How to Register a Company in Portugal
The Legislative and Administrative Simplification Program (“Simplex”) has been created with the purpose of simplifying procedures as well as associated practices of the Public Administration, reducing the bureaucracy towards citizens and corporations.
In terms of the setting-up of companies, the following Simplex procedures shall be pointed out:
• On the Spot Firm: special regime on the instant incorporation of companies;
• Online Set-up: incorporation of companies online.
On The Spot Firm Online Set Up
Costs in case of pre-approved corporate name €360 Costs in case of pre-approved Memorandum of Articles of Association’s template €180
Costs in case of prior request of the corporate name approval certificate €435 Costs in case of customized / tailor-made Memorandum of Articles of Association €380
At the Company store
– Loja da Empresa
(several locations across the country)
Telephone: 707 10 10 99
From abroad: (+351) 289 106 540
Weekdays, from 09:00h to 17:00h
At the website:
(i) ON THE SPOT FIRM
Decree-Law no. 111/2005 of July 8th approves the On the Spot Firm service which allows setting up a business in less than an hour; all the procedures are carried out in one of the desks of the On the Spot Firm available throughout the country, regardless of the location of the company’s headquarters.
This service also offers the possibility to adopt a pre-approved trademark similar to the company’s trade name, during the incorporation process (“On the Spot Trademark”).
The On the Spot Firm procedure is only available for Private Limited Companies, Public Limited Companies and Sole Shareholder Private Limited Companies.
A description of the steps to incorporate an On the Spot Firm is set out below:
1st Step: Choose of the company’s name
The shareholders shall choose from a list of pre-approved names (made available online in the On the Spot Firm website or in the competent departments where On the Spot Firms may be incorporated). This list is a selection of proposed names which already have a Corporation Identification Number of the company, that shall correspond also to its taxpayer number (NIPC) and a Social Security number, to be issued upon incorporation. A reference to the scope of activities of the company shall be added to the pre-approved name.
However, the definitive attribution of the name is only carried-out in the presence of the shareholders at the moment of incorporation.
It is possible to choose a name not included in the aforementioned list of pre-approved names in case it is presented a certificate on the name approval previously obtained with the National Registry of Corporations (this procedure is detailed below in the 1st Step of Traditional set-up procedure).
2nd Step: To choose a pre-approved standard articles of association
The shareholders shall choose the articles of association from the several pre-approved models (made available online in the On the Spot Firm website or in the competent departments where On the Spot Firms may be incorporated).
3rd Step: Attendance at Competent Service
In order to initiate the procedure of the On the Spot Firm, shareholders must personally attend one of the competent services for that purpose. The On the Spot Firm website contains a list of all competent services in Portugal.
Individual shareholders shall possess the citizen card or the following documents:
• Identification Document (identity card, passport, driver’s license or residence authorisation);
• Taxpayer card; and
• Social Security Card (optional).
Note: Individual shareholders may be represented through a power of attorney issued in the presence of a Notary or a Portuguese lawyer and duly authenticated.
Individuals representing corporations shall also possess the following documents:
• Company card or taxpayer card of the company;
• Updated extract of the entry in the Commercial Registry;
• Instrument conferring representation powers for the incorporation of the company (minutes of resolutions or powers of attorney, as applicable).
In case the share capital is fully or partially paid up by means of contributions in kind, the auditor’s report shall be presented at the incorporation of the company. In fact, contributions in kind shall be subject to an evaluation by an independent auditor who shall issue a report on the valuation of the contribution in kind which is valid for 90 days and that shall be made available to the shareholders no later than 15 days before the incorporation of the company.
4th Step: Execution of articles of association and commercial registry
Upon choice of the articles of association the same shall be immediately executed and the commercial registry is performed immediately afterwards. The shareholders shall receive an access code to the on-line commercial registry certificate, the social security number and a certified version of the articles of association.
Additionally, the commercial registry office shall also issue the company card (in electronic form). The company card is the ID card of the company and shall contain the Corporation Identification Number of the company, which shall correspond also to its taxpayer (NIPC), and the company’s social security number (unless in the case of Individual Sole Traders and Limited Liability Sole Trader Establishment). This card also contains the code(s) of activity of the company, its legal nature and its date of incorporation.
5th Step: Share Capital
Shareholders shall proceed with the deposit of the share capital within 5 days after the incorporation. As to Private Limited Liability Companies and Sole Shareholder Private Limited Liability Companies, the shareholders may declare in the incorporation document that the share capital will be deposited in a bank account opened in the name of the new company until the end of the first fiscal year.
In case of contributions in kind regarding assets whose transfer is subject to registration (e.g. transfer of real estate property), the Competent Service shall promote the assessment of any applicable tax (e.g. Property Transfer Tax) and ensure that incorporation only takes place after tax payments have been completed.
