Living In Portugal

This is a guide to gaining residency in Portugal, obtaining tax numbers and so on - should you decide to live here. Much of the internal infrastructure is confusing at best so a little information and inside knowledge can go a long way to removing some of the confusion.

Residency In Portugal

Gaining residency in Portugal is fairly straight forward if you’re already an EU national. If not, it gets a little more complicated. Let’s tackle the EU nationals among us first, as a lot on new comers to the country tend to be from the Euro zone.

Residency In Portugal For EU Nationals

Residency in Portugal is permissible to all residents/citizens of the EU. You have the right to entry, permanence and residency, as do any family members that are with you.

EU Member States:

Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Denmark

Estonia Finland France Germany Greece

Holland Hungary Ireland Italy Leetonia

Lithuania Luxemburg Malta Poland Republic Check

Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden

United kingdom

For a length of three months, persons are permitted to reside without filing any other formal documentation – you are only expected to carry a valid passport or other form of formal identification.

If your stay will go beyond three months then you must formalise your residency – and that of all persons – during the first 30 days beyond the initial three months.

To do so, you will be required to do the following:

• Provide a valid passport or ID Card

• Two recent passport sized photos

• Swear a declaration that you will adhere to the conditions of your residency

You will need to locate either the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras(SEF) (Portuguese Immigration Service) or, post 2006 you can now gain your residency at any local town council – Camara Municipal.

However, that is the theory – some areas still issue residency via the SEF. The cost (to you) will be approximately €7.

Once you have your residency it will last for a maxium of 5 years – at the point of expiry you will have to reapply for the same.

NB – Residency Cards (Cartão de Residência) are no longer issued as Portugal has decided to amalgamate the various cards that residents are issued with, into one card. The new card, Cartão Cidadão, will now hold all the information contained within the residency, social security (segurança social) and NIF (tax contribution number).
However, as yet, Portugal is currently issuing the cards to native residents. Ex-pats and immigrants are last on the list – though the intention is to eventually provide all residents with the same single card system.


Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras(SEF)
Further Info In English

Local SEF Offices

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Número de Indentificação Fiscal - NIF (Tax Number)

Anyone that intends to live and work in Portugal must also obtain a fiscal number. Without one, you cannot purchase property, work or buy a car for e.g.

To apply for and then recieve your NIF, you need to apply at a local tax office (finanças) and present your valid passport or ID card. You will also need proof of residency - if you don't have it, you can use a freinds address or, if you're lucky enough, someone that's both a native and freindly with you, will allow you ti use theirs until you have your own.

This costs around the same as when applying for residency - €7

You will be issued with a number on the day and from that point you are free to buy *whatever* or work within the country. Note - again you will have your NIF number produced on the Cartão Cidadão, just remember that you'll have to wait quite a while before you receive it.


NIF Info/Portal (in Portuguese)


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