How to Start a Business in Portugal – Part 3/3

Foreign companies registered in Portugal

Foreign companies wanting to open up a branch or subsidiary of their company in Portugal need to register the branch office name with the IRN and establish and register the branch with the Commercial Registy Office. The following documents will be needed:

  • parent company’s incorporation documents
  • confirmation from the board of directors of the parent company confirming the opening of the branch
  • a power of attorney


Businesses within the EU who have been operating in at least 2 EU countries for at least 2 years can create a new business in other European Country which makes it easier to expand into other EU countries. More information available here.

Business visas and immigration requirements in Portugal

You need to have a Portuguese residence permit (or a Certificate of Registration if an EU/EFTA citizen who has been a Portuguese resident for less than 5 years) to start a business in Portugal. See this guide to Portuguese visas and residence permits for more information.

Non-EU/EFTA nationals wanting to come to Portugal to start a business or work as a freelancer will need to obtain a Portuguese work visa and residence permit. See this guide to Portuguese work visas for more information.

Non-EU/EFTA nationals interested in investing money into Portugal might qualify for the Golden Visa programme which is designed to attract foreign investment. See this guide to the Portuguese Golden Visa for more information.

Taxes and accounting for starting a business in Portugal

Business and self-employed income is classed as category B income under Portugal’s income tax system. It can be taxed according to accounts or under a ‘simplified regime’. Portugal has a progressive rate of income tax and a VAT tax rate of 23% on goods other than food, drink and basic necessities.

The Portuguese tax year runs from 1 January to 31 December and all residents self-employed in Portugal need to submit tax returns annually. See our guides to Taxes in Portugal for more information.


Employing foreign staff in Portugal

If you have a business in Portugal with employees, you can employ staff who are EU/EFTA citizens or those from outside the EU/EFTA who have a valid visa allowing them to work. See our guide to Portuguese work visas for more information.

If you are starting a business in Portugal and planning to employ staff, be sure to account for the cost. Employers in Portugal have to pay 14 months of salary a year, social security contributions, 14 paid public holidays and 5 weeks paid annual leave.

Company lawyers for startups, Portugal

Before starting a business in Portugal, it’s advisable to speak to an English-speaking lawyer knowledgeable in Portuguese business laws. Obtaining legal advice will help you identify any tax breaks available and will help you navigate your way through the process of opening your business in Portugal.

Details of English-speaking business lawyers in Portugal can be found here.

Government agencies and business support in Portugal

First Part Here
Second Part Here!


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