4 Ways to Get a Portuguese NIF (Including Online)

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Discount: Bordr.io are able to arrange a NIF for $150 (or $140 if you use the code PORTUGALIST). The current turnaround time is one week.


If you’re planning on moving to Portugal, you’ll come across the word NIF a lot. NIF is short for Número de Identificação Fiscal and it’s sometimes called a Número de Contribuinte as well. It’s a nine-digital tax number that’s used when you make payments in Portugal. 

For example, at the supermarket checkout, the checkout assistant may say “fatura,” a receipt with your NIF, or “contribuinte?” What he or she is asking is whether you want to register these purchases against your personal financial number or NIF

A NIF isn’t something that you just use when paying for your groceries, though. In fact, you don’t have to give over your NIF when doing your shopping, but you will likely need a NIF if you decide to buy a house or car, to open a bank account, get broadband or a mobile phone contract, or to use many Portuguese online shops. 

You may wonder what the purpose of the NIF is. Basically, as dystopian as it is, it’s a way for the Portuguese government to track spending and, in particular, to prevent companies from dodging taxes: you ask for a receipt with your NIF and a company has to issue you an official receipt. But why would you ask for a receipt with your NIF? Well, when you use your NIF against certain purchases (such as food and haircuts) you get some taxes back. You are also entered into a draw to win prizes as well[1]https://www.portugal-accounting.com/post/benefits-of-including-your-portuguese-nif-on-receipts, which in the past has included family cars.

There are a few different numbers that you’ll need in Portugal, but the NIF is the main number and the first one that people get. The way in which you obtain one will depend on a few factors, but primarily whether you’re an EU or non-EU resident.

EU Residents: You don’t always need a representante fiscal (fiscal representative) to get a NIF and you can get a NIF simply by going to Finanças. Since the outbreak of Covid, it’s also been possible to get a NIF over email (persistence needed) or to ask someone else who’s a resident to get one for you only.

Non-EU Residents: If you’re not resident in an EU country, you’ll normally need a representante fiscal (fiscal representative) in order to obtain a NIF. This can be a person or company but since you most likely don’t know anyone in Portugal yet, it’ll probably end up being a company. Like EU citizens, you can obtain this NIF at a Finanças office with your fiscal representative or you can do everything online through power of attorney. (Due to Brexit, UK residents now fall into this category).

In this article, we look at the different ways you can get a NIF, which are:

  • Pay a company to get you a NIF
  • Ask someone living in Portugal to be your tax representative
  • Go to an appointment with Finanças
  • Email Finanças (EU citizens)

Once you have a NIF, you can then move onto the next stage of your Portuguese admin journey like opening a Portuguese bank account. 

4 Ways to get a Portuguese NIF

Get a NIF online

Cost: €50-1000

There are an increasing number of companies and individual lawyers that can get you a NIF by giving them power of attorney and letting them act as your fiscal representative. Prices range considerably with the average price being around €200, although some companies charge as much as €500 or even €1,000.

Paying €1,000 for a NIF doesn’t normally make sense. Unlike say filing your tax return or assisting with your visa application, there really isn’t any skill or expertise involved and paying more doesn’t mean a better quality of service. That said, if you need ongoing fiscal representation (typically if you need a NIF but aren’t moving to Portugal) then you should focus on a company with good customer service as you’ll need them to reliably forward on any correspondence from Finanças.

Bordr.io are able to procure a NIF for $150 (or $140 if you use the code PORTUGALIST). The current turnaround time is one week, customer service is excellent[2]https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/bordr.io, and Bordr can also help obtaining a Portuguese bank account as well.

Others have had success with NIFonline.pt. The service is cheaper at €59.90 + VAT, but many report it taking more than a month to receive their NIF and struggling to get answers to their messages in between.

Ask someone to be your tax representative (also online)

Cost: Free for EU citizens / €10.20 for Non-EU/EEA

Since Covid, it’s possible to get a NIF online through the Finanças Portal rather than having to go to the Finanças office. The downside of this is that you need a person who’s permanently resident in Portugal to be your tax representative.

