How to get a Portuguese NIF for Non-Residents


(Filipe) #47

That law only mentions the necessary requirements for someone to be a “fiador” (co-signer). It has nothing to do with getting a NIF. I don’t know where people here got the idea that you always need a cosigner for obtaining a NIF, which is totally false.

According to the law and as you can see if you go to the Portuguese government website talking about how to obtain a NIF ( all you need is a national ID card if you’re from the EEA or a passport for anyone else if you are a resident. THERE ARE NO FURTHER REQUIREMENTS!

You only need a tax representative (not a fiador) if you aren’t a resident (basically if you don’t have a permanent address) and that person will basically serve to receive your mail from the Portuguese tax authorities. If you have a permanent property that you keep as a holiday house or something like that, you qualify as a resident and don’t need a representative.

On another point, a NIF is only required if you have to pay taxes in Portugal, otherwise, if you’re asked for one you can simply say you’re not a resident and don’t have one. No one will stop you from opening a bank account or get an internet contract because of that, tough I’ll freely admit the standard procedure is made around you having one. Nonetheless, if you need to get a utility contract you already have a permanent address to qualify as a resident, don’t you?

I’m a Portuguese national, I’ve read the actual law in Portuguese, the mentioned website from the government and asked my mother who works in the Portuguese treasury.

I have no idea where you all got the “fiador” thing from. You only need one to apply for loans.

As a final point unlike what’s here mentioned multiple times, a “tax representative” and a “fiador” are totally unrelated things. The first is someone (pretty much always a lawyer though not strictly mandated by law to be such) that you give permission to represent you on tax matters, while the second is someone (usually a spouse or parent) that will vouch for you to get a loan and will assume the debt if you default on your payments

(Thomas K. Running) #48

Thanks @Filipe1, that’s a very useful clarification. Seems like people tend to get the terms mixed up, so it’s very helpful to know that tax representative definitely ≠ fiador (co-signer).

Do you happen to know if the tax representative needs to be a Portuguese resident, or if it can be anyone from the EU/EEA (since residents of EU/EEA don’t need a tax representative anyway)?

(Filipe) #49

To be clear, there’s no distinction between being an EEA citizen not when it comes to needing a tax representative, you can even be a Portuguese citizen and the law is the same. The law says you need a tax representative if you are not a resident in Portugal or if you are going to be away for more than 6 consecutive months. Tough if you have a permanent address you pretty much can say you are a resident and no one will check if you are more than 6 months away or not. It’s always good to follow the law nonetheless

As for who the tax representative may be, it can be anyone with permanent residence in Portugal or a company based in Portugal. There are no nationality requirements (art.19 of the tax code)

(Thomas K. Running) #50

That’s interesting, because in practice Finanças definitely makes a distinction between EEA and non-EEA residents.

I personally signed up for a NIF with a Norwegian address, no Portuguese address on file, and no tax representative.

(Filipe) #51

An unfortunate thing here in Portugal is that very often you learn your job by doing it, with the minimal training you get being in the bureaucratic process of doing stuff and no knowledge on the theory behind it, in this situation the laws behind.

So my guess in this situation is that if you’re from the EEA where documents are to a great extent standardized, they just insert all the data in the system like they usually do and it’s done, while if you’re from outside the EEA and bring all kinds of different IDs and paperwork they don’t know what to do and look at the actual law. Only then do they see you may need a tax representative etc.

As I mentioned in my previous post, art. 19 of the tax code makes no mention of nationality, only residency status, so if you gave them a Norwegian address, they definitely should have required you to have a tax representative.

There’s also the possibility that they knew that and just didn’t bother as it would give them more work (happens quite often) and in reality, the tax representative is just a formality if you’re not a company.

An example of that kind of mindset happened to me last summer when I went to renew my national ID card. After checking with me all my data was up to date the lady just asked me if I was still the same height as last time and as I said yes, we just moved on, when she should have taken my height in the machine that they have to do so. It was near closing time…

(Thomas K. Running) #52

While you might be right that the law doesn’t make the distinction, I know for a fact that EEA residents officially are not required to have a tax representative. It’s not just due to the incompetence of the particular person you deal with at Finanças.

In addition to knowing lots of other EEA residents who have done the same, I’ve also confirmed it with a lawyer today. Even if it’s not mentioned in the law itself, there might be a decree or similar with official guidelines. Rules like this are determined by more than just the letter of the law.

