When one decides to go live in Portugal, it is sometimes these administrative steps that can turn into a vicious circle where it is difficult to see the end. Obtaining a NISS Portuguese social security number is not easy and is one of those mandatory steps for any expatriate who wants to work in Portugal. Even though the rules have eased in recent years, the fact remains that applying for and obtaining a Portuguese social security number is still a complicated process. Getting a NISS Portuguese social security number for foreigners is not only a headache for people who want to work, but also for companies that want to hire them. What steps must be taken to obtain a Portuguese social security number in Portugal when you are a foreigner ? What is the process for having his Portuguese NISS security number as an expatriate ? Lisbob, the expatriate assistant in Portugal, tells you all about the conditions for obtaining the Portuguese social security number for foreigners.
In order to apply for and obtain a Portuguese Social Security Number (NISS), foreigners must be in legal status in Portugal and present a valid residence permit. European citizens must show their CRUE (Certificate of European Resident). They can also request the number if they have at least six months of tax contributions to the state.
It should not be forgotten that registration for Portuguese social security does not automatically entitle you to social assistance. Indeed, you should not use it as a source of temporary assistance until you find a job in Portugal.
Obtaining the Portuguese NISS requires to be in possession of a permit or temporary or permanent residence permit, worker or student. In fact, people in an irregular situation cannot benefit from the allocation of a Portuguese social security number.
What documents do I need to get NISS ?
To apply for and obtain the Portuguese NISS social security number, you must present, among other more current documents, the residence permit in Portugal and a copy of the employment contract certified by the hiring company. You will have to go to the office of Segurança Social closest to you and apply for a Portuguese social security number. For people who are not yet in employment and who need this social security number to be able to be hired in a Portuguese company, things are getting complicated.
What if you do not have a job yet?
The attribution of a social security number for foreigners does not depend solely on a labor contract from a Portuguese company but is more difficult if it does not exist. Indeed, the basic principle of Portuguese social security implies that citizens contribute to it before being entitled to benefits. This is why companies usually register employees and request a NISS system.
However, citizens with a temporary residence visa or a student visa may also apply for a social security number for foreigners.
It sounds simple, but in practice it's not exactly like that. To apply for a Portuguese social security number as a foreign national, you must submit a work contract certifying the contributions and payments of taxes and other social security contributions in Portugal. However, companies cannot hire as long as employees do not provide the NISS.
As you can see, the procedure goes into a vicious circle: companies cannot hire because the employee does not have a Portuguese social security number and expats cannot get NISS because they do not have a contract working with the company.
How to solve this problem and get his NISS?
In order to work around and solve this problem, the easiest way is for the company to make a promise of a work contract. If the intention is already to hire a foreign citizen, the contracting firm can issue a promise contract. This document will allow the foreign citizen to apply for a residence visa if necessary and, most importantly, a social security number for foreigners.
Foreign nationals who have at least six months of tax contributions registered with Finanças in Portugal may also apply for a NISS. Thus, citizens can open a freelance activity and issue recibo verde until they have accumulated the time necessary to apply for a social security number for foreigners. It should not be forgotten that one must always be in a regular situation in the Portuguese territory, that is to say that there is no exemption from providing a certificate of residence to the social security.
Finally, another solution for having a Portuguese social security number as a foreigner is to apply as a student. Portuguese Social Security undertakes to award the NISS to foreign citizens who submit proof of enrollment in a Portuguese educational institution. It is therefore not possible to apply if this is not really the case.
Good to know
Unpaid internship contracts have different rules and make it very difficult to apply for and obtain a Portuguese social security number as a foreigner. It is therefore preferable to favor fixed-term or indeterminate employment contracts.
Also, it is not enough to have a social security number as a foreigner to be allowed to work in Portugal. Indeed, expatriate citizens must also apply for a residence visa in the country - obtain from the Aliens and Borders Service (SEF) - as well as a tax identification number (NIF) - to obtain from an office Finanças.