What does NIF stand for?

Last Updated: September 26, 2023 / No Comments

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If you’re planning to move to Portugal or you’ve spent any kind of time here, you’ve probably come across the phrase NIF from time to time, and may be wondering what exactly does NIF mean?

Literally, NIF stands for fiscal identification number or tax identification number. According to Kathleen Lo from Bordr.com, “NIF stands for Número de Identificação Fiscal, which translates to Tax Identification Number. It’s a personal identification number assigned for tax purposes and is used when making purchases and completing official transactions in Portugal.”

Because it’s a personal tax identification number, it’s assigned to an individual rather than a couple or family. Children do need a NIF, but this doesn’t normally get assigned to them until they enrol in school.

You may have come across the NIF when you were at a Portuguese supermarket and the cashier asked you for your NIF or Número de Contribuinte, another word used for the NIF. Or you may notice the NIF number as a requirement when buying or renting a house or starting a contract, such as a mobile phone or home internet contract.

Do you need a NIF number? If you’re just visiting Portugal, you don’t need one to do most things such as shop at the supermarket — even if you’re asked for one. If you’re planning on moving to Portugal or buying a house here, however, you will need to get a NIF number.

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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 james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form.

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