Portuguese Bureaucracy Made Easy

Ah bureaucracy. The boring and often very frustrating part of living in or moving to any country. It is however very necessary. I've been through this many times before. When I was signing up to go to uni in France, there were all kinds of different hoops I had to jump through (so. much. paperwork.). The same when applying for a work visa in Chile which I ended up withdrawing. 

But today I managed to almost effortlessly get my Portuguese "NIF": tax identification number. This means I can now sign Sienna up to a new nursery. It means I can work (and pay taxes 😏). There was also no mention of Brexit, which I really thought might cause problems!

Serviço da Finanças

To get your NIF you will need to head to a Serviço da Finanças office. A quick Google search will show you your nearest one and they are generally open from 9am-3pm. You then take a ticket on arrival by pressing the button which says NIF and wait for your number to appear on the screen. Easy!


You don't need a justification of your Portuguese address (unlike in other countries) to obtain your NIF surprisingly. Instead you need any kind document with your name and previous address from the country you are coming from. I didn't have one with me but luckily there was an address on Sienna's birth certificate so I just used that (it wasn't my most recent address but I didn't mention it and they didn't seem to care. They just needed an address to fill out the form with). You also need your passport. For children under the age of 10 you need their birth certificates too and they didn't ask me for a translation. In face the whole process took about half an hour and was free of charge. You can view the official guide to obtaining a NIF (in Portuguese) here

So that's it (for now..)! The lady attending me was pretty grumpy, but let's face it, I probably wasn't the first clueless foreigner she's had to deal with!