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Folders  |  Settling in : the first legal obligations
Settling in : the first legal obligations
Settling in : the first legal obligations

Settle in Lisbon : the first steps

Arriving in a new country is always an important event which we approach with a certain degree of apprehension. In the new city, with its unfamiliar environment, local customs, potholes to avoid, new habits to develop, it is necessary to quickly acquire information that will allow you to make your first steps in the correct order and without difficulties.
This article is essentially for all the foreigners who wish to settle in Lisbon.

1) Obtain a taxpayer identification number (numero de Contribuinte)

The sesame that opens all the doors and allows you to start up your life in Lisbon is the number that identifies you to the tax authorities.  Now, since these authorities would like you to pay taxes as soon as possible, this is not a formality which requires countless documents. 
Keep in mind, that  without this number you will be hardly able to advance, because it is requested practically everywhere.

Where and how to obtain it? 

There are two ways: 

- in one of the local offices of fiscal (Finanças) administration of Lisbon,

- in the one of the administrative centers called "Loja do Cidadão".  These centers, created a few years ago, allow people to take care of multiple administrative formalities in one place; something that before required visiting offices spread out over different locations.  www.lojadocidadao.pt

What kind of documents do you need? 

For the citizens of the European Union:
A passport or an identity card
An address of their residence in Portugal (no proof asked)

For non-European Union citizens : 

A passport and someone who will be their fiscal representative (Portuguese or a foreigner resident in  Portugal).
You will be issued a temporary document with the your number.  You will then receive your card mailed to your address within 15 days. 

The cost is 6.40 Euros. 

For more information call toll-free number :  707 206 707 (only in Portuguese)

2) To Open a bank account

First of all, until you get your residence card, you will only be able to open a bank account as a non-resident.
You can apply in any bank of your choice. 

For European Union and non-European Union citizens the required documents are the same. 
To begin with, If you do not have work, or lodging, you will have to furnish the following documents: 

Identity card or passport,
proof the residence in the country of origin (proof of address and fiscal number),
Portuguese taxpayer identification card,
an address in Portugal where you receive your mail. 

Once the documents are provided, you will already be able to have an account, but without a checkbook, a banking card (multibanco) or a Visa card.

You will be given a booklet (caderneta) that will allow you to make deposits and withdrawals in any branch of the bank.
If (or when) you already have work and lodging, you will have to furnish the following documents:

identity card or passport,
proof of residence of the country of origin (proof of address and fiscal number)
Portuguese taxpayer identification card,
work contract,
proof of request of residence card,
proof of address in Portugal (housing contract or water, electricity, gas, telephone bills). 

Once all these documents are submitted, you will be able to have an account
with a checkbook, a banking card (multibanco)  and a Visa card. 

Note:  Attention – citizens of some countries outside the European Union may be required to provide additional documents.

3) Accommodations

When you decide to settle, one of the priorities is, of course, to find a lodging.  Consult the Housing section on our website.  There you will find the necessary information.

4) Get water, gas, electricity, telephone, TVcabo, Internet etc…

There are two possibilities: 

a.The contract remains in the name of the owner: in this case, it is sufficient for you to pay monthly charges to the landlord. 

b.The contract is signed in your name: in this case it is necessary to contact the corresponding entities in order to change the contracts.

Water : You will have to go to the water-company (EPAL - Avenida da Liberdade, 24, 1250-144, Lisboa) because there is no EPAL counter in the loja do Cidadão. The documents to provide are: passport /identity card + taxpayer identification number (nº contribuinte) + leasing agreement, as well as the statement of the water meter.

Electricity : the simplest way is to go to the loja do Cidadão.  The necessary documents are : taxpayer identification number (nº contribuinte) + passport /identity card + housing contract, as well as the statement of the electricity meter.  If you wish to increase the power of your meter, you will have to ask for it. 

Gas : the simplest way is to go to the loja do Cidadão.  The necessary documents are the following : taxpayer identification number (nº contribuinte) + passport /identity card + housing contract as well as the statement of the gas meter.  For security reasons, the gas company requires an inspection with every change of customer.  The inspection cost (vistoria) is 87 Euros.  At the time of the inspection, you will immediately have to pay 37 Euros.  The remaining 50 Euros will be added to the first bill.

Fixed phone line : the simplest way is to go to the loja do Cidadão, but you can always visit one of the Portuguese telecommunications shops.  You will need the following : taxpayer identification number (nº contribuinte) + passport /identity card.
There are several options:
- telephone (only)
- telephone + Internet
- telephone + internet + TV

Several providers share the market:

PT (Portugal Telecom): loja C Cidadão and PT stores. Necessary documents: contribution number (nº contribuinte) + passport /identity card + leasing agreement www.portugaltelecom.pt

TV Cabo: loja do Cidadão, locations: http://www.tvcabo.pt/

Clix: locations: http://acesso.clix.pt/adsl/index.html

Artelecom: through internet or by telephone: http://www.artelecom.pt/

Vodafone : www.vodafone.pt

Optimus  : www.optimus.pt

5) Mobile phone

Since its invention, mobile phone became indispensable for the most Portuguese: in 2006, four millions of cell phones were sold.  Currently, three operators share Portuguese market:  Vodafone, TMN and Optimus.
Here we will mention two existing types of contract:

A monthly contract: every month you will receive a bill according to the calls you made. 

Pay as you go : you can carry out only the amount of communications according to the pre-paid amount.  The price of
the calls is higher but you control better how much you spend. 

Of course, within these contracts, there are numerous variations.  We won’t go here into more details and neither will quote the prices because they constantly change.  The best is to inquire directly at a store or to visit websites of providers:  www.vodafone.pt, www.optimus.pt, www.tmn.pt.

6) Obtain your resident card

This probably won’t be your first preoccupation, even if this is legally obligatory.  The formalities vary according to your nationality, your professional status (unemployed, employed), etc…An article answering these questions will soon be created on our site. 

7) Register with your consulate : 

It is not obligatory but recommended, since it facilitates the administrative process.  The required documents can vary from one consulate to the other.

For example, and for the French citizens, the steps are following: 

A consular card can be applied for directly at the consulate, in person, during working days from 08H to 12H, by e-mail: consulat.lisbonne@ambafrance-pt.org, by fax (+351) 21 393 92 22 or by mail at the following address:  Calçada Marquês de Abrantes, 123 - 1200-718 Lisboa. 

The documents to furnish are following :

extended copy of the birth certificate ; if born in France: from the city Hall in France ; if born abroad: at the following address:
Ministère des Affaires Etrangères -Service Central de l’Etat Civil -11, Rue de la Maison Blanche - 44941 NANTES cédex 09 – France www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/francais/etatcivil/demande_internet.html
Family Book (if you are married),
national identity card, or passport, or driver's license,
proof of residence in Portugal or registered address,
military documents for men under 25 years of age,

- For the those with double nationality:
Portuguese identity card
certificate of French nationality or declaration of French nationality (delivered by the justice court of the place of residence at the time of the acquisition of the French nationality or decree of naturalization)
 2 identity photographs of (3,5 x 4.5 on white background)

8) Enroll your children in high school / college.

Portugal has big tradition of foreign schools. They provide good quality of education at the cost equivalent to fine private Portuguese schools. There, children of foreigners can, most of the time, study in their native language. See our section Schools

Useful links

NAU Relocation can help you in to make all the necessary arrangements upon your arrival in  Portugal.

Loja do cidadão:  The place where it is possible to accomplish bulk of the administrative formalities in Portugal.

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