How to get your NIF in Portugal?

How to get your NIF in Portugal?

The question of acquiring a NIF is one that probably concerns people planning to move to Madeira more than any other.

What is a NIF?

Your NIF is your Portuguese tax reference, known as a fiscal number. NIF stands for Número de Identificação Fiscal.

Your NIF is the equivalent of a National Insurance number in Portugal. Or, in the US – your Social Security Number. The main difference is that your Portuguese NIF has a much broader application than you may be used to.

You can’t avoid having a NIF. You’ll need one if you’re to become a resident. However, the process of acquiring it can be complex – but we’ll help you through the process.

Why do I need a NIF?

Your NIF will be an essential part of your armoury if you’re to...

  • open a bank account
  • buy a mobile phone
  • get access to the internet
  • sign up for utilities
  • buy or rent a property
  • invest in property or venture capital as part of your Golden Visa application
  • set up a business
  • Even when you’re shopping, you might be asked at the till for your Número de Contribuinte – another phrase for NIF - in case you’re planning to claim for your purchase on expenses

That’s why, before you do anything else in your quest for residency in Portugal, you need to apply for a NIF.

In order to have a NIF, you don’t have to be living in Portugal. Neither will it mean you’re automatically liable for Portuguese taxes.

How do I acquire a NIF in Portugal?

There are several different ways to get a NIF. This depends on your residency status, whether you hold an EU passport and where you apply for the NIF.

How to get a NIF if you’re an EU/EEA citizen

Two approaches – walk-in and online applications.

Walk-in NIF applications
Find your nearest Finanças that accepts walk-in applications and take with you your passport and proof of your residence (such as a bank statement) outside Portugal. There will probably be a small fee of around €7.

(Note - In Madeira, walk-in applications are famously straightforward)

Online NIF applications
Send a scanned copy of your passport and proof of address. Use Google translate to add a few words explaining who you are and why you’re applying for a NIF.

How to get a NIF as a non-EU/EEA citizen, such as British or American citizen

You’ll need to appoint a fiscal representative – ideally a lawyer – who’s a Portuguese citizen or resident. They will be responsible for handling communications between you and the Portuguese tax authorities. When it comes to a walk-in application, you’ll need your fiscal representative to accompany you.

An alternative way for you as a non-EU citizen to get a NIF is to arrange for a lawyer to carry out the entire process on your behalf. This will, of course, be more costly but could prove to be a much smoother process and will often be included as part of the complete Visa processing service.

You’ll now have gathered that applying for a NIF can be as complex as it is necessary. But don’t worry! Here at émigré.eu, we have all the expertise you need. We’re here to help make the NIF application process as smooth and easy as it can possibly be. Find out more. Call us today!

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