6th Step: Filing of commencement of activity statement
The company shall be registered for tax purposes by means of the submission of a commencement of activity statement that may be immediately filed with the service that has incorporated the company in case the same is signed by the Chartered Accountant (Técnico Oficial de Contas). Otherwise, the commencement of activity statement shall be filed with the tax services within 15 days following the company’s incorporation.
The cost of incorporation is of €360. This amount may be paid in cash, by cheque or through ATM. For companies with scopes of activity related to technology and investigation the cost is reduced to €300. The referred amounts include the online publication of the incorporation registry.
(ii) ONLINE SETUP
The special regime on the online set-up of companies has been approved by Decree-law no. 125/2006, of June 29th and allows the setting up of a company through the internet.
Incorporation of Public and Private Limited Liability Companies (with the exception of European Companies and companies whose contributions of capital involve real estate assets) is made in the website Portal da Empresa. The procedure is supervised by the National Registry of Corporations regardless of the location of the registered offices of the company to be incorporated.
The registration is performed immediately (in case the company adopts a version of articles of association pre-approved by the National Registry of Corporations) or within a maximum term of 2 business days (in case the shareholders agree on a different version articles of association which is submitted by the applicant).
Administrative fees are reduced in 40%.
The access to the Online Setup service requires a personal computer with an internet connection and digital certification resources (these latter are available in Portuguese citizen cards).
Firstly, the applicant’s digital certificate shall be authenticated in the Portal da Empresa website. In case the respective digital certificate is being authenticated for the first time, the applicant will have access to the information made available by the digital certificate (name, e-mail address, physical address and taxpayer number) and is allowed to update the contact details.
A description of the steps to an Online Set-up is set out below:
1st Step: Choose of the company’s name
There are two options to choose the name of the company:
(i) Choice and reservation of a name from the list of names available online (list of names proposed by the National Registry of Corporations, which already have a Corporation Identification Number of the company, that shall correspond also to its taxpayer number (NIPC) and a Social Security number, to be issued upon incorporation);
(ii) Choice of name through prior filing for a name approval certificate previously obtained with the National Registry of Corporations (case where the applicant shall insert the corporation identification number in the system). The name approval certificate has a validity of 3 months as of issuing or renewal.
2nd Step: Information on the company
The applicant must select either a pre-approved template of the articles of association or a customized document prepared by the shareholders.
The following information should be filed:
• In case the company’s name is selected from the list of names, reference to the scope of activity that shall join the company’s name (optional);
• Type of company;
• Registered offices;
• Scope of activities;
• Economic Activity Classification (CAE);
• Share capital; and
• IBAN (optional) for possible reimbursement by wire transfer.
Additionally to the above, and in case the applicant has chosen pre-approved articles of association, the following information shall be added:
• how share capital will be paid-up;
• in case of a Public Liability Company, face value of the shares; and
• binding rule.
Whenever applicable, administrative licenses may also be required.
• Information on individual shareholder – name, gender, taxpayer number, marital status (and in case of being married, marital regime and name of husband/spouse), city of birth, nationality, address, telephone contact, e-mail address;
• Information on shareholder who are corporations – corporate name, registered offices and corporation identification number; and
• Amount of quota (Private Limited Companies) or number of shares (Public Limited Companies) to be held.
In case of customized document of Incorporation, it shall be included in the forum the name, Portuguese taxpayer number and e-mail of the shareholder (optional). This identification allows the shareholders to have access to the draft of the document of incorporation made available on-line for discussion purposes.
Management and Audit:
• In case of Public Limited Companies, identification of Effective Auditor, Substitute Auditor and at least one director (full name, address and Portuguese taxpayer number); or
• In case of Private Limited Companies, identification of at least one director (full name, address and Portuguese taxpayer number).
Chartered Accountant (Técnico Oficial de Contas) – three options:
• Appoint an accountant by inserting the respective data (association member number, name, taxpayer number, professional address, telephone contact and e-mail address);
• Select an accountant from the list made available by the Chamber of Certified Accountants; or
• Not to appoint a Chartered accountant file the commencement of activity statement within 15 days.
3rd Step: Undertaking in relation to an Arbitration Centre
After inserting the company’s information, the applicant shall inform whether he/she accepts an undertaking in relation to an arbitration centre. The undertaking is simple, voluntary and has no cost implication: the applicant shall fulfill the form Adesão Plena e Imediata at the time of the Online Set Up. By this undertaking, the company accepts to submit to such centre exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any conflicts that may arise within the competencies of the centre.
Codes of activity related to the sale and purchase of vehicles or provision of services related to vehicles are only allowed to accede to the Automobile Arbitration Centre.
