Article Written By Johann Doubell


Step 1. Getting your Portuguese Income Tax (NIF) Number

The very first thing you should do, and it can be done from your home country is to register with the Portuguese Financial Department to apply for and receive a NIF Number (Portuguese Income Tax Number). This does not make you liable to pay Income Tax in Portugal (unless you earn income in Portugal), it is just part of Portuguese bureaucracy and it does not matter where you come from, you need a NIF number to get started. With a NIF number you can do the following;

Step 2. Open a Bank Account

There are numerous banks in Portugal, we suggest using Santander Bank, Millenium BCP Bank or BPI Bank. We recommend using a bank that has a branch or office in your country of origin as we can help you get the NIF number and open your bank accounts on your behalf here in Portugal. Once the application to open a bank account at one of the Portuguese Banks, you will have to go to your nearest branch in your country of origin to sign the final documentation, get your bank account number and collect your new bank cards. If there is not a branch of one of these Banks in your country, you will have to sign the final application documents to obtain the bank account at a branch in Portugal

We suggest starting a monthly transfer schedule into your Portuguese Bank account as soon as possible for the following reasons;

  1. Creating a Financial Track Record in Portugal.
  2. Keeping some of your savings in one of the most stable currencies on earth, the EURO.
  3. Rapid depreciation of local currencies or high increases in inflation is not uncommon in developing Countries.
  4. “To Big To Fail” the European Banks are incredible large financial institutions and are highly unlikely to fail, even when they fail the are protected by the European Union Fund who will bail them out even if it was to happen. Depending on your country of origin and the new Global financial crisis, some Banks will go bankrupt and if your saving are in their care, it is likely to be lost.
  5. With financial records in your country of origin supported by financial records in Portugal it increases your chances of securing a home loan/mortgage with a lower minimum deposit and a longer period to repay the loan, at a lower interest rate. We will discuss this in detail at a later stage. 

These are the Banks we recommend as they have support and an English online banking APP, they are also some of the largest and financially stable Banks in Europe with excellent rates on mortgages/home loans.

These are numbered in order of preference

1. Santander Bank

2. Millennium Bank

3. BPI Bank

Advantages and disadvantages of each bank

1. Santander Bank;

• One of the largest financial institutions in Europe

•Please make sure they have a branch in your current country of origin before you chose a bank.

• Exceptional mortgages on home loans for example from 10% deposit and interest rate of 1.2 % per annum if you choose a variable interest rate

• Note to be eligible for the Golden Visa Scheme in Portugal, the minimum deposit into a Portuguese bank account is EUR 280,000. There may not be a loan on that amount, but if you buy for example a property for EUR 1 million, the EUR 280,000 can be a deposit and one can finance the rest over up to 45 years depending on your age and income.

• The % and amounts plus term of loan varies from person to person and the above is only a guideline

 2. Millennium Bank;

• •Please make sure they have a branch in your current country of origin before you chose a bank.

• They require a minimum of 25% deposit of their valuation of the property that you purchase and will grant a mortgage equal to the balance of their valuation of the property. The interest rate varies between 1.5% and 2% depending on the financial situation of the individual or company applying for the mortgage.

 3. BPI Bank

• Same benefits as Santander

• •Please make sure they have a branch in your current country of origin before you chose a bank.

Of the three choices, we recommend Santander is the best bank, their monthly fees are little heard than any other bank but if one is going to need financing you save a lot more money on their interest rate and their capital deposit of only 10%.

See also  Who, What, Where, When ? The Golden Visa Guide

We propose to do our own research in all the banks and then choose one ourselves according to your purposes and goals, each person is different in that respect.

Remember to do your own homework as to which bank has a branch in your country of origin if you would like us to open the bank accounts on your behalf, if not you would have to be physically present at the Bank in Portugal to sign the final documentation to open the account.

Step 3. Start Transferring Funds to Portugal and creating your financial track record

This highly depends on your needs and financial ability. There would be two options that we recommend you follow. Remember to always follow the rules of the Reserve Bank of your country of origin while transferring money to your bank accounts in Portugal.

Option 1

Normally the reserve Bank of a country has financial limitations when transferring money to a foreign country and may require tax clearance certificates if such transfer exceeds a certain amount per annum, their rules and regulations needs to be verified first. If the Reserve Bank allows you to transfer a lump sum of the minimum investment required for the Golden Visa and you have the lump sum available this would speed up the application process by at least a year.

Benefits of Option 1

  1. You can immediately start the application process once a property has been purchased.
  2. You can still purchase a property in Lisbon or Porto Districts until the end of 2020
  3. You will still qualify to apply for a mortgage if the investment requires additional funding.
  4. Borrowing money in Portugal is relatively easy and affordable with excellent interest rates and terms available.
  5. You can identify the best time to exchange your local currency into Euro

Option 2

If the limitations of the Reserve Bank in your country of origin does not allow for you to transfer the lump sum required to qualify for a Golden Visa, we would recommend starting a monthly transfer schedule of a set amount into your Portuguese bank accounts.

Benefits of Option 2

  1. You create a financial track record in Portugal, meaning the Banks would give you better terms when you apply for a home loan.
  2. This could reduce the minimum deposit required on the final investment amount needed.
  3. This could also possibly reduce the mortgage interest rate from 2% to approximately 1.5%
  4. Transferring in monthly payments reduces your exposure to currency fluctuations but please note that due to volatility in the Global markets it could also work against you.
  5. If you do not have the funds to pay for a Golden Visa, but still want to move funds from your country of origin and invest those funds in a fixed property in Portugal at a later stage, this option will be advisable.  

How we can assist you with the above ?

We can assist you in obtaining your NIF number without you having to be physically present in Portugal, you would have to appoint our company to be your “Fiscal Representative” in Portugal, meaning we temporarily represent you in respect of submitting your Tax returns in Portugal. Thereafter you can choose to appoint any accountant of your choice if you wish to do so.

This will allow you to receive a NIF number without proof of address here in Portugal which is normally required, we will use proof of address in your country of origin to get you a temporary NIF number.

The NIF number will always be the same, it will not change once you have a proof of address here in Portugal. With proof of address in Portugal we will request for the temporary NIF number to be registered in the Financial system as a “permanent” status NIF number. It is quick and easy to do and this means you do not need to change/ update all the paperwork where you used the Temporary NIF number.

Our fees for the above will be EUR 150.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Euros) per person, if you wish to create a NIF number and a Bank account for yourself and your spouse we give a 50% discount for each additional family member.

We highly recommend creating a NIF number and opening accounts for each member of your family that you wish to bring with you to Portugal as this will enable every family member to transfer the maximum amount per year as per guidelines of the Reserve Bank in your country of origin into your Portuguese bank accounts.

It will also increase your ability to apply for a mortgage loan from the banks at more favourable terms if you need to apply for a mortgage.

Herewith attached is a schedule to explain what purchase options that would be possible when purchasing a property based on your monthly transfers into your Portuguese Bank account.

anyexpat's portugal expat services for expatriates who living abroad

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Tom Martin

    August 23, 2020

    Informative! Thanks for this.

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