Asking someone to be your tax representative does mean they take on a certain amount of liability, so it’s not something you can ask a stranger. They will be responsible for communicating with Finanças on your behalf should Finanças need to get in touch with you for anything. 

This application can be done via the Portal das Finanças website [3]https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/noticias/pedido-de-nif-online-para-cidadaos-estrangeiros-e-recem-nascidos.  

Visit Finanças/Loja do Cidadão

Cost: Free for EU citizens / €10.20 for non-EU citizens. There is an additional fee if you want the NIF printed on a card rather than just on a piece of paper. 

The most common way to get a NIF is simply to visit a Finanças office (or alternatively a Loja do Cidadão). Use Google Maps to find the one nearest to you. 

You will need to bring your passport (or ID card for EU citizens) and proof of address (bank statement or utility bill, for example). EU citizens do not need to bring a tax representative with them, but non-EU citizens will.

Ideally, do it first thing and get there at least 10 minutes before it opens. You will need to take a senha (ticket) and wait your turn. The button you need to press will probably say “NIF” or “Número de Contribuinte.” Wait until your number is called and then explain that you are here for a NIF.

While it’s likely that the person you speak to will speak English, the people who work in Finanças are not known for being helpful so try to make an effort in Portuguese. 

Non-EU/EEA citizens do need to bring a tax representative with them and, because of this, may want to look at one of the other options (e.g. paying a company to do it online or getting your friend to do it online through the Finanças portal). If you decide to go to the Finanças office, however, remember that your fiscal representative needs to bring their ID and proof of address with them. 

Note: Due to covid, it’s no longer possible to simply visit your nearest Finanças office or Loja do Cidadão. You’ll need to make an appointment.  

E-mail Finanças

Cost: Free 

If you’re an EU resident (i.e. the address you live at is in the EU), you might be able to get a NIF simply by emailing Finanças – and at no cost to yourself. Many people have had luck emailing the Portimão office ([email protected]), for example, but, if you don’t get a response from them, you’ll need to contact another office – and so on.

One of the downsides of this approach is that you’ll need to email each office one-by-one and also give them a few days to reply before moving on. It’s not practical if you need a NIF quickly.

You will need to email over a scan (or photo) of your passport or ID card along with proof of address (such as a bank statement or utility bill). You should also send a short cover email (in Portuguese) explaining that you want to apply for a NIF. If you don’t speak Portuguese, Deepl.com is useful as it translates into either European Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese.

NIFs & Tax Residency

When you get a NIF, you’ll need to register with your address. If you use a Portuguese address, it’s assumed you are now tax resident in Portugal. If you use a foreign address, it’s assumed you’re not.

If you’re not planning on becoming tax resident in Portugal (for example: you normally live in the UK but are buying a holiday home in Portugal) be sure to register your NIF to your non-Portuguese address. 

If you are already tax resident in Portugal, you should use your Portuguese address. 

“Unlinking” yourself from your tax representative

If you use a tax representative, either a friend or a lawyer, you will probably want to unlink yourself from that person at some point. Most lawyers charge an annual fee for representation and you will probably want to unburden your friend of any responsibility as well. 

However, if you are resident outside of Portugal or another EU country (or become resident), you will need a fiscal representative (see below).

To unlink yourself, which you can do once you have your temporary residence permit, simply take your residence card and NIF to your nearest Finanças office to make the change. 

Do I need a NIF Number to live in Portugal?

Technically, it’s something you’re supposed to have if you’re resident here (as opposed to being a tourist). As mentioned, you don’t need to use it in the supermarket, but you may need it for a lot of other things.

If you’re not planning on buying a house or car, opening a bank account, or anything else official, you can get by without it. Normally you need it when renting an apartment but, since so few landlords offer contracts, it isn’t completely necessary.

Do I need a fiscal representative?

If you have financial affairs in Portugal (you own property or run a business there, for example) but aren’t resident in either Portugal or another EU country, you need a fiscal representative. Due to Brexit, this now applies to UK residents [4]https://www.portuguesedream.com/fiscal-representative-for-non-residents/ who own property or have other financial affairs in Portugal.

