What is Portugal’s non-habitual resident tax regime?

Table of Contents

The non-habitual tax regime in Portugal aims to attract investors and professionals of high cultural and economic worth, in order to increase the country’s international competitiveness. The regime was first implemented in 2009 and can allow substantial tax savings for those who qualify. The scheme has been highly successful and as a result, there are now over 10,000 non-habitual tax regime residents in Portugal.


What are the advantages of the non-habitual resident tax regime in Portugal?

There are many advantages to being a non-habitual tax resident in Portugal:

  • Benefit from a special personal income tax treatment over a 10-year period
  • Possibility of enjoying a tax exemption on almost all foreign source income
  • 20% flat rate for certain Portuguese source incomes (from specific professions as well as income from self-employment), as opposed to normal Portuguese income tax rates of up to 48%
  • No minimum stay requirement
  • Become part of a white-listed tax environment within the EU
  • A tax exemption for gifts or inheritance to direct family members
  • No wealth tax
  • Free remittance of funds to Portugal

Portugal’s non-habitual tax resident and double taxation agreements

An important feature of Portugal’s non-habitual resident tax regime lies in its relationship with Double-Taxation Agreements (DTAs).  DTAs allow for most categories of income to be taxed in the country of source of income. Most countries, however, choose not to tax income earned by non-residents as they want to be seen as jurisdictions open for foreign investment.

In turn, under the NHR tax regime, Portugal will not tax most foreign source income earned by NHR individuals because the income may be taxed abroad.  This allows for NHR residents to receive foreign income completely free of tax.

Portugal currently has signed Double-Taxation Agreements with 79 countries and the OECD model tax convention may be used in the absence of a DTA.

See below for the list of countries with DTAs with Portugal.


Who can apply for the non-habitual resident tax regime in Portugal?


In order to qualify for the NHR regime, applicants must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Have the right to reside in Portugal either through being an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, or through schemes such as the Golden Visa program


  • Not have been a Portuguese tax resident in the five years prior to taking up residence in Portugal

To maintain a residency status in Portugal, the individual must

  • Have a place of abode in Portugal on the 31st of December of that year.  This home must be available in a way that may lead to the supposition of an intention to keep and occupy it as a habitual home.

NHR and the Golden Visa

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who wish to apply for the NHR regime in Portugal may want to take advantage of Portugal’s Golden Visa program.

Investors who first acquire residency through the Golden Visa program can then become eligible for the NHR regime in Portugal.

Find out more about the Golden Visa program here.

Global Citizen Solutions can help you take the next step towards investing in Portugal. As specialists in investment and residency programs, we can provide you with personalized advice which will help you make the best possible decision.

The initial consultation is free and we guarantee complete and total privacy.

Tax residency requirements for the Portuguese non-habitual resident regime

In order to establish tax residency in Portugal, applicants for the NHR scheme must hold a dwelling in Portugal at the 31st of December of that year with the intent to hold habitual residence.

Do I have to buy or can I rent property to prove residency in Portugal?

The NHR regime does not require its beneficiaries to purchase property in Portugal.

To comply with the requirements of the regime, applicants must have a domicile in Portugal available to them. This must be a place that demonstrates the intention to hold and occupy as a habitual place of residence.

It can, therefore, be beneficial for NHR tax residents to buy property in Portugal however a rental contract for 12 months is also sufficient proof of residence.

What documentation is required to prove residency?

If you decide to rent a property, you will need to provide proof of a lease or loan agreement. If you have bought a property, you can provide a purchase deed instead.

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Tax under the non-habitual resident regime in Portugal


Which professions are considered to be high value under the NHR tax regime?

Professions of high cultural and economic worth are given generous tax exemptions under the NHR regime, as they are considered to be of added value to Portugal.