4th Step: Validation of the articles of association
After inserting the information on the company and participants, the applicant may proceed with the validation of the articles of association.
For pre-approved articles, the application only allows the review of the document for the identification and amendment of errors or inaccuracies resulting from the data insertion. This operation is performed in a private forum with limited access to shareholders whose e-mail address has been provided in
When the articles are prepared by the applicant, these shall be uploaded so that the same are available to the shareholders in the private forum.
Afterwards, by receiving a notice from the shareholders, the applicant may proceed with any necessary amendments by acceding to the process in the Company Electronic File. When this process is concluded, the application shall automatically generate a social security number.
5th Step: Signature and submission of documents
After validating the articles of association, the applicant shall proceed with the following steps:
• Print and signature of the following documents:
o Articles of Association;
o Form of Undertaking to the Arbitration Centre (if applicable); and
o Form for signature certification.
• Upload of the aforementioned signed documents as well as of:
o Relevant powers of attorney (if applicable);
o Commercial registry certificate (if applicable);
o Minutes of resolutions (if applicable);
o Articles of association of shareholders (if applicable);
o Statement of acceptance issued by Effective Auditor (if applicable);
o Statement of acceptance issued by Substitute Auditor (if applicable);
o Administrative authorizations (if applicable); and
o Any other relevant document.
The online submission of documents replaces the requirement of sending by courier physical documents. The submitted documents shall be kept until receipt of confirmation of the company’s incorporation.
6th Step: Payment
The costs of the incorporation correspond to the sum of the fixed and variable figures set out below:
• €180 (pre-approved model of articles of association); or
• €380 (articles prepared by applicant and agreed between the participants)
For companies with scopes of activity related to technology and investigation the cost is reduced to €120 or €20, respectively.
In case a trademark is associated to the company, an additional amount of €100 shall also be paid (plus €44 per each additional class of trademark).
7th Step: Non-conformities
In case of errors being detected during the registration process, the applicant receives an e-mail requesting the respective rectification which shall occur within five working days. If not settled within the time limit, the status of incorporation will be “deadline for error resolution expired”. In these cases, registration remains as provisional or is refused.
This error rectification is made through log in at the Business Portal and, once it is complete, the process must be re-submitted for final registration.
If the errors are related with the payment, the applicant will have to go to the National Registry of Corporations to rectify the situation.
8th Step: Next Steps
After submitting the application for incorporation of the Company Online, the information is validated by the services. Then the following steps will occur:
• E-mail notice to the applicant acknowledging the receipt of the request by the competent services;
• E-mail notice to the applicant confirming the incorporation process;
• Documentation sent by regular mail to the company’s headquarters: commercial registry certificate, company’s card and payment receipts;
• Publication of the company’s registration on-line at the Ministry of Justice;
• Notify the tax authorities: the information of the Accountant (if appointed or assigned) is also made available that it may submit the declaration of commencement of activity;
• Submission of the information on the company’s incorporation with the Social Security services;
• Submission of the information with the Office for Legal Policy and Planning site: information related to the registration of companies business (e.g., incorporation, change of headquarters or changes to the corporate bodies), to the National Institute of Statistics, for statistical purposes; and
• After incorporation, the Foundation for National Scientific Computing issues a user ID and password that will allow the management of the Internet domain for the company’s website and corporate e-mail addresses.
Traditional set up
Although the incorporation of a company in Portugal may be carried-out through highly simplified procedures described above, any investor may incorporate a company through the traditional procedure, which is set out below:
1st Step: Name approval certificate
The first step is the filing for the name approval certificate. The filing shall be undertaken by one of the future shareholders of the company (or by its legal representative) and shall identify the name, scope of activity and district and municipality of the company’s registered offices.
The application for the Admissibility Certificate can be completed online through the website Business Portal (Empresa Online website) or the Institute of Registries and Notaries, in person at the National Register of Legal Entities, or in written form (Model 1) or by regular mail.
The name approval certificate has a validity of 3 months as of issuance or renewal.
2nd Step: Share Capital
The contributions in cash to the company’s share capital shall be deposited in a bank account opened on behalf of the company to be incorporated.
In case there are contributions in kind to the share capital, the same shall be subject to an evaluation by an independent auditor. The auditor shall issue a report on the evaluation of the contribution in kind which shall be valid for 90 days and made available to the shareholders no later than 15 days prior to the execution of the incorporation document (see below).
In case of contributions in kind regarding assets whose transfer is subject to registration (e.g. transfer of real estate property), the Commercial Registry Office shall promote the assessment of any applicable tax (e.g. Property Transfer Tax) and ensure that incorporation only takes place after tax payments have been completed
As regards Public Limited Liability Companies, the payment of 70% of contributions in cash may be postponed for a 5 years’ period. The issuance premium (if existent) may not be postponed.