A fiscal representative can be a lawyer or simply anyone who is resident in Portugal, such as a friend or family member. Becoming someone’s fiscal representative means taking on the responsibility of receiving communications and dealing with your taxes [5]https://www.portuguesedream.com/fiscal-representative-for-non-residents/. You can nominate that person through the Finanças portal, providing you know that person’s NIF [6]https://www.portuguesedream.com/fiscal-representative-for-non-residents/.

Nationality is irrelevant and it’s all about residency. Even if you’re Portuguese but live outside of the EU (for example the UK or US) then you still need a fiscal representative[7]https://www.portuguesedream.com/fiscal-representative-for-non-residents/.

If you’re obtaining your NIF from a lawyer, that lawyer or company will probably offer a fiscal representation service. Costs vary, but are typically several hundred Euros per year. In the example of Bordr.io, mentioned above, the cost is $140 for the first year when you use the code PORTUGALIST (which includes the NIF) and $150 for each year of fiscal representation after that.

If you make friends with someone in Portugal who’s willing to be your representative, you can also unlink yourself from your current fiscal representative (e.g. Bordr) and ask that person to be your representative instead.

Read more about fiscal representation

FAQs

What exactly is a NIF?

NIF stands for Número de Identificação Fiscal. It’s basically an identification number that you use when you pay for things in Portugal.

How long does it take to get a NIF?

A NIF can be generated in a few seconds and if you’re eligible to get a NIF by visiting a Finanças office, you will probably walk in and out with one in a few minutes. However, if you require a lawyer, it will depend on their processing time. Most lawyers take a few days to a week.

Do I really need a NIF number?

As a tourist or someone staying short-term, probably not, but it’s hard to get by without one long-term. If you want to (officially) rent a property, get a mortgage, or open a bank account, for example, you’ll normally need a NIF.

Where can I find my NIF?

If you don’t remember your NIF, you should visit your nearest Finanças office with your ID.

Does a NIF expire?

No, a NIF doesn’t expire. If you previously lived in Portugal and had a NIF, you will be able to use that.

How much does a NIF cost?

A NIF can be obtained for free, particularly if you hold an EU/EEA/Swiss passport and don’t require a fiscal representative to obtain your NIF. If you don’t hold one of these passports, and do require a fiscal representative, you will likely need to work with a law firm. The cost will depend on what they charge, but it’s typically around €200.

Will I have to file tax returns once I get a NIF?

No. However, if you register with a Portuguese postal address (or switch over to a Portuguese address later on) it’ll be assumed that you’re not only living in Portugal but a tax resident here as well. If you use a non-Portuguese address, it’ll be assumed that you don’t live in Portugal and aren’t a tax resident here. So, only use a Portuguese address when you’ve actually moved to Portugal.

Notes

Notes
1 https://www.portugal-accounting.com/post/benefits-of-including-your-portuguese-nif-on-receipts
2 https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/bordr.io
3 https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/noticias/pedido-de-nif-online-para-cidadaos-estrangeiros-e-recem-nascidos
4, 5, 6, 7 https://www.portuguesedream.com/fiscal-representative-for-non-residents/
Written by
Article originally published on 12 July, 2021

70 thoughts on “4 Ways to Get a Portuguese NIF (Including Online)”

  1. Hello sir,

    Thank you for such a detailed explanation. I am a non-EU student who just moved to Lisbon for the first year of my masters. Is there a separate, less elaborate process for a student to obtain the NIF number to be able to work part time?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Saurav,

      You would have to ask your university if they have an easier process. Presumably you’re resident in Portugal now, so it’s just a case of going to Finanças to get it (due to Covid, you normally need an appointment in advance).

      Reply
  2. Hi,

    I am a Portuguese citizen living in the UK. I don’t own or have anything in Portugal. My dilemma is that I do stock trading here in the UK and my provider is not letting me to trade anymore because I’m a Portuguese citizen and they need my NIF to prove my identity. British tax number is irrelevant for identity purpose. Is it worth having a nif only for this purpose or is Portuguese Government wants all it’s citizens to have NIF? or should I change my provider?

