Newcomers to Portugal soon learn that they need one particular number for a whole range of everyday transactions in the country: The NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal), also known as Número de Contribuinte, which is the Portuguese tax number.

A few examples of transactions where you’ll be asked for a NIF include…

…just to name a few.

There are different ways to get your NIF number depending on if you are an EU/EEA citizen or not, whether you’re applying remotely or in person, and other circumstances (like the COVID-19 pandemic).

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Getting a NIF for EU/EEA residents

The default way of getting a NIF number is to go to your closest Finanças (Portuguese tax office) and apply for it in person. This path is completely free for EU/EEA residents.

For a nominal fee, you can also use the online service route, in which case you can skip the queuing at Finanças and complete the process from anywhere. See the non-EU resident section for more details.

Getting a NIF won’t in itself make you a tax resident in Portugal, as long as you use a non-Portuguese address.

Getting your NIF in person

Step zero: Schedule an appointment (optional)

While a must during COVID times, appointments aren’t strictly necessary any longer. Walk-ins are often fine, but may depend on the specific office. For Finanças locations in big cities like Lisbon or Porto, tay be situations where making an advance appointment would be best.

To make an appointment, you’ll need to call +351 217 206 707, as online scheduling is only available if you already have a NIF and your login for Portal das Finanças.

However, it seems that for most locations you’ll be fine to do a walk-in (even in the cities) as long as you’re OK to spend some time waiting to be seen. Recent reports suggest that for busy locations it’s best to start queuing at least 30-45 minutes prior to opening to avoid spending half the day there. We’ve also heard reports of some locations being quieter after lunch because most people try to get there early in the day.

If you’re flexible you can have better luck at Finanças offices in smaller towns as they tend to have shorter lines, although it may less likely that you run into an employee who speak English.

If you’d rather not deal with this, you can also use an online service to get your NIF in less than three days, completely online, starting at less than €80.

Step one: Locate your closest Finanças

These are the government offices where you go to deal with anything tax-related, and that includes getting your NIF.

If you’re staying in central Lisbon, this one is the closest, but I wouldn’t recommend it—it’s probably the worst one in the city. For faster and relatively better service it’s worth going to this one or this one instead. If you’re staying elsewhere, just search for your closest one on Google Maps.

Also, take note of when it opens. The ones I linked to above opens at 9 am Monday to Friday.

Step two: Get address proof from your “home country”

This isn’t hard. Just bring a bank statement (less than three months old) that lists your non-Portuguese address.

If you are not registering for a NIF as a non-resident, but rather a Portuguese resident, just bring similar proof of your Portuguese address.

If you’re an EU citizen living outside the EU/EEA, you could simply get address proof from somewhere in the EU. One option is to change the address on file with your current bank (not all banks support foreign addresses, though) and print your next statement. Or just open an account with one of the many European online banks / fintechs that will allow you to open an account remotely with a European address, and print a statement from them.

Note: This trick only works for EU/EEA citizens. Non-EU/EEA citizens need a government-issued proof of address (despite being EU residents).

Step three: Bring your address proof and ID to Finanças

Finanças has a less than stellar reputation in Portugal—kind of like the DMV in the US—and if you don’t time your visit right, you might stand in line for hours.

So do yourself a favor, get up early enough to be there 10-15 minutes before they open. If you do this, you will probably only have to wait 10-20 minutes once they open their doors.

Remember to bring your passport together with your proof of address. If you’re an EU citizen with a national ID card listing your current address, that should also be accepted.

Note: The button you press to get your number in the line might not say NIF. If not, it will most likely say NĂşmero de Contribuinte or something along those lines.

Step four: Get your NIF on the spot

Once it’s your turn, just head up to the counter, let them know that you want to register for a NIF, and give the friendly employee whatever information they ask for. You shouldn’t need to justify why you want the NIF, but if they do ask, opening a bank account would be a perfectly good reason.

Most of the staff will speak at least basic English, so you’ll be fine even without a translator.

Once you’re done, you will receive a single A4 sheet of paper with the information you provided and your shiny new NIF. You should keep this paper. If you’re opening a bank account it’s a good idea to bring the original with you.

Step five: There is no step five. You’re done!

