How to set up a Company in Portugal


set up a Company in Portugal

Portugal is a top pick for entrepreneurs because of its key location, attractive tax policies, and steady economic growth. It offers several business structures, including sole proprietorships, limited liability companies, and sole shareholder limited liability companies. The “Código das Sociedades Comerciais” (CSC) ensures a regulated business milieu.

When starting a business in Portugal, you’ll need to get a tax number (NIF), sign up for business and social security, and submit a business plan if applying for a visa. This process is known for its ease, much like in Italy. For expert legal help with starting a business in Portugal, “Giambrone Law” provides excellent services.

Key Takeaways

  • Portugal offers a strategic location and favourable tax policies for businesses.
  • Portuguese company formation is supported by a regulated framework under the “Código das Sociedades Comerciais” (CSC).
  • Entrepreneurs must obtain a NIF, register for business and social security, and prepare a business plan for visa applications.
  • Various business types can be established, including individual, limited liability, and individual limited liability companies.
  • Specialist legal advice from firms like “Giambrone Law” can simplify the setup process.

Why Choose Portugal for Starting a Business?

Portugal is quickly becoming a top choice for entrepreneurs. It offers many business opportunities across various sectors. These include wholesale, retail, agriculture, hospitality, construction, textiles, and tourism. The country’s economy is strong, making it an excellent place for investment.

Starting a business here is easy, whether you’re from the EU or not. EU citizens find the registration process straightforward. Non-EU entrepreneurs can use e-residence to integrate smoothly. Also, there’s plenty of legal advice and government support available. This makes Portugal attractive to investors from all around the world.

Factors Description
Tax Advantages Portugal offers competitive tax regimes that attract a wide range of businesses.
Simplicity of Formation Both EU and non-EU citizens find the company setup process straightforward and supportive.
Key Sectors With strong sectors like retail, agriculture, textiles, and tourism, the business opportunities in Portugal are diverse and lucrative.
Government Incentives Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) receive various forms of aid and support, boosting the entrepreneurial climate in Portugal.
Strategic Location Portugal’s location makes it a gateway for trading within EU markets and beyond, enhancing its investment appeal.

Understanding Business Types in Portugal

Portugal has different business structures for various needs. There are simple individual companies to more complex limited liability companies. Knowing each type is key for success.

Individual Company

If you’re thinking of starting a business alone in Portugal, the individual company model is worth considering. It lets you begin operations immediately without needing a starting capital. But remember, this mixes your personal and business assets, putting your own assets at risk if the business fails.

Limited Liability Company

The Limited Liability Company, or LDA, is another option. You’ll need at least €5,000 to start. This keeps your personal finances separate from business ones. It’s a way to protect your personal belongings if your business runs into debt.

Individual Limited Liability Company

Want the perks of being a sole trader but with asset protection in Portugal? Consider the individual limited liability company. This option requires only €1 to start. It also needs a separate business account and hiring an accountant. It’s a good mix of ease and financial safety.

Business Type Minimum Capital Asset Liability Additional Requirements
Individual Company None Unlimited Liability Overlap of personal and business assets
LDA Company €5,000 Limited Liability Initial capital deposit
Individual Limited Liability Company €1 Limited Liability Separate business account, accountant required

Legal Structures for Companies in Portugal

Starting a business in Portugal means choosing the right company structure. Entrepreneurs have two main options: Joint-Stock Companies (SA) and Limited Liability Companies (LDA). Each offers distinct features and benefits.

Joint-Stock Companies (SA)

Sociedades Anónimas (SA) suit complex businesses. They need €50,000 and at least five partners. Each partner gets corporate stock. This choice is best for big operations and projects needing a lot of money.

Limited Liability Companies (LDA)

Small businesses or startups can pick Limited Liability Companies (LDA). You need two partners to start, with risks tied to their shares. With just €5,000 needed, it’s easier to start an LDA. This option is great for those wanting a simple start and less personal risk.

Aspect Joint-Stock Companies (SA) Limited Liability Companies (LDA)
Minimum Capital €50,000 €5,000
Number of Partners Minimum 5 Minimum 2
Liability Limited to capital Limited to share capital
Complexity High Moderate

Requirements for Establishing a Company

Starting a company in Portugal requires meeting specific criteria, particularly for those not from the EU. The country provides several visa options for different business plans and investments.

Visa for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Non-EU citizens looking to open a business in Portugal need a D2 visa. This visa requires a detailed business plan. It must show the economic impact and how the business will sustain itself. The application looks at how viable the business is and its potential benefits to Portugal’s economy.

