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An easy and stress-free way of getting your Portuguese NIF

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Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 21/06/2024, 16:30

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

If you want to live in Portugal legally, the first thing you would need to do is to get your NIF – fiscal or tax number. Those who are already here know that it’s not so easy and it requires a fair amount of patience. However, nowadays, there are ways of going around it. In this post I will tell you how I got my Portuguese NIF in an easy and stress free way.

Many expats living in Portugal have to struggle with paperwork and waiting times when it comes to sorting out official documents. It’s not easy if you don’t know the language.
NIF is an important part of your documentation, which opens a lot of doors for you and allows you to rent apartments, buy property, cars and work in Portugal legally. Getting the tax number will be the first thing you will need to do.

It took me a while to get my Portuguese NIF as I made a few mistakes when applying for it. I was also in a process of buying an apartment in Portugal and having the number was crucial to finalise the purchase. There was a moment when I thought I would not get my NIF and I wanted to give up. It was then when Bordr.io contacted me and offered to help out. I got the number in a week without major problems. In this post I will tell you all about NIF and how I got it.

Before we start, a disclaimer: Bordr.io is a company I partner with. I have used their services and can recommend them.

Please remember that below information refers to people living in the European Union. Please check with Bordr if they can get a NIF for you if you come from a country outside the EU.

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    What is NIF and why do you need it?

    NIF stands for Número de Identificação Fiscal. It is a short number, which will help you to sort out many things in Portugal.

    You will need it if you want to work here, buy a phone subscription, rent an apartment, buy a car, register at a doctor’s clinic. Basically, you will need it to live in Portugal.

    If you work here and pay your taxes, when doing shopping, eating out and paying for services, you will be asked for Número de Contribuinte. This is the same as NIF. Give it to the person asking for it. At the end of a fiscal year, you will be reimbursed for any outstanding VAT amount. Sometimes it will be 100 Euros, sometimes more. It is a nice present and some extra cash you can spend on anything you want.

    Why is it difficult to get your Portuguese NIF?

    Theoretically, anyone can get their own NIF. Even if you don’t live here, you can apply for it and have the address from your home country registered under it. This is something that many expats do when they want to buy a Summer house in Portugal.

    Getting your Portuguese tax number is not easy and you will hear a lot of stories about it. First reason why it is so hard, is because you need to get it from Finanças – a finance institution in Portugal, which is quite often disorganised and very busy.
    Before the pandemic you had to go to your nearest office in the early morning and wait for it to open. Then you had to count your luck. If they had enough appointments there was a possibility of getting NIF, if not, you had to come back another time.
    Nowadays it is somewhat smoother as you can make an appointment on the phone. However, there are only a few appointments available. Sometimes you need to wait a few weeks to get in. Also, if you don’t speak Portuguese, you might have quite a hard time to communicate with the person on the phone.

    The second reason why it is so difficult is the fact that there is no specific order in which you should sort out your documents. I was advised to get my NIF first, but I was refused it and told I had wrong documents. Some people will tell you to go to your local council and get a confirmation that you live under a specific address. This is usually quicker, but it might not work if you don’t have a NIF.

    When I had problems with getting my tax number, I asked some of my friends how they had gotten theirs and I heard different versions. So, it is sometimes quite difficult to get the number.

    How to get your NIF in Portugal?

    Don’t get discouraged. It is still possible to get the tax number. Below you will find the easiest way of doing it.

    What do you need to get the NIF?

    If you are from the European Union area, you will need:

    • Your passport or an ID card
    • A confirmation of your address in your home country. – You can get it from your council. I got mine sent to me by email. So, it doesn’t need to be an original
    • The translation of the document into English or Portuguese. Some Finanças will not require that, but it’s best to get it anyway.

    Certified translations in Portugal – In Portugal, official documents issued in a foreign language often need to be translated and certified by recognized entities. Navigating these requirements can be complex. Translayte delivers certified translation services in Portugal for all your legal, academic, and personal documents.

    Find out more here. 

    And that’s it!

    If you are from a country outside of the EU, you might need to provide extra documentation and have a fiscal representative. It can be a lawyer, a Portuguese person living in Portugal, or a foreginer who already has a NIF and a proof that they live in Portugal (it’s best if it’s a letter from the council in Portugal, or a rental agreement).

    Moving to Portugal? Bordr.io takes care of all the paperwork, so you can focus on enjoying your new life. Get your NIF, open a bank account, file your tax return and more, all in one place.

    Learn more and get started today

    How to get the NIF?

    Normally you will need to follow this steps:

    • Call Finanças, spend long minutes waiting for someone to pick up
    • Speak to the person and make an appointment. – Here you will need good Portuguese skills. Usually the appointment will be in the next month or so, but sometimes it can take even longer
    • Show up at the right time and at the right place with your documents
    • Hope everything is ok and you can get your NIF.

    This process is quite long, as you can see. There is also no guarantee that you will be able to get your number straight away. Sometimes, the clerk might tell you to bring some other documents, sometimes not. This means that you will need to start the process all over again.

    So, what’s the easiest way of doing it?

    After my first application was rejected, I decided to go with Bordr.io. The process was so easy and fast that I have no hesitation but to recomend them to you. And because they are such a nice company and want you to have a great experience with moving to Portugal, they offer 10% off for all my readers. So, don’t forget to use your discount code theblondtravels at the checkout.

    How to appy for NIF with Bordr.io?

    The process is very simple.

    • Go to their website
    • Click on ‘order my NIF’ in the top right corner
    • Fill in all of the information. You can use your ID number instead of passport
    • Upload scanned documents. Here I had some difficulties because I am not that good with technology, but I’m sure you are smarter than me. I had to scan both sides of the ID. I also had two pages of my proof of address – one in Polish and the second one was the translation of that document. As the site allows you to upload just one page of a PDF document I had to combine them somehow. So, I used Adobe to do that and it worked well.
    • Review everything carefully
    • Click continue
    • Put your payment details
    • Submit everything.

    After you submit it, you will get an email confirming everything. If they need something extra from you, they will contact you and you will need to upload it on a special web page. The link will be sent in the email.

    If everything is ok, one last thing you’ll need to do is to sign the power of attorney. This will be done by email.
    The document will show up in your mailbox. Print it out, sign, scan and send it back.

    I got my NIF after a week. Normally, it takes a few days, but during the pandemic Finanças went through some busy times and I was informed that I might have to wait up to 2 weeks.

    I honestly think that with Bordr.io I saved a lot of time and stress. I didn’t have to worry about anything and was informed about the status of my application on an ongoing basis.
    Again, I really recommend them. If you are in a hurry and don’t want to go through the stress, paying $135 is worth it!

    I hope you’ll be as happy as me with Bordr.io’s services. Let me know how it went in the comments!

    This post includes affiliate links. This means that if you use the discount code I will receive a small commission.
    So, if you like this post and would like to support me, and you’d like to get a good price, too, please don’t forget the code: theblondtravels.