Portugal is a popular destination for people who want to work and live abroad. Freelancers, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads often choose Portugal for its opportunities, warm weather, and ease of living. If you are considering registering as a sole trader in Portugal, this article will take you through the process.
Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.
The Business Structures in Portugal
There are several legal business structures in Portugal:
- Sole Trader (Empresário em Nome Individual in Portuguese*)*
- Single Shareholder Limited Liability Company (Sociedade Unipessoal por Quotas in Portuguese*)*
- Individual Limited Liability Establishment (Estabelecimento Individual de Responsabilidade Limitada in Portuguese).
Freelancing in Portugal
If you are planning on working as a freelancer in Portugal, you should opt for the sole proprietorship. If you are in the independent trade, you are required to have a residence permit, tax number, and social security number. You are responsible for income tax payments and social security contributions.
Who Is the Sole Trader (Empresário em Nome Individual) in Portugal?
People who want to start an individual business in Portugal can opt for the Empresário em Nome Individual (sole proprietorship) since there is no minimum capital or articles of association required to set up. The only downside of a sole proprietorship is unlimited liability for business debts. This means that there is no distinction between a proprietor and their business assets.
Registering as a Sole Trader (Empresário em Nome Individual) in Portugal
There are a few document requirements to register a sole proprietorship in Portugal:
- Portuguese residency card
- A tax Number (NIF—Número de Identificação Fiscal in Portuguese), assigned by the Portuguese Tax Office
- Security Number, assigned by the Portuguese Social Security institution
How to Obtain a Business Visa for Portugal
To start a business in Portugal, you need to hold a Portuguese residence permit.
EU and EFTA Citizens
If you are an EU or EFTA (The European Free Trade Association) citizen who has been a Portuguese resident for less than five years, you need a Certificate of Registration.
Non-EU or EFTA Citizens
If you are a non-EU/EFTA national and want to come to Portugal to work as a freelancer, you will need a Portuguese work visa and a residence permit. The process of obtaining a residence permit depends on a person's citizenship.
How to Get a Social Security Number (NISS) in Portugal
Getting a Portuguese SSN (NISS in Portuguese) requires a residence permit. To register your NISS, visit one of the several Lojas do Cidadao.
The Documents Required for a Social Security Number (NISS) in Portugal
To register for SSN in Portugal, you will need the following documents:
- Passport copy
- Proof of residence in Portugal
- NIF copy (Tax Number, details below) or the national insurance number from home country
- Residency card or Evidence of Application.
Self-employed workers must complete Form RV1000/2007-DGSS for self-employed.