How to Get a Portuguese NIF Number (Online or In-Person)

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Written by: | Last updated on April 1, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 12 minutes
This article is available in: de_DEen_USes_ESfr_FRpt_PT

Portugal’s ‘NIF’ number is a personal, unique nine-digit number that is used in Portugal for everything from buying a house to paying for your groceries. If you’re planning on living in Portugal, it’s a number you’ll use a lot!

If you’re a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you’ll come across firms that’ll try to charge you as much as €1,000 for this service while others take longer than a month to deliver. We’ll show you how to get one for less than €100 and delivery in less than a week.

This is very clear – I wish I had known this when we were first exploring the D7 visa application – we were fleeced by a legal firm for our NIF & introducing us to the bank to open the account…6 months on, we have finally unravelled the mess.

Ingrid

What is a NIF?

Portugal’s NIF is a personal taxpayer identification number. Each number is assigned to a single individual and, once obtained, doesn’t expire.

NIF stands for número de Identificação fiscal, but we’ll just call it a NIF for now (because that’s easier to pronounce).

You need this NIF when:

  • Moving to Portugal as a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and applying for a visa like the D7, D8, or Golden Visa.
  • Opening a Portuguese bank account.
  • Applying for a job in Portugal.
  • Buying a property in Portugal.
  • Renting a property in Portugal.
  • Getting a home internet or phone contract.
  • Receiving inheritance from a Portuguese estate.
  • Applying for other numbers, like the Portuguese healthcare number (número de utente).
  • Shopping at the supermarket or going to the hairdressers (note: you don’t have to give it out in these instances, but by doing so you may reduce your Portuguese tax bill).

How do I get a NIF?

How you get this NIF number depends on where you’re resident (that means where you live). Note the word resident (not citizen).

How to get a NIF as a Non-EU/EEA Resident

If you are resident outside the EU/EEA (e.g. you live in the US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Australia, etc.)

There are several ways you can get a NIF number:

  1. Through an online company or law firm (see comparison table below).
  2. In-person at a Finanças or Loja do Cidadão office in Portugal.

Note: as a non-EU/EEA resident, you will need a fiscal representative, or person who will act as your point of contact between you and Finanças. This can be a friend or family member resident in Portugal but if you don’t know anyone, you will need to use a company or law firm. Because of this, the online route is the easiest option for most people living outside the EU/EEA.

Comparison Of Online Companies

Tip: If you’re applying for a visa like the D7 or D8 or buying a property in Portugal, you should consider companies that offer a NIF & Portuguese bank account bundle as you’ll need both.

CompanyNIF Average DeliveryNIF Cost
Anchorless.io10 Days€74.25 (with code PORTUGALIST25)€389.25 with code PORTUGALIST25 (see here)
Bordr7 Days$140
E-Residence.com10 Days€74 (with code Portugalist)€336 with code PORTUGALIST (see here)
Get Sortd10 Days€68 (with code PORTUGALIST)
Lisbob10 Days€89
NIFPortugal.pt5 Days€79 (with code PORTUGALIST)*
Novomove3 Days€69 (with code PORTUGALIST)€349 with code Portugalist (see here)
Visas.pt2 Days€95€395 (see here)

Required Documents:

  1. Passport (or National ID card if you’re an EU citizen).
  2. Proof of address such as a driver’s licence, bank statement, or utility bill.
  3. If your documents are in a language other than Portuguese or English, you may be asked to provide a certified translation.

Getting a NIF in-Person

As a non-EU/EEA person, it’s also possible to get a NIF in-person at a Finanças (tax office) or Loja do Cidadão (citizen shop). However, note the need for a fiscal representative.

  • The easiest way to find a near Finanças (tax office) or Loja do Cidadão (citizen shop) is on Google Maps.
  • In major cities like Lisbon or Porto, arrive early to avoid the long lines. Many people recommend going to smaller towns to apply where there are less likely to be queues.
  • For non-EU/EEA residents, obtaining a NIF involves a minor fee of €10.20, aside from any charges associated with hiring a fiscal representative, such as a lawyer.
  • Be aware that some Finanças offices may require you to schedule an appointment ahead of time, so it’s wise to verify this requirement beforehand. To book an appointment, call +351 217 206 707.
  • If appointments aren’t necessary, simply go to the office and obtain a ticket at the entrance.
  • Do not assume that the staff at these offices will speak English. It may be necessary to bring along a translator to assist with the process.

FAQs

  • Do I need a Portuguese address? You do not need a Portuguese address to request the NIF, but you will need to change your address to your Portuguese address when you move to Portugal. You make this change via the tax office’s website, Portal das Finanças.
  • Are there tax implications? Not for obtaining a NIF. However, if you use a Portuguese address the Portuguese tax authorities will assume you’re now a Portuguese tax resident.
  • How will I get my NIF? If you use an online company, your NIF number will be delivered by email.

How to get a NIF as an EU/EEA Resident

(E.g. you live in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, or Sweden.)

If you are an EU/EEA resident, there are two ways you can request a NIF:

  1. In-person at a Finanças or Loja do Cidadão office in Portugal. As you don’t need a fiscal representative, you can easily walk in and get one for free.
  2. Through an online company or law firm (see comparison table above).

For EU/EEA residents, the easiest and most affordable option is to request a NIF in-person at a Finanças or Loja do Cidadão office in Portugal.

