Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Portuguese tax authority has made it easier to acquire a NIF online to reduce gatherings and slow the spread of the virus. As a result, it’s now possible to acquire your Portuguese NIF online.
Struggling to decide whether you need a NIF? Unsure how to acquire a NIF online and how much it might cost? Read on to find all the answers to these questions and more.
NIF stands for Número de Identificação Fiscal. If you’re in Portugal, or otherwise planning to visit, acquiring this unique identification number is the first step of the Portuguese administrative ladder.
The Número de Identificação Fiscal (also known as Número de contribuinte) translates to Fiscal Identification Number and you’ll need it for almost everything during your time in Portugal.
Don’t worry, if you’re enjoying a holiday in Portugal, you DO NOT need a NIF. So, feel free to close your laptop, pack your swimmers, and head to the beach.
However, if you’re planning to live and work in Portugal for any length of time, getting your NIF is a top priority. There’s no obligation in Portugal to register a NIF, nevertheless put in the effort now and you’ll thank yourself later.
A NIF is required for almost any administrative task you’ll encounter during your stay in Portugal. You’ll need it for activities such as:
These are just a few actions that require a NIF in Portugal—I’m sure there are many more, but you get the gist.
Hopefully, I’ve made my point: you need to get a NIF if you plan on staying (and working) in Portugal for any length of time.
Traditionally, there were three ways of applying for a NIF in Portugal.
However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Portuguese government has started issuing more and more NIF numbers online.
The process is slightly different for those visiting from EU/EEA versus those applying from outside the EU/EEA. That said, it isn’t difficult. Provided that you adhere to the following advice, you shouldn’t run into any issues.
Getting your NIF online has become easier since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic as the Portuguese government take measures to restrict gatherings and slow the spread of the virus. That’s great news for acquiring your NIF, as it means you can now do so from the comfort of your living room.
Some have had success with acquiring their NIF by sending an email to a local tax office. The great thing about this route is that it doesn’t cost anything.
If you don’t succeed or otherwise experience pushback with your first attempt, you can always try emailing a different one—it doesn’t matter from which tax office you acquire your NIF.
You’ll need to send the email with a cover letter written in Portuguese (Google Translate should do the trick), requesting a NIF with the necessary attachments: a scanned copy of your passport or photo ID, and a proof of address (such as a utility bill).
Note: You DO NOT require a Portuguese address to acquire a NIF—any EU/EEA address should be fine.
Cost: Free (for EU/EEA Citizens)
If you don’t have success with sending an email, you can head over to the Finanças Portal website and apply for a NIF online.
Why wouldn’t you simply do this instead of sending an email?
Well, to acquire a NIF via the Finanças Portal, you need a tax representative. You can ask any permanent resident of Portugal to be your tax representative. This person will be responsible for communicating with the Finanças on your behalf, so you’ll need to find somebody willing to do this.
If you don’t yet know anybody in Portugal whom you can ask to be your tax representative, you can contact a company and ask them to represent you. You’ll need to grant the company power of attorney (via a signed form, written in Portuguese) so that they can legally act in your name, as well as a photo ID and proof of address.
Acquiring a NIF as a non-EU/EEA citizen isn’t all that different. If you’re not currently in Portugal and plan only to visit for a short time, you can apply for a temporary NIF number. Alternatively, if you intend to apply for Portuguese residency by making a valuable contribution to the economy via the golden visa programme, you can acquire a NIF at the same time.
You can apply for a NIF via the Finanças Portal just as you would if you were an EU/EEA member. Again you’ll need to find somebody willing to be your tax representative or contact a company.
If you’re applying from outside of an EU/EEA member state, you’ll need to provide a passport—photo ID cards will not be accepted. You’ll also need to provide a signed power of attorney letter (written in Portuguese), granting the company or representative the rights to act in your name.
Note: If your NIF is registered to a Portuguese address it is assumed that you are now a tax resident of Portugal. If your NIF is registered to a foreign address you have no tax obligations in Portugal.
By now, you should understand the steps you need to take towards acquiring your NIF, whether you’re an EU/EEA member or otherwise. Once you are issued your NIF, you’ll receive an A4 piece of paper containing your NIF, registered address, and other relevant details. If you should wish to receive a Portuguese tax card, this can be purchased for an additional €6.80.