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Residency Permits & Fiscal No in Portugal

Visits: For visits of up to three months, only a passport is required.

Initial Residency Certificate: After three months, and within 30 days, you must apply for an initial residency certificate at your local Câmara Municipal (council) or Freguesia (parish council).

The documents that may be required are a passport or national ID card, your Portuguese fiscal number, which is obtained from the local Serviço das Finanças (tax office), a European health card, proof of address and income (or you may simply be required to make a self-declaration regarding whether you are employed, self-employed or have other means to live), and proof of health insurance if you are not entitled to the Portuguese health system. Sometimes other details regarding your education and family are required.

You will then be issued with an A4 paper certificate, which is valid for five years. You should carry this document with you at all times.

Permanent Residence Card: If you are still residing in Portugal after five years and wish to continue to do so, you can then apply within 30 days for a residency permit at your nearest Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras - SEF (immigration office) - www.sef.pt.

The documents required are a passport or national ID card, two passport type photos and your previous residency certificate. However, you may also be asked for your last tax (IRS) return and other documents.

You will then be issued with a Cartão de Residência (residency card). This is renewed after 10 years, but is merely a formality to update your photo and refresh the document.

Once you have a permanent residency card, you should inform the SEF, as well as the local tax office, if you permanently leave Portugal.

Non-EU Citizens: For non-EU citizens you should consult your particular embassy or Portuguese consulate in your home country for details of your entry and visa requirements, as these can differ from country to country.

Fiscal Nº: The Serviço das Finanças (tax office) -
www.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt is where you obtain your Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF (fiscal number), also known as Número do Contribuinte, in order to open a bank account and buy property in Portugal

If you are a non-resident, then under Portuguese law you will need to appoint a fiscal representative to go along with you and sign that they are responsible for any payments/debts in Portugal and to make sure that you meet your tax and financial obligations. A fiscal representative could be anyone in theory, but it is usually a legal representative, financial adviser or accountant, as the responsibilities are quite onerous.

You will need to take ID, a passport for example, and your details will then be entered onto a computer database along with those of your fiscal representative, if required. An A4 sheet showing these details and your fiscal number will then be printed out and given to you.

You should memorise this number or carry it with you at all times, as you will be surprised at how many times you will be asked for this number when doing various things in Portugal.