“NIF” stands for Número de Identificação Fiscal Tax (tax identification number). It is a 9-digit unique personal identifier used for tax purposes. This tax number is needed for most relevant legal acts carried out in Portugal, such as the opening of a bank account or the purchase of a property.
You can ask for a NIF at any Portuguese tax office or other designated offices. The number itself is issued on the spot, totally free of charge. However, fees may be involved if you ask for an official card with the NIF or need a fiscal representative.
You will need a representative when you are not a Portugal or European Union resident. The tax representative is responsible for complying with the tax obligations of the represented person and can be a natural person or a company.
Anyone with a fixed residence in Portugal who accepts the responsibility is eligible, regardless of nationality, so you could ask a friend or someone who knows you in Portugal. It is also possible to obtain the NIF without the holder’s presence in Portugal. For this purpose, you will need a copy of your passport, proof of address, and a power of attorney.