The following professions are considered of high added value:


Architects Engineers Geologists
Theater, ballet, cinema, radio, television artists Singers Sculptors
Musicians Painters Auditors
Tax consultants Dentists Medical Analysts
Clinical surgeons Ship’s doctors General Practitioners
Dentists Medical physiatrists Doctors
University lecturers Psychologists Archaeologists
Biologists and life science experts Computer programmers Software consultant
Computer consultants and related services News agencies Other information and service activities
Scientific research and development Research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering Research and development in biotechnology
Designers Investors Managers
Directors Higher management

Tax treatment of foreign source income under the NHR regime

Beneficiaries of the NHR regime in Portugal with a foreign income are largely exempt from taxation in Portugal due to DTAs.

If income is sourced in a country which has a double taxation treaty with Portugal, this means the income will not be taxed in Portugal.

Employment income

  • Foreign source income is tax exempt under the NHR regime or taxed at a flat rate of 20% if it falls under the list of eligible professions.

Self-employment income

  • Taxed at normal progressive rates unless it comes under the eligible profession categorization
  • This income is also subject to social security contributions unless the individual in question already pays into another social security system
  • Optionally taxed at a flat rate of 20%though the taxpayer can choose to pay usual progressive rates if they are less
  • Tax-exempt if it is from an eligible profession and comes from a country with a DTA, or in the absence of a treaty under the OECD model tax convention (provided the country is not a tax haven)

Royalties and income from financial assets

  • Tax-exempt if the income comes from a country with a DTA
  • Tax-exempt if the income from a country without a DTA but which isn’t a blacklisted tax haven
  • Otherwise taxed at 28% or 35% if the country is a blacklisted tax haven

Real estate income and capital gains

  • Tax-exempt if from a country with a DTA
  • Tax-exempt if from a country without a DTA but which isn’t a blacklisted tax haven

Capital gains from the disposal of securities (shares, bonds, etc.)

  • Subject to an optional rate of 28%, 35% if from a blacklisted tax haven

Pension income

  • Tax-exempt if from a country with a DTA

Tax treatment of Portuguese source income under the NHR regime

Employment income

  • Usual progressive tax rates apply if employment does not fall under the list of eligible professions
  • If employment falls under eligible NHR professions, an optional tax rate of 20% is applicable, although usual progressive tax rates can also be applied if this comes to less

Self-employment income

  • Usual progressive tax rates apply if employment does not fall under the list of eligible professions
  • If employment falls under eligible NHR professions, an optional tax rate of 20% is applicable, although usual progressive tax rates can also be applied if this comes to less

Real estate income and capital gains

  • Rental income is taxed at an optional rate of 28% or otherwise at normal progressive rates
  • Net capital gains are taxed at 50%, at the normal progressive rates

Pension income

  • Taxed at usual rates

Portuguese tax table for 2019

0 – 7,091 14.5 7,091 1,028 1,028
7,092 – 10,700 23 3,608 830 1,858
10,702 – 20,261 28.5 9,561 2,725 4,583
20,262 – 25,000 35 4,738 1,658 6,241
25,001 – 36,856 37 11,655 4,386 10,627
36,857 – 80,640 45 43,783 19,702 30,329
Over 80,640 48



Timeline and important dates for NHR application

In order to register for the NHR regime in Portugal, applicants must be registered as a Portuguese resident and tax resident.

NHR regime applicants must have proof of a habitual abode by December 31. The NHR application then has to be made before March 31.

It usually takes about two weeks for an application for the NHR regime to be accepted or declined.

NHR status is granted for a period of 10 years, retroactively effective from the date on which the applicant became resident.

Step-by-step application guide: non-habitual resident tax regime in Portugal

Step 1 – Proof of residency

The first step towards applying for the non-habitual resident regime in Portugal is securing residency status in the country. To do so, you must have the legal right to reside in Portugal.

