The process of changing residence to Portugal
On this page you will find information about the steps to follow if you want to change your legal and fiscal residence to Portugal. Please note that the order presented is only a recommendation and may be changed according to your specific situation. We are available to assist you in any of the steps, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you need our assistance.
Citizens of Third States who intend to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days must first request a visa which will allow them to enter and stay in Portugal for up to one year (temporary stay visa) or request a temporary residence permit (residence visas). These visas should be requested in the country of origin before moving to Portugal.
Para residir em Portugal ou realizar algum ato legal (arrendar ou adquirir um imóvel, abrir uma conta bancária, etc.) necessitará, obrigatoriamente, de obter um número de identificação fiscal. Para obter o seu número de identificação fiscal deverá registar-se como residente ou não residente fiscal, dependendo se resida ou não em Portugal. No entanto, é comum registar-se como não residente fiscal num primeiro momento, uma vez que, para se registar como residente fiscal, necessita de um comprovativo de morada e, normalmente, não é possível arrendar um imóvel em Portugal sem indicar o número de identificação fiscal.
If you register as a non-tax resident in Portugal and indicate as your tax domicile an address in a country that does not belong to the European Union or the European Economic Area you must appoint a tax representative. A tax representative is a natural or a legal person (entity) that is resident in Portugal for tax purposes. The appointment of a tax representative must be made simultaneously with the registration as a non-tax resident (and, when applicable, simultaneously with the application for a tax identification number).
Opening a bank account
After obtaining a Portuguese tax identification number you can open a bank account in Portugal. We note that it is possible to open a bank account from abroad. Please contact us if you need contact details of banks in Portugal.
Renting // Buying a house
To change your tax residence to Portugal, you do not necessarily need to buy a house, you can simply enter into a rental contract. Should you choose to enter into a rental contract to change your tax residence, please note that this contract should have a minimum validity of 6 months. It is recommended that you seek legal advice both when entering into a rental contract and when signing a deed for the purchase of a house.
Register as tax resident
After obtaining an address in Portugal, you should register as tax resident. This register is done before the Tax Authorities (unless you have a Portuguese citizen card). You have a period of 60 days to change your residence status to tax resident, counting from the acquisition of a domicile in Portugal (e.g. conclusion of a rental contract, acquisition of a house, etc.).
After obtaining a temporary stay or residence visa, you may enter Portugal and start the process of obtaining a temporary residence permit. In certain situations it is possible to request a temporary residence permit without having previously requested a residence visa (“Expression of Interest”). You should start the residence permit process before your visa expires.
EU Citizen Register
Nationals of member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), Andorra and Switzerland do not need to obtain a permit to reside in Portugal. However, they are obliged to register in Portugal when staying more than 3 months in this country. This certificate is requested at the services of the Municipal Council in the area of residence of the person who intends to request it.
Non-Habitual Tax Resident
This regime is only available to individuals who acquire the status of non-habitual resident in Portugal and have not been considered tax resident here in the last five tax years. This regime provides three types of tax benefits: 1) flat rate of 20% for employment and self-employment income; 2) flat rate of 10% for foreign pensions; 3) exemption for foreign income. The regime has a duration of 10 years.
Any foreign citizen with legal residence in Portugal can request a user number to access the services of the public health care units of the National Health Service. Although it is required that the person has legal residence in Portugal, it is possible to request this number before the residence permit is obtained.
Legalisation of the vehicle
Vehicles with foreign number plates are not allowed to circulate in Portugal. The importation process must be started as soon as the vehicle enters Portuguese territory and the intention is to circulate with it in this territory. The vehicle legalization process obeys to the fulfillment of several steps, which must be verified within the legal deadlines.
Drivers with a foreign driving licence who wish to drive in Portugal are obliged to communicate the use of this driving licence or exchange it for a Portuguese one. The applicable regime varies depending on the country that issued your driving licence, so you should check your specific situation and consult the information applicable to your case.
Importation of personal belongings
The importation of personal property by individuals transferring their normal residence to the national territory is exempt from VAT and customs duties provided that certain requirements are met: (1) they have been used by the individual for at least six months before the date on which he ceased to have his normal residence outside the Community; (2) the individual has resided outside the Community for at least twelve consecutive months; (3) the goods are imported within twelve months of the date on which the person concerned has established his normal residence in the national territory. If you need the contact details of customs agents who can assist you with the importation process, please contact us.
Tax residence certificate
The Certificate of Tax Residence is a document issued by the Portuguese tax authorities certifying that the person is considered tax resident in Portugal in a given fiscal year under the Portuguese tax law and, for the purposes of the application of conventions to eliminate double taxation entered into by Portugal. This certificate serves to prove to authorities and/or entities of other countries that the person is tax resident in Portugal. Please note that it is possible to obtain this tax residence certificate from the first day you register as tax resident in Portugal.
Annual Tax Return
Individuals resident for tax purposes in Portugal or non-resident for tax purposes who obtain income here (with the exception of certain situations) are required to submit an annual income declaration. This declaration must be submitted between 1 April and 30 June of the year following that in which the income was obtained and must be submitted electronically in your personal area of the Portal das Finanças.