EU nationals, however, find it easier to start a business in Portugal. They benefit from simpler registration and tax processes. This makes Portugal an attractive option for them to move their businesses.

The Start-Up Visa

The Portugal Start-Up Visa targets emerging entrepreneurs. It’s for those with innovative, scalable business ideas. Successful applicants get help from start-up incubators to develop their businesses in the marketplace.

For larger investments, the Golden Visa is another option, starting at €250,000. It eases the way to set up a business and eventually gain residency in Portugal.

Entrepreneurs can choose the D2 visa, the Start-Up Visa, or the Golden Visa depending on their needs. Each visa caters to varying investment levels and business types, offering many chances for visa applicants.

Essential Steps to Register Your Company

Company registration in Portugal requires following key steps carefully. You’ll start by getting a NIF (Tax Identification Number), choosing a name for your company, and picking the right legal structure.

Obtaining a NIF

Getting a NIF in Portugal is the first crucial step. This number is a must for handling money, paying taxes, and running your business officially. You can get a NIF from the local tax office or through authorised people if you’re abroad. Remember to have your ID, like a passport or citizen card, with you.

Business Registration

With your NIF in hand, you can then pick a unique name for your company and register it. It’s also time to set up your Articles of Association. This document explains what your business does, its structure, and how it works. Next, you’ll need to put the starting capital into a corporate bank account. Getting all important documents ready, including ID proof and details of shareholders, is necessary at this stage.

Registering with Social Security

Signing up for social security is required for all businesses. It ensures your employees get national social security benefits. This step is key to protecting your staff and meeting legal requirements. Making sure your business completes this process quickly is important to avoid any legal issues.

By completing these stages, your company in Portugal will meet all the required regulations. This creates a strong foundation for your business’s future activities.

Cost of Setting up a Company in Portugal

Starting a business in Portugal can be cost-effective. Many opt for the Online Company service on the ePortugal portal. The fees for founding a company range from €220 to €360. This is based on the use of standard or pre-approved documents. Such costs are competitive compared to other European countries.

Adding a trademark to your business registration adds €100 for one goods or services class. Each additional class costs €44 more. This step is crucial for protecting your brand and ideas from the beginning. This investment ensures your business is safe and complies with the law.

Choosing in-person registration varies the cost. Each person’s experience may be different. You can pay these fees with credit cards or through bank websites. This makes it easier for everyone, no matter their preference.

How to Set Up a Company in Portugal

Starting a company in Portugal is now easier than ever. It gives entrepreneurs flexibility and choice. You can choose a digital or face-to-face method, depending on what suits you best.

Online Registration Process

If you prefer an online company formation Portugal, check out the ePortugal portal. Here, you’ll need to prove who you are with a citizen card or digital mobile key. Then, you can send in your documents online. You’ll also need to make a payment, which is easy to do online. This method is fast and simple.

In-person Registration Process

Then there’s the in-person business setup Portugal. This is done through the Empresa na Hora service. It lets entrepreneurs register company Empresa na Hora quickly, usually in less than an hour. You’ll need to pick an accountant and make sure the owner is registered within 30 days. This approach is straightforward and gives instant results, making it feel very rewarding.

Method Steps Involved Time Frame
Online Registration
  • Authenticate identity
  • Submit incorporation documents
  • Process payment
A few days
In-person Registration
  • Visit Empresa na Hora service
  • Appoint an accountant
  • Register beneficial owner
Under an hour

Opening a Company Bank Account

Opening a company bank account in Portugal is vital for handling money and keeping the business running smoothly. To meet banking rules in Portugal, your business must give certain papers. These include the Articles of Association and proof of company registration.

  • Articles of Association
  • Proof of Registration
  • Identification Proof

It’s important to pick the right bank for your business in Portugal. The chosen bank should provide services that meet your business needs. This makes banking easy.

Bank Name Account Features Initial Deposit
Caixa Geral de Depósitos Online banking, multi-currency accounts, dedicated relationship manager €1,000
Millennium BCP Business support services, merchant services, business loans €500
Santander Totta Comprehensive business accounts, foreign exchange services, online banking €500

Following banking regulations in Portugal carefully is needed for a smooth operation. Entrepreneurs should manage these rules well. This helps set up a strong financial base for their businesses in Portugal.

Getting the Necessary Licences and Permits

Starting a business in Portugal means you need the right licenses and permits. This is to follow the country’s laws. What you need depends on your business type. You may need to talk to different official groups. It’s key your business has the right documents to work legally in Portugal.