(Filipe) #53

Here in Portugal only laws have official capacity, that’s why they are laws. It’s certainly possible that there may be an internal “order of service”, but that’s certainly very much unnoficial and no official source ever admits to that kind of thing when challenged in court, tough in this situation they’re just sidestepping a formality as I said previously. There aren’t seemingly any negative consequences for any individual’s by waiving the requirement.

Such orders of service are just guidelines usually to streamline bureaucracy and employees aren’t required to follow them, not to mention they can change without warning from one day to the next, meaning you can’t direct a complaint to anyone if you’re an EEA citizen and they decide to require you to have a tax representative, so just be mindful of that

(Miyako Ueki) #54

I still don’t know exactly what I need to do. I am a Japanese citizen with US permanent residency. Will you bring tax rep with you in case they might ask? Tax rep I contacted in Porto asking for 350 euros to go to the office with me. I would love to save 350 euros if it is not mandatory. Should I find any residence who willingly go with me? I will definitely compensate.

(Filipe) #55

There’s a question that if you’re from the EAA you may have the need for a tax representative waived, if you’re Japanese you’ll certainly need one provided you don’t intend to reside in Portugal or say in Portugal for long stretches.

As for who you need, technically it can be anyone who’s a permanent resident in Portugal, but if you’ll need law representation in Portugal, then probably a lawyer is best

(Miyako Ueki) #56

Thanks Filipe. I appreciate your response on this. I will try with residence first. If they say I have to bring Tax Rep, then I will her one.

(Pavlína Hlavackova) #57

Hi there, please can anyone tell me, are there any obligations that are connected to NIF? I mean, if I have NIF as a non-resident (EU), I just use it when buying, paying etc., and there’s nothing else I need to do? To “report” something to Finanças (some yearly overview or something like that)? How does it work? Thank you. Pavlina from Czech Republic, currently living in Portugal

(Filipe) #58

No, there is no obligation. In Portugal the tax authorities automatically collect everything they need from you. No input necessary. If you don’t pay taxes in Portugal the only thing the NIF does is identify you to the government when you make purchases

(Pavlína Hlavackova) #59

Thank you

(Emily Lee) #60

Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster reporting back.

I got my NIF today too. I am an Australian citizen, just moved to Setubal, Portugal. I went down to the local Finanças office and it took about 30 mins to get one (around 11am, weekday). I got one as a ‘non resident’.
All they required was my passport, I didn’t show any proof of residence in Australia or Portugal. My Portuguese boyfriend acted as my ‘rep’. He showed his drivers license which has his address on there, so I suppose that was enough for them.

The lady said if my situation ever changed I could always go back to that office and change my NIF from non resident to resident.

While my bf did all the communication in Portuguese, I did note there were staff communicating to others in English.

Hope that helps, and thanks all for posting your experiences. It has helped me a lot.

(Charles Mercier) #61

As ozzeggtart and others said above…

I just went to the Porto Financas. The woman in English told me, that (in addition to my proof of income - I showed my U.S.A. W2 tax form and another paper showing my address) I need to have a representative (Portuguese with a NIF) in order to receive my mail in Portugal.

It all seemed so simple for just over 10 euros. Does anyone know anyone in Porto who will be my representative? lol

(Filipe) #62

The driver’s license is indeed accepted as proof of residence

(Filipe) #63

Why did you need to show proof of income? Did it have your address in there so you used it as proof of address?

(Charles Mercier) #64

I’m just going with what other information that has been given here. In my case, my W-2 statement because it has my address on it and passport (along with my representative) was all that was necessary for me to get a NIF.

(Tina) #65

Query on paperwork.
I have obtained my fiscal number whilst travelling in Portugal and am resident in the UK.
The fiscal office has given me paperwork stamped with my holiday address in Portugal not my UK address. I have been told that I now have to pay tax in Portugal. Is this correct and if so how do I correct the paperwork to show my UK address? I would appreciate any advice.

(Akshay Sharma) #66

I’m from India and from past one year I was Singapore and working there.
To obtain NIF as a non PR or EU citizen what documents I will be required?
Also, I’m not working in Singapore anymore.
The only reason I have to look for NIF number is, that a company in Portugal is ready to hire me but they are asking for the NIF number and I need to provide it, only then they will be hiring me.