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NIF: The Essence, Peculiarities, Need

One must consider many things if eager to move to Portugal. In this article, we will tell you everything about the tax identification number that is commonly called NIF. Thankfully, nowadays, it is possible to get NIF online Portugal. So, check the guide!

nif portugal

What is the NIF in Portugal?

If you decide to settle in Portugal, the NIF will be an indispensable ally for all your tax, real estate, and even your daily life.

A Tax Identification Number (NIF), specific to each of the country’s inhabitants, allows the tax administration to register you. It consists of 9 digits, which you will soon get to know by heart.

It was set up in the country in 2013. The country was then trying to get out of the financial crisis that had hit it hard in previous years.

The idea was to encourage consumers to register their purchases/invoices by using the NIF each time to bring money into the state coffers. In exchange, part of the VAT invoiced during purchases was refunded to the customer at the time of his declaration.

An effective system to combat black trade and tax evasion has borne fruit and is, therefore, still in force. The NIF is mandatory, whether you are Portuguese or foreign!

What is the purpose of the NIF?

Concretely, the NIF is used by the State, which can thus verify purchases and track invoices. For the citizen, it is necessary for many situations:

  • Open a bank account in Portugal.
  • Rent legally or buy a property in Portugal.
  • Open Internet, mobile phone, electricity or water contracts.
  • Buy a car in Portugal.
  • Sign an employment contract for most local jobs.
  • Create a company.
  • Make your tax returns on the Portal das Finanças.

Who needs it?

Any person legally residing in Portugal, both official residents and citizens and foreign non-residents must have a NIF number in Portugal. It is not a legal requirement, but life will be much easier if you have one. Without such a thing, you will be unable to do a variety of things, such as opening a bank account, buying property, or signing contracts of different types. Moreover, finding a job without it is not possible either. If you reside in the country on a temporary basis, we also recommend obtaining this document. In this case, your number will be temporary as well. Once you become a permanent resident, your number will be replaced several months later. You will get a permanent NIF.


In fact, there are not too many requirements for those eager to get a NIF. All you need is a valid photo ID. For those residing outside the European Economic Area, the European Union, or Switzerland, a passport will do. For residents of the EEU, EU, and Switzerland, an identity card is suitable. In case you cannot present any of the documents, you can utilize your birth certificate.

In case you reside in Portugal already and have decided to apply for a NIF, proof of your residence will be required. The simplest option is presenting a utility bill. In some cases, people want to get this document when residing in another country. This is usually done with the help of representatives, and a power of attorney is needed in this case. It will give another person the right to do various things for you. Although getting a NIF is free, you will be obliged to pay a small fee.

Is it mandatory to provide it every time?

The NIF will be required for the procedures presented above, which you will not be able to complete if you do not have one.

On the other hand, nothing obliges you to give it during your shopping. Controls are now extremely rare, but they were frequent in 2013, at the beginning of the implementation of this measure.

What are the benefits?

Giving your NIF for each purchase allows you to obtain a partial refund of advanced VAT when you make your annual tax return.

Expenses are classified into several categories (medical, leisure, transport, etc.), and it is possible to recover up to 250 euros for each category. When filing taxes, it will be enough to validate the invoices to calculate what is potentially due to you to be carried out.

It is not a gift that the State gives you, as some Portuguese sometimes claim. This is only a partial refund of the money you have advanced in addition to your purchases.

How to get your NIF in Portugal?

As you have understood, the NIF is essential for living in Portugal. It’s totally free, and you will get it immediately.

Here are the steps to follow to obtain it in 2022:

  • Go to the financial agency/Loja do Cidadao nearest you. It is now possible to make an appointment online. Otherwise, you must come very early (before opening hours). You may have to wait a few hours!
  • You will need to bring the following documents: a valid passport or identity card/proof of local residence or the country you come from if you have just arrived in Portugal.
  • After inspecting the documents, you will be given the precious document, which you will have to keep.

There are no restrictions on obtaining it as a member of the EU, and you are normally not even asked the reasons for this request. If, however, this is the case, you can mention an intention to buy a house in Portugal, open a bank account or rent an apartment.

NIF Portugal: professionals can help you!

Do you have any questions about the NIF in Portugal? Would you like to be accompanied to get it? Do not hesitate to contact a reliable company: it will help you to save your time and effort.


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