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

EU/EEA/Swiss are allowed to register for residency without a visa. All that is needed to register citizens can register for residency at their local town hall (Sítio da Câmara). Be sure to take with you:

  • Passport
  • EHIC card
  • You will need to give a current address, but will not require proof of residency

At the town hall, you will need to find the correct ticket to register as a “Cidadão Europeu”. The process is fairly straightforward, and the attendant should fill out the form for you. You will then have to pay a fee of around €16.

Non-EU citizens

Non-EU citizens who wish to apply for the NHR regime must first obtain a residence permit to be allowed to settle in Portugal. This can be granted through a number of different methods, but the most common is through the Golden Visa or through Passive Income.

Each process must be done either through “Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras” (SEF) or in a Portuguese embassy in your country of origin.

Take a look at our Golden Visa guide for more information.

Step 2 – Find a specialist accountant for professional advice

The safest way to apply for NHR status in Portugal is with the help of a specialist. This way you can ensure that you have the best understanding of Portuguese tax law and find the best solution for your needs. However, should you wish to apply on your own, you can follow the steps below.

Step 3 – Obtain a Portuguese tax number (NIF)

Everyone who intends to reside or do business in Portugal must have a NIF (Numero de Identificação Fiscal). This is a 9-digit number that serves as an identification for tax purposes.

There are a number of different ways to acquire a NIF, though if you are already in Portugal, you can go to your local government finance office (finanças).  To get a NIF at a finanças in Portugal you will need proof of residence (such as a utility bill or rental contract), and your residency certificate or visa, as well as your passport.

Step 4 – Register as a tax resident in Portugal

After you have your NIF, you must register as a tax resident in Portugal. This can also be done at finanças.

Step 5 – Apply for your NHR Status

If you choose to apply for the NHR on your own, the easiest way is online through the government’s financial portal. To use the online service, you must first register to the website.

To do this you will need your NIF, your fiscal address, email address, and phone number. These should be all of the same details which you initially used to register for your NIF. You will also be asked to provide a secret question and answer.

Once you have registered, a password will be sent to you by post. It should take at most two weeks to arrive.

When your password arrives, you can log into the finanças portal and register your application for the NHR regime. You can do this by accessing Aceda aos Serviços Tributários, clicking on Entregar Pedido and then finally Inscrição Residente Não Habitual.


To complete your application you will be required to submit the following documents:

  • A declaration stating that you have not been a tax resident in Portugal for the previous 5 years
  • Tax returns for the past 5 years
  • Proof of purchase of property in Portugal or a rental contract

Request for further evidence

One of the main reasons for which NHR applications are rejected is that not enough supporting evidence has been provided. It may be required for you to verify that you have not been a tax resident in Portugal within the past 5 years. This means submitting further evidence to prove that you have been a tax resident in another country.


NHR regime for UK residents

With uncertainty over the direction of Brexit, it is difficult to know how the NHR regime in Portugal might change for British citizens. Portugal has a double tax agreement with the UK, which means that taxation for British citizens will remain the same under the NHR regime. Issues may arise in regards to residency, however, those who have already secured a residency in Portugal are likely to be protected. The Portuguese government has indicated that British citizens registered as living in Portugal will retain all of their current rights even after Brexit.


British citizens who are considering applying for the NHR regime in Portugal might wish to consider doing so before Brexit comes into effect.


Frequently asked questions about the non-habitual resident tax regime

What if my income is paid in another country?

If your income is paid in a country which has a double taxation agreement with Portugal, you will be exempt from paying any tax in Portugal.

What if my income is earned in Portugal?

Depending on your profession or source of income, you could still be eligible for significant tax breaks.

Can applications for non-habitual residency in Portugal be tracked?

If you are registered online at the Portal das Finanças, you can track the progress of your application.

How do you know if registration as a Portuguese non-habitual resident has been accepted?

You can consult the status of your application through the finanças portal, through Aceda aos Serviços Tributários, clicking on Consultar Pedido and then Inscrição Residente Não Habitual.

How long does it take to apply for the NHR tax regime in Portugal?

