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Do Residents in Switzerland Need a Fiscal Representative to get a NIF?

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Last updated on May 16, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

It can often be difficult for people in Switzerland to understand where they stand when dealing with Portuguese guidelines. Most of the guidelines are written with EU citizens or residents in mind, and occasionally they specifically mention the EEA as well. Countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, for example, are part of the EEA but not part of the EU.

Like the EEA, Portuguese government guidelines sometimes specifically mention Switzerland as well. However, this doesn’t happen all the time and it can be quite confusing to know where Switzerland stands. In the case of applying for a NIF, it can be difficult to know whether a person from Switzerland needs fiscal representation or whether they would be treated the same as someone from the EU or EEA.

According to Kathleen Lo from Bordr, a company that helps people obtain a NIF, ‘if you are an EU/EEA resident applying for a NIF directly with the Finanças, you do not need a fiscal representative. Residents of Switzerland do need a fiscal representative since Switzerland is not part of the EU or EEA.’

Unfortunately, it seems that Switzerland doesn’t get any special treatment here. If you are resident in Switzerland (living there) then you will need a fiscal representative in the same way as someone from the US or Brazil might.

For most people who need a fiscal representative, the easiest way to get a Portuguese tax identification is to use an online service that connects you with a lawyer or law firm in Portugal. The cost usually includes one year of fiscal representation.

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