Starting in Portugal is not rocket science, it is all about preparation!

Once you’ve decided that you’re moving to Portugal and chosen which city you want to call home, the administrative steps can sometimes turn into a vicious circle where it is difficult to see the end.

Once you’ve decided that you’re moving to Portugal and chosen which city you want to call home, the administrative steps can sometimes turn into a vicious circle where it is difficult to see the end. Softlanding is your partner to support your setup in Portugal, with a dedicated and well-experienced team of experts, updated with the latest rules and laws of Portugal and Europe.

What are the steps?

If you have just moved to Portugal, you will need to get a Tax Number (NIF- “Número de Identificação Fiscal”), a Residence Permit/Certificate, a Tax Residence Certificate, and a Non-Habitual-Residence status, if the last applies to you.


You will need a personal tax number (NIF) no matter where you are from. Anyone legally living in Portugal needs to have a NIF number in this country. It’s not a legal requirement to obtain one, and you won’t get into trouble just for not having one. However, there are plenty of things that you won’t be able to do without one – buying a property, opening a bank account, getting credit, signing a mobile phone contract, as well as taking up employment.

Lisbon Tech Guide supports all nationalities for our NIF service, and if you are from outside the European Economic Area, we will be your tax representative. This process can be carried out while you are not yet in Portugal. The NIF you get through Softlanding is your permanent number – a unique 9-digit number assigned to you for life by the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority (also referred to as Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira).

Residence Permit/Certificate

International individuals who wish to work and stay longer than 90 days in Portugal must convert their visa to a Portuguese Residence Permit.

If you are an EU citizen, you have the right to reside in Portugal without taking any particular steps. Still, if you wish to move permanently to the country, you will need to register among the European residents of Portugal after you get your NIF. The Certificado do Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia (CRUE Certificate of Residency) is to be requested a maximum of 30 days after the end of the first 90 days.

Note that while the residence permit is pending, by a cause non-attribute to the applicant, the holder of a residence visa is not forbidden from performing a professional activity in the law’s terms regarding the type of residence permit in question.

Tax Residence Certificate

Next in line is the Tax Residence Certificate, a document issued by the Portuguese tax authorities attesting that you are considered a tax resident in Portugal in a given fiscal year.

You will need to change your status to Resident at the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority, with the address where you usually stay in Portugal. You then become a tax resident either by spending 183 days or more per year in Portugal or by establishing a “place of abode” here, that you intend to keep and occupy habitually.

NHR status

The resident-non-habitual NHR status is a tax status granted by Portugal for you to benefit from a special tax rate. This status aims to attract foreigners with high value-added potential, such as retirees or highly qualified individuals.

A person is considered to be a tax resident in Portugal if one of the following applies:

  • They have lived more than 183 days (consecutive or not) in Portugal during a 12-month period beginning or ending in the year of application for NHR status;
  • They have lived in Portugal for less than 183 days but have, at any time during the last 12 months, a real estate property under conditions that make it possible to presume the intention to keep and to occupy it as the principal and usual place of residence;
  • They were part of the crew of a ship or aircraft operated by a resident entity on 31 December;
  • They perform public functions or duties abroad in the service of the Portuguese State.

The tax regime NHR in Portugal is granted for 10 years non-renewable, as long as the individual continues to be considered a tax resident in Portugal during each of these years. If the person is not recognised as a tax resident in Portugal for a year, the status is not lost. A person who has not been able to benefit from the NHR plan during this 10-year period can always return and benefit from the plan during any of the remaining years of that period, beginning in the year in which they become a tax resident again in Portugal.

Tax Benefits:
  • No minimum contribution
  • Income obtained abroad:
  • Employment Income is tax-exempt if effectively taxed abroad
  • Real Estate Income, dividends, interests, royalties, capital gains, and self-employment income are exempt in Portugal, provided that under a Double Tax Agreement, they can be potentially taxed in the country of source
  • Pension Income is subject to a 10% fixed tax rate
  • Income obtained in Portugal:
  • Employment and Self-employment income considered obtained from high-added value activities are taxed at a reduced fixed tax rate of 20%

Softlanding will take care of NHR application procedures for you.

Paperwork made quick and easy

Softlanding has you covered with all the processes and is aware of every hoop you will need to jump through your setup.

Softlanding will help you thrive in Portugal, and if you wish to work as self-employed, we will assist you with your activity opening in order for you to register as a freelancer. As a freelancer or self-employed person, it is important to note that you will be exempt from making Social Security payments for the first 12 months from the start of your activity.

At first, this may seem a little complicated. Still, Softlanding will deconstruct everything in the simplest way possible and be your operational partner during all your growth and setup stages in Portugal.


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May 4, 2022
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