You should know with a couple of weeks whether your application has been accepted or declined.

Do I have to be resident outside of Portugal to be a non-habitual tax resident?

No, but you need to maintain a permanent residence in the country, either through purchasing property or by renting a home.

Do I have to make a statement of assets to apply for the NHR regime?

No, you will only have to state your income on your tax returns.

How long has the NHR regime in Portugal been available?

The scheme has been in place since 2009 and is growing increasingly more popular every year.

Will the NHR regime in Portugal change in the foreseeable future?

Many consider the NHR regime in Portugal to be a valuable way to draw professionals and investors to Portugal, and as a result, it is unlikely that the scheme will change in the near future.

Is it possible to backdate my registration as a non-habitual tax resident?

Once your application is successful, your status as a non-habitual tax resident will automatically be backdated to when you first registered as a tax resident in Portugal.

When is the best time to apply for the Portuguese NHR tax regime?

You must apply for the NHR regime before March 31 of the tax year during which you became a tax resident in Portugal.

How popular is the non-habitual resident regime in Portugal?

There are already at least 10,000 non-habitual residents in Portugal, and the number of applicants is steadily growing each year.

Does Portugal have any kind of wealth tax?

There is no wealth tax in Portugal, but in 2017 the country introduced an extension of the existing property tax, the Imposto Municipal Sobre Imóveis (IMI). This annual tax is paid only on Portuguese properties, regardless of the country of residence of the owner.

The tax is calculated by property value, on properties in excess of €600,000. Married couples and civil partners (unido de factos) have a combined allowance of €1,200,000. The tax rate varies between 0.4%, 0.7% and 1.0%.

What is the Portuguese law in regard to civil partnerships?

In Portugal civil partnerships and marriage are treated with equal weight.

Under Portuguese law, a couple in a civil partnership is treated the same as married partners for tax purposes.

What taxes must be paid when buying property in Portugal?

Taxes on a property purchase in Portugal vary depending on circumstance. There are three main taxes on property:

  • Municipal property tax (IMI)
  • Real estate transfer tax (IMT)
  • Stamp duty (IS)

Is there inheritance tax in Portugal?

Spouses, direct descendants and ascendants are exempt from any type of inheritance tax in Portugal. For everyone else, there is a 10% stamp duty on Portuguese assets.

Is there a gift tax in Portugal?

As with inheritance tax, spouses, direct descendants and ascendants are exempt from gift tax in Portugal. There is a 10% stamp duty on Portuguese assets for all others, and an additional rate of 0.8% on real estate.

Is foreign source rental income, investment income and capital gains taxed in Portugal?

Rental income, investment income, and capital gains are not taxed in Portugal if they come from a foreign source.

How might the renegotiation of double tax treaties between my country of residence and my country of income affect the NHR regime in Portugal?

It is unlikely that any existing double tax treaties between Portugal and other countries will be summarily terminated. There have however been cases in which agreements have been amended, as is the case with Finland and Sweden. No other countries have signaled intentions to change double tax treaties with Portugal, and it is unlikely that amendments will substantially affect the NHR regime.

Is there anything else I should consider?

There are many complexities to the interactions between Portuguese and home tax law. Solutions can vary significantly from one case to another, and there is ultimately to substitute for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.


Which countries have double taxation treaties with Portugal?

The following countries have double taxation treaties with Portugal:

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🇧🇭 Bahrain 🇧🇧 Barbados 🇧🇪 Belgium
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🇫🇮 Finland 🇫🇷 France 🇩🇪 Germany
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DISCLAIMER: This guide on Portugal’s non-habitual resident tax regime is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Whilst we take care to ensure that all our information is correct and up-to-date, it is important to always rely on professional advice or the relevant legislation when considering your particular circumstances.

Global Citizen Solutions provides specialist advice for investment and residency in Portugal.

Get in touch to receive personalized advice on your options.


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