Getting a NIF in-Person

The outside of a Finanças office in Lagoa in the Algarve.
A Finanças office in the Algarve © Portugalist
  • Find a Finanças or Loja do Cidadão office near you. You can find your nearest Loja do Cidadão offices here, but Google Maps is often easier for finding Finanças or Loja do Cidadão offices.
  • If you are in a large city such as Lisbon or Porto, you should pick a day when you are able to get there early due to the long queues. If you can do this in a smaller town, it’s highly recommended as the lines can be very long.
  • Some Finanças offices (tax office) require you to make an appointment. Be sure to check this in advance.
  • Otherwise, turn up and take a ticket at the door. The button you need to press will probably say NIF, número de contribuinte, or número de identificação fiscal. Sometimes, there’s a person on the door handing out tickets. Explain that you need a NIF or número de identificação fiscal.
  • If you’re an EU/EEA resident, there is no charge for getting a NIF number.
  • It varies from location to location, but don’t assume the people working there will speak English. You may need to bring someone to translate for you.

Required Documents

  • Passport (or National ID card if you’re an EU citizen).
  • Proof of address such as a driver’s licence, bank statement, or utility bill.
  • If your documents are in a language other than Portuguese or English, you may be asked to provide a certified translation.

In theory, it should be as easy as walking into a Finanças or Loja do Cidadão office and requesting one. In practice, it isn’t always and it may take a lot of your time, particularly in large cities, as some Portugalist readers share.

I tried visiting a Finanças office but was told that in order to get a NIF I would need to make an appointment. In order to do that, someone with a NIF would need to make an appointment for me.

Not knowing anyone, I tried another Finanças office (the head office in Porto) and was directed to the Loja de Cidadão. While they were very helpful, they only offer a limited number of tickets per day and even though I waited for hours, I eventually gave up. I came back the next morning at 5:55 AM … and that was just in time to get a prime spot near the door. The queue was about 100m+ at 9:30 when they opened (on a Saturday). From then on it was easy, but I wished I had just ordered one online beforehand.

Roman

As mentioned, the quality of service varies from place to place and some people have a much easier experience.

I walked in, no prior appointment and got the NIF within 5 mins. Although making an appointment is required, but I was lucky that they attended to me. Nonetheless, this is my personal experience.

Prince

FAQs

  • Do I need a Portuguese address? You do not need a Portuguese address to request the NIF, but you will need to change your address to your Portuguese address when you move to Portugal. You make this change via the tax office’s website, Portal das Finanças.
  • Are there tax implications? Not for obtaining a NIF. However, if you use a Portuguese address the Portuguese tax authorities will assume you’re now a Portuguese tax resident.
  • How will I get my NIF? Your number will be printed out for you. The Portuguese Tax Authority no longer issues plastic cards.

What is Fiscal Representation?

If you have fiscal ties to Portugal (e.g. you own a house or car in Portugal) Finanças (the Portuguese tax office) needs a way of contacting you (e.g. to let you know how much tax you owe).

  • Those living in Portugal or the EU/EEA (e.g. Germany, Spain) do not need a fiscal representative: Finanças are happy to send correspondence to any address in Portugal or the EU/EEA.
  • Those living outside the EU/EEA (e.g. the UK, USA, Peru) need a fiscal representative as Finanças won’t send mail outside the EU/EEA. The fiscal representative should receive mail or other communications from Finanças and pass them onto you.

Most companies and lawyers charge an annual fee for fiscal representation with the first year of fiscal representation is usually included. You can cancel this from automatically re-billing you, if you don’t need fiscal representation (see below).

Alternatively, Novomove and Get Sortd connect you with Finanças (Portuguese tax office) directly, so they don’t need to be your fiscal representative.

Do I need a fiscal Representative?

While the rules were different in the past, in many cases, you won’t need to pay for ongoing fiscal representation [source]. You can simply sign up for electronic notifications from Finanças (the tax office).

For example:

  • If you are planning to move to Portugal, you won’t need a fiscal representative once you get to Portugal as Finanças (the tax office) will communicate with you directly.
  • If you don’t move to Portugal, and don’t have financial ties to Portugal such as a house or car, you don’t need a fiscal representative.
  • If you are an EU/EEA resident, you don’t need a fiscal representative as you’re allowed to receive communication from Finanças (the tax office) at your EU/EEA address. Finanças are only willing to send mail to those in Portugal or in the EU/EEA.

All of the companies listed have a way of cancelling fiscal representation if you do not require this. Be sure to do so before the end of the year, otherwise they are likely to automically charge you for a second year.

Note: even though you may not need a fiscal representative, you do need to register for electronic notifications through the Finanças portal. It’s recommended that you check your inbox in the Finanças portal regularly as those messages may not come through to your regular email (including important messages about taxes to pay).

Tax Implications

  • If you obtain a Portuguese NIF you won’t automatically have tax obligations in Portugal or be required to file a Portuguese tax return.
  • Even if you haven’t made Portugal your country of residence, you may have tax obligations in Portugal if you have purchased a property or car in Portugal, for example [source].
  • It’s important to note that changing the address associated with your tax number from your non-Portuguese (e.g. your address in the US) to a Portuguese address (e.g. your new address in Portugal) can be construed as changing your tax residency to Portugal. For this reason, you should only register a Portuguese address within the Finanças Portugal when you want to be considered a Portuguese tax resident.

Using Your NIF

  • Using your NIF can reduce your tax bill in certain categories (e.g. for groceries, haircuts, buying metro tickets, or and at the mechanic’s) [source]. You will also receive one entry into a weekly draw for every €10 you spend [source]. However, rather than say the word NIF, the person will normally say “contribuinte?” which is short for numero de contribuinte and means the same thing.
  • You can print a copy of your NIF number from Portal das Finanças. This will have a barcode that the cashier can scan.
  • As you’ll use this number a lot, it’s a good idea to memorise it (in Portuguese).

Sources

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. This article includes contributions from Kathleen Lo, co-founder of Bordr.io.