    Reply
    • Hi Antonio

      How frustrating! This sounds like a unique requirement from your provider. It may be worth looking at other providers to see if they make the same request. Of course, if your provider is cheaper than the others, it may work out more cost-effective to just get the NIF, especially if you know someone who’s resident in Portugal who can be your fiscal representative.

      Reply
  3. Hi James

    Thanks very much for this article and for your responses to the comments/questions beneath.

    It would be really helpful to know the answer asked by Dave at “David Pascoe August 17, 2021 at 8:38 am” i.e. can NIFs still obtained by applying online for non-EU citizens. My potential fiscal/tax representative has just had a baby so online much preferable than attending in person.

    If it is not possible any longer, will use Bordr.io as you have helpfully recommended.

    Thanks

    Reply
  4. My bank statement doesn’t show my full middle name (only the initial). Would this be acceptable for proof of address, or does it have to show my full name that is on my passport?

    Reply
    • Hi Nancy,

      It depends on the person reviewing it, which probably isn’t the most helpful answer but is often how these things go. I have seen this rejected before, though.

      Reply
  5. Good Morning Mr James,
    My husband and I visited Portugal 2 weeks ago for the first time. We are interested in investing in Portugal. The lawyers we spoke to were more interested in selling us properties, it felt pushy. We wanted to take the process step by step. We wanted to open an account first, I understand that we need to have NIF to open bank account. Can you please point us to the right people/lawyers that can help us obtain NIF for the purpose of opening bank account. My husband and I are residing in Uganda/Kenya. I am Kenyan citizen and he’s polish.
    Kindly get back to us.

    Reply
    • Hi Saida,

      Yes, take your time when buying a property in Portugal. Many people rent first so they can get a feel for life in Portugal and areas that they may want to live in.

      Bordr, who are mentioned in this article, are well-reviewed by Portugalist readers. There are plenty of other great options, but they have good customer service and usually only take a few working days. There’s a discount code that offers a small saving mentioned in the article too (PORTUGALIST).

      Reply
  6. Just sent my request off. Shouldn’t have problem/s now when repartriating come early next year getting apartment, bank account, etc. Quick and easy.

    Reply
  7. Hi,

    I’m an EU citizen residing in the EU. I’ve contacted a few offices and they’ve told me I need a fiscal representative. My understanding is that I can obtain a NIF without a fiscal representative, can you confirm this is the case?
    Thanks

    Reply
  8. Just wanted to thank you for this post.

    I used Bordr.io for my NIF and they were great, really fast and efficient.

    I had tried using a lawyer but they were too slow and nearly missed having an NIF for my visa meeting!

    Reply
  9. Does anybody know if this online route is still available?

    When logged in with my representatives details and following the link from the text above (https://www.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt/pt/novoPedidoForm.action) an error occurs (The feature you are trying to access may have re-addressed) has the application been moved on the portal das fincas site or has the online route now been stopped again due to Covid restrictions lifting? My partner (Portuguese) and I have tried trawling through the site tree and using the search as directed by the error link but have had no real success.

    Any help with an updated link, Portuguese or English, would be a great help.

    Thanks in advance.

    Dave

    Reply
  10. Hi there,

    I have a fiscal representative who is a permanent resident in Portugal. Do they apply for my NIF from their profile? There are so many sources confirming fiscal representative but none detailing the process.

    Thanks,
    Lizelle

    Reply
  11. Hi james

    Great article, I am a U.K. citizen living and working in Qatar.

    We want to move to Portugal next year but will be buying an investment property before we arrive.

    Am I to understand the only way we can get a NIF and open a Portuguese bank account is by using a lawyer service now?

    Reply
  12. How do you change your fiscal representative?
    I am still not living in Portugal and my NIF rep added an expiration date to my NIF. I would like to change the rep to a friend in PT. Is that easy to do?

