6 Documents you’ll need arriving in Portugal- Visa


Moving to Portugal is very bureaucratic. Believe us. It’s craaaaazy! It is not enough to show your passport, apply for a residence visa, pack your bags and leave. Once you’re here, things get wild. So, in this article, we’ll explain what to do when you arrive in Portugal so you can be calm and put your life in order to live peacefully. So here are 6 Documents you’ll need when arriving in Portugal.

What to do when you arrive?

So after you unpacked your luggage and finished with the sightseeing – you will need to start and regulate your living status in Portugal.

What are the steps? Save this blog – it will help you a lot:

1. Declaration of entry (for those who did not take a direct flight to Portugal);

2. Issue NIF;

3. Open a bank account;

4. Issue an Utente number;

5. Register with Social Security (for those who are going to work);

6. Request the Residence Permit at SEF (if you don’t hold a European residence).

We’ll talk about them in detail below:

1.     Declaration of entry – For non-European residence

If your flight stops in another European country belonging to the Schengen Area, the documentation and stamp in the passport will happen during the immigration process of that country, not on your arrival in Portugal. In this case, you’ll need to make an entry declaration so that SEF – Foreigners and Borders Service, is aware of your arrival.

But, if you book a hotel or Airbnb for your first nights in the country, that won’t be necessary since they’ll do that for you. Personally, we recommend staying at a hotel if you can, for the first nights. It will relax your mind and prepare you for what’s next.

To do it, you’ll have a maximum of three business days after your arrival to fill and print this form here. and deliver it to the SEF unit with your passport for verification. And if you don’t, you’ll pay a fine. Not a big one, but… money is money, right?

2. Request the NIF

The number of fiscal identification needed for so many things, but mainly, IRS. You’ll need it on a daily basis. “Número de contribuinte” (another name for a NIF). You’ll hear it every time you go shopping. It’s basically a fiscal number that serves you when buying everything in Portugal, so you can also deduct different stuff with the tax authorities- when doing your taxes.

We have an easy step-by-step here, and you’ll get it done by going to a Finanças unit.

3. Bank Account

Now that you’ve got your NIF, you can open a bank account. Besides needing it to present to the SEF, many establishments in the country don’t accept foreigners’ cards or even credit cards (we know, it’s hard) and some banks don’t even transfer money to foreign banks, not even EU banks, so the best solution is choosing a Portuguese bank for you, we recommend to open it in Millennium BCP, as this is a bank that knows how to work with foreigners and they have an app in English and not Portuguese.

4.     Health User Number

This is the number of identification that allows access to the necessary public healthcare for Portuguese residents. Especially now, because of the COVID19, it was the number one document we needed here in the country since without it, we couldn’t be vaccinated. 

Of all the documents, this is the easiest one to get and we also have a step-by-step here, and it can be requested online, although it’s better to go in person.

5.     Social Security Number

As in almost every country, Portugal has its Social Security system and, if you want to work here, you’ll need to have your number and make your monthly contribution.  

Like the Health User Number, you can request it online here.

Or, if you are an independent worker, the request must be made by email: ISS-Pedido-NISS@seg-social.pt (upper case letters).

6. Request the Residence Permit at SEF- For non-European

We know! You’ve requested the Visa in your home country. But to live here, you’ll need a Residence Permit issued by the SEF. And guys, this is the MOST IMPORTANT document you’ll need here. Seriously. THE MOST IMPORTANT. It will prove that you are legally living here and that you have your rights. Got it?

Let’s get to it. What’s the first step? It’s scheduling an appointment at SEF:

The first appointment is usually issued with the visa, so when you receive it, you will probably receive the date and time by which you must present yourself to the SEF in Portugal.

But, if for some reason (or many), you need to reschedule or schedule yourself, the process may take longer. A lot longer.

You’ll need to contact SEF by phone: (+351) 808 202 653 / (+351) 808 962 690. And don’t give up. You’ll have to be very persistent. It can take hours or even days. But hopefully, you’ll get it. But it’s a really frustrating stage, we know. So if you are in this stage- know that we all have been there.

Once you have the date and hour of the appointment (can take even 6-12 months to get one), just show up to present all the documentation and payment. If everything is OK, your residence permit will be sent to your home by mail, which usually takes around 30 days.

Note: while waiting for the appointment, even if it will occur in 1 year – you are totally legal in Portugal. You just need to keep the document of the process, and you’re fine.

Documents you’ll need:

It can vary according to each type of visa you have, but in general, they’ll ask:

• Completed SEF form;

• Valid passport;

• Valid residence visa (in your passport);

• Two 4.5cm x 3.5cm photos;

• Proof of address (lease contract or certificate issued by the Junta da Freguesia);

• Proof that you have enough income to live in Portugal (bank statement and/or income tax return);

• Disclaimer (if applicable);

• NIF – Tax Identification Number;

• NISS – Social Security Registration Number (for work purposes);

• Health Insurance, PB4 or Utente number;

• Certificate of a criminal record.

About the fee, again: it may vary according to each visa and country. You can verify them here.

Now that you already have everything to start your life here in Portugal, are you excited? Remember: planning is essential. So, if you need, we are here for you and we offer packages of relocation that can suit you and your family. Take a look. See you soon!