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How to Get a Portuguese NIF Number: Step-by-Step Guide

Welcome to the most comprehensive guide on obtaining your Portuguese NIF number. Whether you’re an EU/EEA resident or from outside the EU/EEA, this guide provides step-by-step instructions, insider tips, and practical advice for getting that all-important NIF number.


What is a NIF Number? The Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) is a unique nine-digit number essential for a range of transactions in Portugal such as buying or renting property.

What does NIF stand for? NIF stands for Número de Identificação Fiscal, which translates to Tax Identification Number. It is also known as the Número de Contribuinte.

Is a NIF number always nine digits long? Yes, a NIF number is always nine digits long.

Does my NIF number expire? Your NIF number does not expire and does not need to be renewed either.

Will having a NIF help me get residency? Although having a NIF number is increasingly becoming a requirement for many residency visas, having one won’t necessarily improve your chances if you don’t meet the main visa requirements (e.g., having a sufficient passive income in the case of the D7).

Why You Need a NIF

You will need a NIF number for:

  • Opening a bank account.
  • Getting a phone contract.
  • Buying or renting property.
  • Applying for a residency visa (such as the D7, golden visa, or digital nomad visa).
  • Signing up for utilities.
  • Applying for a job.
  • Applying for other numbers, like the Portuguese healthcare number (número de utente).

Getting Your NIF: A Step-by-Step Guide

This section breaks down the process for getting a NIF depending on where you’re resident (i.e. living). Note: the word resident as opposed to a citizen.

For Non-EU/EEA Residents

Most non-EU/EEA residents use the online route rather than the in-person route. This is because non-EU/EEA residents need a fiscal representative.

Online via Service Providers

  1. Choose a Service Provider
    • There are multiple companies that offer this service. Prices range from €68-€300, depending on the company and package chosen.
  2. Submit Your Documents
    • Upload a scanned copy of your passport and proof of address.
  3. Receive Your NIF
    • The process usually takes around 2-7 days, depending on the service you’ve chosen. Your NIF will be emailed to you.

In Person at a Finanças Office

  1. Locate Your Nearest Finanças or Loja de Cidadão Office
    • Use Google Maps to find the nearest Finanças or Loja de Cidadão Office office. Offices in smaller towns typically have shorter lines.
  2. Schedule an Appointment (Optional)
    • Call +351 217 206 707 to book an appointment, or arrive early as a walk-in.
  3. Appoint a Fiscal Representative
    • You need a fiscal representative who is a resident of Portugal. This can be a friend, family member, or a lawyer.
  4. Gather Required Documents
    • Passport
    • Proof of address
    • Fiscal representative’s ID and proof of address
  5. Visit the Office
    • Arrive early to avoid long waits. Bring all required documents and your fiscal representative.
  6. Submit Your Application
    • Present your documents at the counter. You’ll receive your NIF on the spot. There will be a small fee of €10.20, however, if you’ve used a lawyer as a fiscal representative, there will likely be additional costs.

Do non-EU residents need to use a lawyer as their fiscal representative? All non-EU residents need a fiscal representative to apply for a NIF on their behalf. Your fiscal representative does not necessarily need to be a lawyer, but they do need to be a Portuguese tax resident.

For EU/EEA Residents

Given that EU/EEA residents don’t need a NIF before moving to Portugal, most use the in-person route as it’s free. However, you can use a company if you want to avoid the hassle of queuing or aren’t physically in Portugal.

In Person at a Finanças Office

  1. Locate Your Nearest Finanças or Loja de Cidadão Office
    • Use Google Maps to find the nearest Finanças or Loja de Cidadão office. In major cities like Lisbon or Porto, the queues will be long and you could consider visiting an office in a smaller town or arriving early.
  2. Schedule an Appointment (Optional)
    • Appointments aren’t always necessary but can save time. Call +351 217 206 707 to book, or arrive early to secure a spot as a walk-in.
  3. Gather Required Documents
    • Passport or EU ID card.
    • Proof of address (bank statement, utility bill, or driver’s license).
  4. Visit the Office
    • Arrive early, preferably 30-45 minutes before opening in places like Lisbon, to avoid long waits. Reports suggest quieter times at Finanças offices, such as after lunch. Bring your documents and get a ticket from the kiosk (look for “NIF” or “Número de Contribuinte”).
  5. Submit Your Documents
    • Present your documents at the counter. You’ll receive your NIF on the spot. There should be no charge for this.

Online via Service Providers

  1. Choose a Service Provider
    • There are now a large number of companies that can help you obtain a NIF, not to mention immigration lawyers and relocation companies.
  2. Submit Your Documents
    • Upload a scanned copy of your passport and proof of address.
  3. Receive Your NIF
    • The process varies depending on the company and speed of service, but most take less than 7 days. Some offer speedy services that take less than 1 day. Your NIF will be emailed to you.

FAQs

Do I need a Portuguese address to get a NIF? No, you do not need a Portuguese address to request a NIF. However, once you move to Portugal, you should update your address via the tax office’s website, Portal das Finanças.

Are there tax implications for obtaining a NIF? Obtaining a NIF does not automatically subject you to Portuguese taxes. However, if you register a Portuguese address, you may be considered a tax resident.

Can I get a NIF if I don’t speak Portuguese? Most (but not all) Finanças staff speak basic English. If you are concerned about communicating, ,ost online service providers offer support in multiple languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, and Russian (depending on the company).