Economic Activities Licenses

To legally run a business in Portugal, you must get specific permits. The Directorate-General for Economic Activities (DGAE) gives out these licenses. Entrepreneurs go through the Balcão do Empreendedor (BDE) portal. This place brings together many applications to make things easier. This way, your business follows Portuguese laws, runs smoothly, and avoids legal problems.

Online Business Requirements

If you’re setting up a business online, you must follow certain laws. These laws are about consumer rights, data protection, e-commerce, and advertising. Understanding the E-commerce Law is vital. It’s about legal electronic transactions. Protecting your customers’ information according to GDPR is also very important. By following these rules, your online business can serve many people and stay in line with Portuguese laws.

Managing Your Business in Portugal

Running a business in Portugal requires understanding the local market and tax rules. Business leaders should work with qualified accountants. This ensures the company’s financial health and meets legal standards.

Knowing the cultural side of business is also vital. It’s not just about management tactics but also about strong relationships with locals and international partners. Keeping in touch regularly and networking wisely is key.

Overseeing a company in Portugal means constant management. This includes planning, handling finances, and keeping up with market changes. Updating strategies often helps stay in line with demand and rules.

Here are some main points for managing a business well in Portugal:

  • Certified Accountants: Hire accountants skilled in Portuguese tax and law.
  • Stakeholder Relationships: Keep up frequent communication with local and global partners.
  • Strategic Adaptation: Always update your strategies with the changing market.
  • Financial Management: Maintain solid money management and resource use.
  • Cultural Understanding: Know and respect local business customs.

By putting these practices into action, entrepreneurs can smoothly run their businesses in Portugal. This leads to growth and keeps them compliant with laws.

Understanding Portuguese Business Culture

Understanding the local business culture in Portugal is key. Showing respect for cultural norms boosts your interactions and helps create lasting relationships.

Building Relationships

Building trust is vital in Portugal’s business scene. This often means having several meetings before making big decisions. It’s crucial to network and make real connections.

Face-to-face meetings are especially important. They are a big part of Portuguese business etiquette. By taking time to form strong personal connections, you’re more likely to see positive business results.

Business Communication Norms

Effective communication is essential in Portugal. Using formal titles shows respect for hierarchy. Being on time is valued, but there’s usually flexibility with deadlines.

Speaking Portuguese is highly regarded, especially with local partners. It shows respect for their culture. Adapting to these communication styles is key to business success in Portugal.

Hiring Employees in Portugal

Finding the right employees in Portugal is smoother with knowledge of local employment laws. The recruitment process must follow these strict rules to ensure fairness and legality. This includes everything from defining job roles to making official job contracts.

To recruit successfully in Portugal, it’s key to offer competitive wages and benefits. Employers need to pay social security, which helps keep staff happy and meets legal standards. Knowing these employment laws is crucial to avoid legal problems and earn your team’s trust.

Cultural understanding is also vital in engaging employees in Portugal. Companies should adapt to local work cultures to build a positive and efficient team environment. Valuing clear communication, respecting authority, and appreciating face-to-face meetings can boost staff dedication and work output.

Business Insurance in Portugal

Getting business insurance in Portugal is vital to protect your company from possible risks. It’s important to choose the right insurance policies in Portugal. This ensures your business is covered for things like property damage, legal claims, and issues involving employees. Such coverage is tailored to suit the specific needs of your industry.

Companies in Portugal need to have a wide range of insurance coverages. By understanding their unique risks, business owners can get the right protection. This step is critical for safeguarding business assets. It also helps in maintaining business stability and continuity in the long term.

In conclusion, finding the best business insurance is key for a company’s health. The most suitable corporate insurance policies in Portugal are vital for managing risks. They help businesses avoid major issues and keep them running safely and smoothly.

Support and Advice for New Businesses

Starting a business in Portugal is easier with the right help. Business support services in Portugal are here to assist you. They cover everything from getting funding to following legal rules, making sure your business starts strong.

Government Resources

The Portuguese government offers great support through the IAPMEI, especially for SMEs. IAPMEI helps with market research, following the law, and getting financial grants. This makes it easier for new businesses to grow steadily.

Private Consultants

Apart from government aid, private consultants in Portugal offer specialised advice. They help with planning, making operations efficient, and dealing with red tape. Their deep understanding of the market can give your business an edge.

