How to set up a business in Portugal What steps to take and information you will need

Portugal is a good choice to set up a business. There are excellent technological services and there is an experienced well-trained pool of workers to recruit from.

Find out the legal requirements to work in Portugal, and the steps you need to take to set up a business in Portugal. We also answer common queries on setting up your business in Portugal.

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The legal and residency requirements you will need before setting up a business in Portugal.

The steps you need to take to set up a business in Portugal.

Our Portuguese lawyers can assist you with all the stages involved in setting up a business in Portugal.

We answer common queries on setting up a business in Portugal.

What do you need to consider before setting up a business in Portugal?

The legal residency requirements

Before you consider setting up a business in Portugal, you must understand the requirements you must meet to trade in Portugal. Foreign nationals aiming to start a business in Portugal will first require a Portuguese work visa and residence permit. Find out how to apply for a Portuguese permit and work visa here.

Non-EU Members will require a Residence Certificate (Certificado de Registo) if you intend to live in Portugal for longer than three months.

A tax and social security number

All foreign nationals, whether EU or Non-EU, have to have a tax number (numero fiscal de contribuinte) regardless of whether the actual process of setting up the business has actually started.

You will also need a social security number from the Portuguese social security office – it is important that these requirements are obtained as soon as possible to avoid delaying the set-up of your Portuguese business.

A busy shopping street in Portugal

Setting up a business in Portugal

Once you have organised the legal requirements for setting up a business, you can then register your business, with its name and address.

Registering your business

Naming your company

When choosing your business name you have two options:

  • Choose from a list of pre-approved business names.
  • Register a new name with a denomination approval certificate.

If the name of your company is free to use, it can be registered via a Validation Certificate issued by the National Registry of Companies. The Validation Certificate is known as “Certificado de Admissibilidade”. This certificate costs €75.

A foreign business wishing to establish a branch or subsidiary in Portugal will have to register the branch office name with the IRN and also register with the Commercial Registry Office. The parent company’s incorporation documents will be required, as well as confirmation from the board of directors’ authenticating the opening of a branch. A Portuguese commercial lawyer will be required to assist in this process.

Choose your business structure or type

You next need to choose your business structure or type. Legal structures for businesses in Portugal are regulated by the Portuguese Companies Code. You can find out more about the types of business structures in Portugal here.

What is the Entrepreneur Visa?

The Entrepreneur visa, also known as a D2 visa is aimed at EU and non-EU citizens setting up small businesses in Portugal, or opening a branch office in Portugal. It is regarded as one of the most accessible visas for business in Europe, as no minimum investment is required.

The ability to speak Portuguese is also not a requirement for a D2 visa. If you intend to permanently reside in Portugal, you will only have to pass a Portuguese language proficiency test at Level 2 if you apply for citizenship. A D2 visa is often granted within four to five months and you can include your dependents in your application.

How Giambrone & Partners can help

Our well-regarded lawyers are committed to the provision of excellence and can advise and assist on a wide range of issues regarding setting up a business in Portugal. Our lawyers have multi-lingual and multi-jurisdictional capacity, and we can advise you on aspects such as the documentation you need, specific laws you need to be aware of, and how to register your business.

Contact our Portuguese lawyers today.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to open a company in Portugal?

The registration cost to start a business in Portugal is €360, and the additional costs depend on the type of business structure that is selected.

Who needs a visa or work permit to work in Portugal?

Non-EU nationals need to apply for a Portuguese work visa to work in Portugal. They also need to apply for a residence permit, if they plan to work in Portugal for long term. The type of residence permit you need depends on the basis on your employment.

How easy is it to set up a business in Portugal?

Non-EU citizens wishing to set up a business will need to apply for a visa before starting a business in Portugal. It is highly recommended to get legal assistance to speed up this process and avoid any potential problems.

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