Getting your NIF via email

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people successfully received their NIF numbers by sending an email to one of the Finanças offices, such as [email protected] (Lisbon 2), [email protected] (Lisbon 9), [email protected] (Loures 3), or [email protected] (PortimĂŁo). That said, it seems like it was just a temporarily option and it likely won’t work anymore. But if you’re feeling lucky, you may still give it a shot.

Realistically though, if you want to get a NIF remotely, you will likely have to use one of the online NIF service providers.

You can find contact details of each Finanças office in the respective districts here:

You should send a copy of your identity document and a proof of address together with accompanying text in Portuguese (DeepL works well for the translation). You can expect your NIF number 3-5 days later.

Getting a NIF for non-EU/EEA residents

Getting your NIF in person

This process is the same as for EU/EEA residents, except for two important differences:

  1. You might need a tax representative (see below), who should also accompany during your visit to Finanças.
  2. There’s a small charge to obtain your NIF (just north of €10).

Getting your NIF via your lawyer or tax representative

Non-EU/EEA residents used to need a tax representative in order to apply for and maintain a NIF. But from July 2022 this is no longer needed, but it can still make the process of obtaining the NIF easier. If you’re trying to obtain a NIF remotely, or if you just want to skip the long lines at SEF, it might still be worthwhile to get it done for you.

Note: As of this writing it’s unclear if you still need a tax representative to register for your NIF or not. It could be that you still need one to register, but then you can change to electronic notifications once your get access to Portal das Finanças after a couple weeks. If you have any first-hand experiences regarding this after July 1, 2022, please share them below and I’ll update the article!

A tax representative is someone the Portuguese tax authority can communicate with on your behalf. It’s often a lawyer, but it can be any permanent resident willing to take on the responsibility (such as a friend).

Getting a NIF with a lawyer’s help and using them as your tax representative usually cost between €300-700 per year, but there is a much cheaper option available (see below).

Using an online service to get your NIF

Over the past few years there have been a growth in online services that help non-residents get their tax numbers (NIFs) conveniently fully online, all without leaving your couch (except to go fetch your passport).

Each service is a little different, so we’ve listed some of the most popular and affordable services while highlighting the most important differences between them.


A solid service with a very competitive price, starting at just €99 €79.20 for the Simple plan. The plan includes six months of tax representative service, and is perfect for those who will either move to Portugal within that time, are based in the EU/EEA, or will enable electronic notifications from the Portuguese tax office. They also offer a Premium plan for €149 €119.20, which includes a year of tax representation.

The estimated time to get your NIF is stated on the order page and is the same for both plans. As I’m writing this, that estimate is just two days. All plans includes both your NIF and Portal das Finanças password delivered by email (other providers may charge extra for this).

You can sign up for Anchorless with the following code for 20% off all services:


That makes it the most affordable NIF provider available.

The process of obtaining the NIF is very streamlined and completely digital. You’ll just need your passport or EU ID card, as well as proof of address.

Anchorless also offers other services, such as bank account openings and NHR consultations.

Another popular services is They help you get a NIF remotely, as well as various other services such as getting NHR, opening a Portuguese Bank account, and tax consultations.

Their NIF services vary in price depending on how soon you’d like to receive it. Their standard option is within 10 days for €99 €89 . If you need it quickly, they can get it done in three days for a €299 €289 or in five days for €159 €149 .

Renewals (continued tax representation) are charged at €99, no matter which package you opted for initially. Once you get access to Portal das Finanças you can of course change to electronic notifications directly from the tax authority, meaning you don’t need to pay for any renewals unless you want to keep them as your representative long-term.

You can sign up for with the following code for a €10 discount on all services:


That makes it even more affordable.

You will have to upload a copy of your passport and proof of address to their interface. You will then be sent a power of attorney document that you will need to sign before the process can start.

E-residence claims that 91% of NIFs are provided within 1-3 business days of submitting your documents.

NIF Online

Another similar service, which is the oldest such service that we know of, is NIF Online.

While lately they have been priced a bit higher than most competitors, they are currently running an offer for just €74.90 €67.41 . This price includes both registration and the required tax representation for one year.

The main drawback is a significantly slower delivery times—about 20-25 working days—according to recent reports from our community.

NIF Online is also giving our readers a discount. Take 10% off when signing up with the following code:


That makes it a lot cheaper than going through a lawyer.

Cover image credit: Joe Hawkins, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0