Working freelance in Portugal
Thread poster: Isabel Hohneck

Isabel Hohneck
Local time: 03:20
+ ...
Apr 22, 2011


I am looking for information about working freelance in Portugal.

What - if any - registrations are required?
What about social security?
Health insurance?

Is there any specific requirement to fulfill, if one wants to work freelance in Portugal?
Anything that's totally different from other countries???

Many thanks for all your replies!

Isabel icon_smile.gif


Herminia Castro
Local time: 02:20
English to Portuguese
Some basic information Apr 23, 2011

Hello Isabelicon_smile.gif

Assuming that you will be living and working in Portugal, you'll need to:
- Register as an Independent Worker ("Trabalhador Independente") in the category of Translators ("Tradutores") at the Tax Department ("Direcção Geral dos Impostos" - though I don't think they have an English version online, you will probably need to get the information in person). Other than that, there isn't a registration in a translation-specific entity, if that's what you meant;
- Register for Social Security ( and pay a monthly fee, although you will be exempt in the first year;
- As for health insurance, Social Security will give you some coverage under the new rules that are being implemented, but I'd say a private health insurance is also advisable;
- Taxes: VAT is currently 21.5% for services provided to Portuguese companies and IRS will depend on your global income per year. I can't remember for sure, but I guess there is at least a partial exemption during the first year as well, you'll need to check that.

You can find more information about being a citizen of a EU Member-State and living in Portugal here:

As for anything specific to Portugal, I would say a whole lot of patience when dealing with the bureaucracy...icon_wink.gif

Hope this helps!



Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:20
German to English
+ ...
Adding to what Herminia has said Apr 23, 2011

Hello Isabel,

Before you register as an "independent worker", you will have to register at the Finanças (tax department) to get an NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal), or "Contribuinte", for which, of course you will need your passport, an address, a telephone/mobile number, and (not compulsory, but preferable) an e-mail address.

It is advisable to register at the Finanças nearest to where you live: initially, you will be making a lot of trips there!.

The exemption (isenção) from paying VAT/IVA for the first year of operations applies; thereafter you may continue to be exempt if you earn less than €10,000 per annum.

You will also have to get a Social Security registration number (even though you do not have to pay social security contributions initially). Once you have that, then you go back to Finanças, and get a declaration from Finanças saying you qualify for social security contribution exemption. Then you take that piece of paper back to Social Security.

It is wise, as Herminia said, to check what EU rules apply specifically to you in all of the above respects. You may or may not have to get "residência"/residence.

If you do not yet know any Portuguese, start learning!

In the meantime find someone who speaks your mother tongue and Portuguese (a friend - someone who won't charge you!) and ask them to come with you the first couple of times.

Once you have gone through all of this you will find that dealing with all tax (and receipting) matters becomes a pleasure - online. (To be able to do this online you have to apply for a password, through Finanças, which you receive by post, before you start.

In terms of translation accreditations, etc. I suggest you maintain the one(s) you currently have.

One more thing: If you are coming to the Algarve, remember that it is impossible to work between 14h00 and 16h00 (at least) in the summer, because of the heat!

Herminia CCCC wrote:

As for anything specific to Portugal, I would say a whole lot of patience when dealing with the bureaucracy...icon_wink.gif


It is amazing how patience, and a smile from you, makes all the officials at all these places so helpful!

Good luck!


Isabel Hohneck
Local time: 03:20
+ ...
Thank you! Apr 28, 2011

Dear Allison & Herminia!

Many thanks for all the information...just what I'd been looking for. I can read and understand quite a lot of PT, so I can find my way through things, once I have the right starting point. However, running Google searches in PT for information on PT websites was quite inefficient...;-)

Again, thank you very much!




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