Topic 2 Information on permits and requirements for working in portugal

  • Self-employment = liberal professional;
  • Incorporation of a commercial company = individual is the owner or partner of the company;
  • Work on behalf of others = activity under an employment contract.

I- Self-employed activity, as a liberal professional:

  • Written proposal of a contract for the provision of services for liberal professions;
  • Declaration issued by a competent entity that you are qualified to exercise the activity in Portugal, for example for doctors or lawyers;
  • Request the social security identification number through Social Security Direct;
  • Open the beginning of your liberal activity at the Tax Authority;
  • Obtain a visa to work as a liberal professional with the SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras)



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Authorizations and requirements to work in Portugal


The expression of interest is preferably formulated through the electronic platform (SAPA Portal) and the request is formalized with the appropriate form signed by the applicant or his/her legal representative and may be submitted to any SEF regional direction or delegation, which may forward it, after instruction and decision, to the regional direction or delegation of the applicant’s area of residence.

  • Passport or other valid travel document;
  • Proof of regular entry on Portuguese territory (possession of valid visa, when required, or entry in Portugal within the visa exemption period);
  • Proof of means of subsistence;
  • Criminal record certificate from the country of origin;
  • Criminal record certificate from the country in which you have been residing for over a year (when this is not Portugal);
  • Authorization for consultation of the Portuguese criminal record by SEF;
  • Document proving that you have accommodation;
  • Proof of registration and regularized situation before Social Security
  • Proof of registration with the Tax Authorities;
  • Declaration of commencement of activity with the Tax Administration and Social Security as a natural person; OR
  • Contract for the provision of services for the exercise of a liberal profession and declaration of the professional association proving the respective registration (when applicable)
  • Qualification for independent professional activity (when applicable)

II - Economic activity carried out through the establishment of a commercial company = company

Obtain social security identification number (NISS);

Obtain a tax identification number (NIF);

Sign a company contract under the terms of the law, which can be obtained at the company on the spot, at an approximate cost of 360 euros, available at;

Appoint a Chartered Accountant to do the company’s accounting;

After the incorporation of the company, it is subject to Corporate Income Tax (IRC).

III - Activity exercised through an employment contract

Identification, signatures and domicile or headquarters of the parties;

  • Reference to the worker’s work visa or authorization to reside or remain in Portuguese territory;
  • Value, frequency and form of payment of wages;
  • Dates when the contract was signed and when the work commencedtheir respective identification, namely, in the case of a company, the existence of a relationship of association, reciprocal participations, dominance or group, as well as the headquarters or domicile

  • the place of work or, if there is no fixed or predominant place of work, the indication that the work is carried out in several locations
  • the category of the employee or the general description of the corresponding duties
  • the date of conclusion of the contract and the date on which it takes effect
  • the foreseeable duration of the contract, if it is concluded for a fixed term
  • the duration of the vacation or the criterion for its determination
  • the notice periods to be observed by the employer and employee for termination of the contract, or the criteria for determining them
  • the amount and periodicity of remuneration
  • the normal daily and weekly work period, specifying the cases in which it is defined in average terms
  • the number of the work accident insurance policy and identification of the insurer
  • the applicable collective work regulation instrument, if any
  • identification of the work compensation fund or equivalent mechanism, under the terms of the specific legislation.

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The employment contract with foreign workers must be executed in duplicate, each party keeping a copy;

The employee must attach to the contract the identification and address of the person or persons receiving a pension in the event of death resulting from an accident at work or occupational disease.

The employer is obliged to communicate the signing of the contract to the inspection service, Autoridade para as condições do trabalho, ACT, available at

The Social Security Number for Foreigners is a number that identifies the foreign worker with Social Security. This number subjects the worker to the respective contribution regime and consequent rights and obligations.

Currently there is the NISS na Hora service, which is aimed at all foreign citizens who are in Portugal and who intend to exercise a professional activity.

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Documents needed to obtain a social security number by foreign workers

  • Application templates RV 1009/2018-DGSS and RV 1006/2018-DGSS available at;
  • Identification document and respective simple copy – Passport;
  • Copy of tax identification document (NIF) or citizen card or other civil identification document from the country of origin;
  • Employment contract;


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If the individual has foreign nationality from a third country:

To be fiscally considered as a resident he/she must present:

Identification document or Passport and residence permit title.

In order to be considered a non-resident for tax purposes, the individual must present

Identification document or Passport. It also required to designate a fiscal representative (singular or collective) with residence in the Portuguese national territory.


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There are several visa modalities according to the length of stay in Portugal and its objectives:

Temporary stay less than one year;

Permanent residence.

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Types of visas

  • The temporary stay visa is intended to allow entry for stays in Portugal for a period of less than one year. It is valid for the duration of the stay and for multiple entries into national territory.
  • The visa to obtain a residence permit is valid for two entries and for four months, during which time the holder must apply to the Aliens and Borders Service for a residence permit.
  • According to the Law no 27/2008 30th June Asylum seekers and Refugees “shall be ensured access to the labour market, under the terms of general law, and the application of the social support regime provided for in article 56 shall cease when it is demonstrated that the applicant and respective family members have sufficient means to enable their subsistence” (Art. 54º).

Documentation required to apply for visas to exercise an activity with an employment contract with permanent residence

  • Employment contract or promise of employment contract or individualized expression of interest;
  • Declaration issued by the Employment and Professional Training Institute;
  • Proof that he is qualified to exercise the profession, when this is regulated in Portugal.
  • For the purposes of proof of means of subsistence, means arising from a work contract or promise of a work contract must be taken into consideration.
  • Proof of means of subsistence may be provided by means of a term of responsibility signed by the host entity.

Documentation required to apply for visas for activities with an employment contract and temporary stay

  • Application in the appropriate form;
  • Passport or other travel document valid for 3 months beyond the duration of the intended stay;
  • Two recent, identical photographs, passport type, and in good identification conditions of the applicant;
  • Title of transport that assures your return;
  • Proof of regular status if he/she is a national of a country other than the one where he/she is applying for a visa;
  • Valid travel insurance to cover necessary expenses for medical reasons, including urgent medical assistance and possible repatriation;
  • Request for consultation of the Portuguese criminal record by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF);
  • Criminal record certificate from the country of origin or from the country where the applicant has been residing for more than one year (minors under 16 years of age are exempt from presenting documents related to criminal record)
  • Proof of housing conditions;
  • Evidence of the existence of means of subsistence as defined by an ordinance from the relevant members of the Government;
  • Proof of the possession of means of subsistence may also be provided by means of a letter of guarantee signed by a national citizen or a qualified foreign citizen with a residence document in Portugal.



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