    Reply
    • If you have access to Finanças portal, you can do it online. You can also go into a Finanças office, if you are planning to come to Portugal.

      You may also be able to do it via email as Finanças are handling a lot more over email at the moment (or were during the strictest covid restrictions).

      Reply
  13. Hello,

    I am a resident of the EU and emailed the Finanças de Loures 3 and received a response that it was done and I could pick it up in person. When I responded, I requested it be emailed to me and they responded that it must be signed for in person.

    I am unable to get to Portugal because I’m not yet fully vaccinated but I just wanted to update you that the rules may have changed on that option.

    Thanks

    Reply
  14. Hi, I ‘m a EU citizen, but i’m living in UK. I’ m planing to buy a property in Azores in a few months and i would like to prepare in advance. If i choose to eMail Financas can i send them a copy of my EU country National ID card, and as a proof of address a copy of my bank statement or utility bill from the UK(the place i’m living but it is different from the address in my National ID card)? Thank you for your time, George

    Reply
    • Hi George,

      Unfortunately, I don’t think so. I think emailing Finanças is only an option for EU residents. I think the fact that you’re resident outside of the EU (regardless of the EU passport) will mean you need a fiscal representative. See the article for details.

      Reply
  15. Hi James –
    I do have another question that I hope you might help me with.
    When I am a citizen and living in Portugal permanently or for 6 months or so, would I and my non-citizen wife be liable to pay taxes in Portugal if we do not work there?
    We both have 2 pensions and social security.

    Thanks

    Reply
  16. James –
    I submitted my paperwork for Portuguese citizenship, (my father was born in Portugal), in March 2020 through an attorney. In May 2021, I was notified that my parents marriage application was registered in Portugal, but there is no information concerning the status of my and my mother’s birth certificates being registered.
    In June 2021, I was notified that the Portuguese government created a web link for people waiting for citizenship to check the status of their citizenship applications. I was given a unique number to check my status. The government did this because of the number of applications, (130,000), was so high and people were constantly calling about their applications taking up valuable time. The message said the process could take 1 to 2 years to complete.
    There are 7 steps for the citizenship process and in spite of my application being submitted 16 months ago, my status was still on step 1. Granted, COVID slowed things down, but it’s frustrating. I know time moves a lot slower in Portugal.
    My wife, (who is not applying for citizenship), and I do plan on spending at least 3 to 6 months in Portugal.
    1. Once I am a citizen, would getting the NIF number be easier and would I still need to have a tax representative?
    2. Once I am a citizen and assuming I don’t need a tax representative, could I be the tax representative for my wife.
    3. If we had an arrangement with a landlord to rent the same apartment from him/her every time we are in Portugal, ( 3 to 6 months), and had an address, would we still need a tax representative?
    I hope this makes sense and thank you in advance.

    Reply
  17. Hello James,

    I will be looking to apply for a D7 visa so my understanding is that I need to get a NIF for this. My options are I will need a local resident or a company (nifonline.pt. or bordr.io). Please confirm if this is correct, once I have this NIF I should then be able to apply for D7 Visa.?

    Do you know how much it cost to apply for the D7 visa?

    Reply
    • Hi Ruhel,

      Those from outside of the EU normally ending up having to apply via a service like the two you mentioned. You’ll most likely need a NIF for it, but it really depends on the consulate you’re applying through. They tend to make their own rules, but more and more are asking for a NIF.

      Costs will depend on whether you’re using an immigration lawyer or doing it yourself.

      Reply
      • Hello James,

        I am a non EU citizen and would like to know if; instead of having to apply for a residency visa and then having to go to Portugal to apply for residency permit, Is it possible to apply for a residency permit straight away from my home country?

        And if so, do I need to have a fiscal representative(attorney) when I get the NIF number online?

        Thank you.
        Karl

        Reply
        • Hi Karl,

          Some visas/permits work differently than others, but the process for many (incl. the D7) is that you get a visa at the consulate and then come to Portugal to get the residency permit. The D2 (business/entrepreneur visa) seems to allow you to apply from Portugal, but the majority apply the same way as the D7 – visa then residence permit.