As regards Private Limited Liability Companies, the payment of the full amount of contributions in cash may be postponed for a 5 years’ period. Without prejudice of the possibility of postponement of the payment of contributions the shareholders may state in the incorporation document that the payment of the contributions to the company’s share capital will be undertaken up until the end of the first financial year.
3rd Step: Incorporation document
The incorporation of the company shall be formalized by means of the execution, by the shareholders, of a written document which shall contain as an attachment the articles of association of the company.
Under Decree-law no. 76-A/2006, of March 29th, the shareholders may incorporate the company through the execution of a private document even if there are contributions in kind involving the transfer of a real estate property (the public deed is no longer required under Decree-Law no. 116/2008, of July 4th).
The signatures of the shareholders shall be certified, in presence, by a notary or a lawyer. In case of a contribution in kind involving the transfer of a real estate property, the notary or lawyer must not only certify the signatory’s presence but also authenticate the incorporation document.
It is recommended that the members of the corporate bodies are appointed within the incorporation document so to allow the registration of these members immediately upon registration of the company’s incorporation. It should be noted that all members of corporate bodies that are not resident in Portugal for tax purposes must obtain a Portuguese taxpayer number. For EU citizens, this taxpayer number may be obtained directly with the tax administration (in presence or by means of an appointed proxy); as to non-EU citizens the same must appoint a Portuguese tax resident representative to handle matters with the tax authorities.
4th Step: Commercial Registration
The incorporation of the company (and the appointment of the members of the corporate bodies) shall be submitted to commercial registration. The company’s incorporation and the appointment of the Company’s directors and auditors will be effective vis-à-vis third parties upon conclusion of such registration.
The registration request (Model 1) shall be submitted with the commercial registry office by any shareholder, director or legal representative (including lawyers) of the company, jointly with the following documents:
• Name approval certificate (as obtained in 1st Step);
• Incorporation Document (including as attachment the articles of association);
• Auditor’s report for contributions in kind (if applicable);
• Evidence on payment of Property Transfer Tax (if applicable);
• Statement of acceptance issued by Effective Auditor (if applicable); and
• Statement of acceptance issued by Substitute Auditor (if applicable).
The commercial registry office shall automatically publish the registration online and convey the incorporation to the National Registry of Corporations to register the new company in the Corporations Central File.
Upon the completion of the commercial registry of the incorporation of the company (and appointment of the members of the corporate bodies of the company), an access code to the on-line commercial registry certificate of the company shall be provided by the Commercial Registry Office.
Decree-Law no. 73/2008, of April 16th has created a bilingual registration, being possible to apply for an access code to an English version of the on-line commercial registry certificate of the company. The authorities are contemplating the possibility of adding other foreign languages, if so needed, in the near future.
5th Step: Commencement of Activity Statement – Tax
Within 15 days as of the registration filing, the company shall be registered for tax purposes by means of a commencement of activity statement to be filed with the tax authorities jointly with the delivery of the commercial registry certificate of the new company.
The Chartered Accountant (Técnico Oficial de Contas) shall sign the statement together with the company’s representatives.
6th Step: Commencement of Activity Statement – Social Security
Within 10 business days as of filing the commencement of activity statement before the tax authorities, the company shall be registered for social security purposes by means of a commencement of activity statement to be filed with the social security services with the delivery of the following documentation shall be required:
• Commercial registry certificate;
• Evidence of the commencement of activity for tax purposes;
• Document appointing corporate bodies (incorporation document or relevant minutes of the competent corporate body’s resolution); and
• Taxpayer card of members of corporate bodies.
7th Step: Minutes’ books
Upon completion of the commercial registration, the company shall open minutes’ books, both for shareholders’ resolutions and resolutions of the relevant management body.
Summary of the Traditional Set-up procedure
Traditional Set Up
Steps Actions Relevant Entity Cost
1. Name approval certificate Request of a valid name to the new company National Registry of Corporations €75
2. Share capital Deposit of share capital and/or report on the contributions in kind. Bank
Independent Auditor (depends on the type of the company)
3. Incorporation document Execution of private document incorporating the company N/A N/A
4. Commercial registration File for registration of the company. Commercial Registry Office €400 (incorporation)
€87,5 (appointment of corporate bodies in case the respective registration is submitted simultaneously with the registration of the incorporation)
5. Commencement of Activity – Tax Filing of a commencement of activity statement tax purposes. Tax Authorities N/A
6. Commencement of Activity – Social Security Filing of a commencement of activity statement for social security purposes. Social Security Authorities N/A
7. Minutes’ books Open books to draw-up shareholders’ and corporate bodies resolutions. N/A N/A