How much does it cost to get a NIF? For EU/EEA residents, getting a NIF in person is free. Those that use an online company (which will be most non-EU/EEA residents) should expect to pay anywhere from €68-€300, depending on the company they use. Non-EU/EEA residents can get a NIF in-person for €10.20, however, this requires you to be in Portugal and have a fiscal representative.

Can I get my NIF via email? During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people successfully received their NIF numbers by sending an email to Finanças offices. However, this option may no longer be available.

How do I change the address of my NIF once I become a resident in Portugal? Once you become a resident in Portugal, you can easily request for your change of address on the tax office’s website, Portal das Finanças.

When should I change the address on my NIF? Should I do it as soon as I arrive? You should change the address on your NIF to your Portuguese address as soon as you have proof of address in Portugal.

Do I need to change my NIF to a Portuguese address before I can rent an apartment? You should be able to use your NIF with a foreign address to rent an apartment.

Will using a NIF help reduce my Portuguese tax obligations? When you request an invoice/receipt with your NIF for purchases, you can deduct expenses on your personal income tax (known as IRS in Portugal).

What prizes are currently available for using the NIF? For the Fatura da Sorte (Lucky Invoice) draw, they award Treasury Certificates of 35,000 euros in weekly contests.

Will I have to fill out annual paperwork or a tax return once I have a NIF, even if it’s just a non-resident one? Generally, non-residents only need to file a tax return for income received in Portugal. We recommend speaking to an accountant to get advice on your personal situation.

I’ve accidentally used someone else’s NIF number but want to correct this so I get the benefits. What can I do? The vendor should be able to cancel the old receipt and issue a new one. If the vendor is not willing to do it, the most that you can do is file a formal complaint in the livro de reclamações (complaints book).

Can a married couple share the same NIF, like sharing one bank account? Each individual needs their own NIF number. As a married couple, you can share a joint bank account, but you will still need your own NIF numbers to open it.

I’m a freelancer with a client in Portugal. Do I need to include a non-resident NIF when invoicing my client in Portugal? As a non-Portuguese freelancer, you do not need a NIF in order to invoice a client in Portugal.

I was born in Portugal but no longer live there. Would I have been given a NIF at birth or at what age do Portuguese citizens obtain their NIF? NIFs are not mandatorily assigned at birth. Parents typically get a NIF for their children when they start school since this is necessary for enrolment.

Fiscal Representation

Do non-EU residents need to use a lawyer as their fiscal representative? Non-EU residents need a fiscal representative to apply for a NIF on their behalf. This does not necessarily need to be a lawyer, but they must be a Portuguese tax resident.

I’m leaving Portugal forever and moving to a non-EU country. Can I cancel my NIF? The Portuguese tax office does not allow for the cancellation of your NIF even if you no longer live in Portugal. However, you no longer need ongoing fiscal representation unless you have ‘ties’ to Portugal e.g. you own a property or car here.

I’ve left Portugal and moved to another EU country, but I wasn’t able to update my new address because I didn’t know it. Can I change that now? You should update your address to avoid being considered a tax resident in Portugal. If you don’t, you might be liable for personal income tax in Portugal. You can update your address at Portal das Finanças.

Someone has asked me to be their fiscal representative. What are the legal and financial ramifications of this? As a fiscal representative, you are obligated to receive any letters from the Portuguese Tax Authority and forward them to the NIF holder. Failure to forward these communications or prove that you have done so could result in fines.

Using Your NIF

Receipt with NIF Number
A receipt with a NIF

Is it a legal requirement to use a NIF when making a purchase? You are required to provide your NIF when making large purchases like a car or a house because these come with annual tax obligations. In the supermarket, giving your NIF is optional because this simply allows you to have tax deductions on your personal income.

Why am I asked for my NIF in the supermarket sometimes but not other times? It pretty much depends on the person checking you out at the supermarket. If you’d like to use your NIF, simply ask the cashier for your NIF to be included on the receipt.

Can I use a NIF with a foreign address for residential things like getting internet, paying for utilities, etc.? Yes, there is no address requirement when using your NIF for such services.

Is it still a legal requirement that I carry my NIF on me? No, you do not need to carry your NIF document with you at all times. For day-to-day things, like at the supermarket, you can simply provide your NIF verbally. For official transactions, you may need to bring the official document, which serves as your proof of NIF. As a Portuguese resident, it would be really helpful to memorise your NIF (in Portuguese) since it’s used so often.

How can I get my NIF printed on a card? The Portuguese Tax Authority no longer issues NIF cards, but you can get a file that you can print out yourself on the e-fatura website. The 2-page PDF issued by Finanças would be the best document to use as proof of your NIF.

I’ve forgotten my NIF number. What should I do? If you are in Portugal, you can go to a Finanças office to request a copy of your NIF. If you are abroad, please get in touch with the Portuguese embassy or consulate nearest you.

A website is asking me for a NIF, but I don’t have one. What should I do? If you’re not a Portuguese resident, it can be confusing when Portuguese websites (such as supermarkets) ask for your NIF. Some people put their passport number or a personal tax identification number from their own country. If that doesn’t work, try putting nine zeros e.g. 000000000.

Will my children need a NIF? At what age does someone need a NIF? There isn’t a hard requirement on age, but your child will need a NIF in order to enroll in school.

Conclusion

Getting your Portuguese NIF number doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With this ultimate guide, you’ve learned the importance of a NIF, how to obtain it, and how to use it effectively. With your NIF in hand, you’ll now be well on your way to enjoying everything Portugal has to offer.