Starting a Business in Portugal

An introduction to the process of starting a business in Portugal...

In many cases, the process of setting up a business in Portugal may be done in a single day.

Note: Requirements for licences and registration vary for different types of business and across business sectors, so this page can only give an overview of the process.

  • Portugal Global is a useful English website that gives a step-by-step guide to setting up a business and lists the licences and approvals that are required

Who Can Set up a Business in Portugal?

Both Portuguese nationals and foreigners may set up a business through the intermediary of a lawyer, solicitor or notary in the possession of a digital certificate.

There are no restrictions on foreigners setting up a company in Portugal, as long as they are legal residents and have the necessary work permits and minimum capital investment to do so.

They must have:

  • A Residency Card (Cartão de Residência) issued by the Portuguese Immigration Service or SEF (Serviços de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras)
  • A Tax Number (Numero Fiscal de Contribuinte), whether the process of starting up the business has begun or not, those intending to work need to be registered for tax purposes
  • A Social Security Number (Cartão de Segurança Social): register at the Social Security Office (Repartição de Segurança Social). All foreign nationals intending to stay in Portugal over 180 days and work have to pay social security