          More than likely, I think you’re going to need a fiscal representative if you’re coming from outside the EU.

          Reply
  18. Hi! I’m in an urgent situation since I start to work for portuguese company in August but I don’t move there until September so I need to get the NIF asap. Do you recomend to use Bordr then? I’m spannish so I don’t know if need a representative there or not…

    Reply
    • Hi Cristina,

      Often an employer can help in relocation issues like this, so I would speak to them and explain your situation.

      As someone resident in Spain, you could simply try emailing one of the Finanças offices (one of the options mentioned in the article) as you don’t need a representative. However, since it’s getting quite close to August, if you need a NIF quickly then Bordr are very helpful.

      Reply
  19. Good afternoon, I’m in an urgent situation since I come to work in Lisbon, however I cannot get the NIF because the finance office doesn’t accept to carry out the procedure without an appointment, and the appointments they give are for September. I need the NIF immediately. In the helpline they have, they informed me that I could write them an email, however they also have it blocked. What other way is there to get the NIF immediately?

    Reply
    • Hi Ximen,

      Aside from emailing every Finanças office you can find, either to get a NIF over email or an appointment at a Finanças office, the only other thing I can suggest is to use a service like Bordr (mentioned above).

      A lot of people have had success emailing ALL of the Finanças offices they can find as sometimes you can find one outside of Lisbon that’s less busy.

      Reply
      • Hey James, do you know how long it takes to get the NIF via email? Is it a one day thing? If they see my email. And are they sending the number then via email as well? Do I also need it on paper?

        Reply
        • It’s only one day if they 1) see it and 2) decide to reply to it.

          For most things you don’t need it on paper as you’ll just recite it when asked.

          Reply
      • Could you please check on financas portal which offices in Lisbon area have open dates for August?
        I need to schedule appointment soon, but the office I tried had it in September.

        Reply
  20. Hi, i’ve just recently became a Portuguese citizen.
    A local service provider in Portugal who handled the process for me, registered me to his address, although i’m not living in Europe. He also registered me for NIF and created an account in the Portugal Tax website.
    I’m now in process of changing the address to my home country’s address.
    I don’t have any business or bank activity in Portugal.
    He is now telling me that I have to appoint a tax representative.
    Is it true? Do I have to do it even if i’m not living there and only spent a week there?

    Reply
    • You #need a tax representative if you have financial activity or assets in Portugal (e.g. own a property in Portugal) but don’t live in the EU.

      If you don’t have this then I don’t think you need a tax representative.

      Reply
  21. Hey James, thanks for the great article.
    When I click the “apply online” link to go to the financas website, I must sign in with either:
    – My NIF (lol) or
    – “Authenticate with Citizen Card or Digital Mobile Key”
    Does this mean it’s no longer possible to apply for the NIF online or were these always the options and I’m just not understanding them?

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
      • My representative logged in to portal das financas.
        On which section does he apply for my NIF? there doesn’t seem to be an obvious choice.

        Reply
  22. I have used nifonline.pt but are very very slow. Some reviews say it takes months to get a NIF with them or at least several weeks. Not sure its a good idea to have a company be your tax representative if they dont respond to emails.

    Reply
    • Hi Bireshwar,

      You’ll need to get a lawyer to do it for you by giving them “power of attorney.” This is quite a common service offered by immigration lawyers. I will put you in touch with one.

      Reply
  23. Hello,
    im non eu citizen.i have nif number ,i made in 2018 with my old passport.i didnt live in portugal.now i have new passport and do i need update my new passport?i made with portuguaese reprasantative.

    Reply
  24. Hello, my question is what do i have to do to get a copy of my exsisting NIF number, im spanish and did the paper work at least 15 years ago , but never got to use it.

    Reply
  25. Thanks for the intresting input.

    However, one question I do have:

    “To unlink yourself (from the NIF tax representative), which you can do once you have a residence permit,”

    Is this the case with the temporary permit or the one one get after 5 years (permanent)?

    Reply

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