Support Type Services Provided Advantages
Government Resources Market research, legal compliance, financial planning Access to grants, regulatory guidance, comprehensive support
Private Consultants Strategic planning, operational advice, bureaucracy navigation Tailored solutions, deep market insights, competitive advantage


Starting a business in Portugal is full of chances because of its location and economy. We have looked at how to start a company, including getting documents and knowing the law. We also talked about cultural differences and following rules. Knowing these steps makes starting a business clearer and easier.

It’s important to choose the right type of business. This could be a solo company, a partnership, or a bigger company. Each choice has its pros and cons. Also, managing your business well, getting the right licences, and insurances are crucial. These steps are key to follow laws and protect your business.

Using government help and getting advice from experts can help a lot. It gives you insights and support. As Portugal’s economy grows, especially in tourism and tech, new businesses have great chances. To sum up, being well-prepared and making smart choices are important. They help you succeed in Portugal’s exciting market.


Q: How do I start a company in Portugal?

A: To start a business in Portugal, first get a tax number. Then, choose a company name and type. Next, open a bank account for your initial capital. Formalise your business agreements and register the company. You must also declare when you start your business and sign up for social security. The ePortugal portal can help with all these steps online.

Q: Why should I choose Portugal for starting my business?

A: Portugal is great for business because of its good tax systems and location. It’s perfect for trading globally. Economic growth and government support make it appealing. You’ll also find a variety of markets here, like tourism and agriculture.

Q: What types of business structures exist in Portugal?

A: Individual CompanyAn individual company starts fast without needing any initial money. But, your personal and company money is mixed. You are personally liable for debts.Limited Liability CompanyThis needs €5,000 to start. It protects your personal money from your company’s debts.Individual Limited Liability CompanyThis company can be owned by one person. You only need €1 to start but need a business account and an accountant.

Q: What legal structures are available for companies in Portugal?

A: Joint-Stock Companies (SA)Best for bigger businesses with at least five partners. It needs €50,000 to start.Limited Liability Companies (LDA)Starts with two partners. Partner’s risk is limited to their investment. You need at least €5,000.

Q: What are the requirements for establishing a company in Portugal?

A: Visa for Immigrant EntrepreneursNon-EU citizens need a D2 visa with a strong business plan. EU citizens follow a simpler process with just registration and tax papers.The Start-Up VisaThis is for new entrepreneurs. It includes joining an incubator. There’s also a Golden Visa for big investors starting at €250,000.

Q: What are the essential steps to register my company in Portugal?

A: Obtaining a NIFFirst, you need a tax identification number (NIF).Business RegistrationThen, register your company and start your business officially.Registering with Social SecurityLastly, sign up your business for social security.

Q: What is the cost of setting up a company in Portugal?

A: Using the Online Company service costs €220 with pre-approved documents, €360 for custom ones. Adding a trademark costs €100 plus €44 for each extra class.

Q: How can I set up a company in Portugal?

A: Online Registration ProcessUse the ePortugal portal with a digital key. Upload documents and pay fees online.In-person Registration ProcessRegister at Empresa na Hora. It’s quick and requires an accountant and owner registration within 30 days.

Q: Why do I need a company bank account in Portugal?

A: A company bank account is needed for handling money safely. It’s also required for legal and operational purposes.

Q: What licences and permits are required to operate a business in Portugal?

A: Economic Activities LicencesYou need specific licences and permits to operate. Different sectors have different requirements. Check with the Directorate-General for Economic Activities for details.Online Business RequirementsOnline businesses must follow laws about customer rights and online sales. Understand the e-commerce law and others relevant to your business.

Q: How do I effectively manage a business in Portugal?

A: Understand the market and follow tax rules. Use efficient business strategies. Working with accountants and keeping good relationships is key.

Q: What should I know about Portuguese business culture?

A: Building RelationshipsGood relationships are crucial. Decisions often need many meetings.Business Communication NormsTimekeeping is flexible. Formality and face-to-face talks are preferred. Knowing Portuguese helps too.

Q: What are the key considerations for hiring employees in Portugal?

A: Know the employment laws and offer fair contracts. Pay social security on time. Understand the cultural and professional expectations.

Q: Why is business insurance important in Portugal?

A: Insurance protects your business from risks. Pick a plan that fits your industry and size.

Q: Where can I get support and advice for setting up a new business?

A: Government ResourcesAgencies like IAPMEI help with legal compliance and financial planning.Private ConsultantsConsultants provide guidance on dealing with the Portuguese market’s challenges effectively.

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