Starting a Business in Portugal

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Setting up a business in Portugal

Several different business structures are available to businesses in Portugal. All businesses must obtain certain licences and permits, and comply with certain regulations.

Business structure options

If you are thinking of starting your own business in Portugal then please see further information on running your business on your own in Portugal.

  • sole proprietor – where you are personally responsible for business debts
  • single shareholder limited liability company
  • an individual limited liability establishment

If you are running your business with others you can do so as one of the following:

  • a partnership – each of the partners is personally responsible for business debts
  • a limited partnership
  • a limited company
  • a public limited company
  • a cooperative

The Institute of Support to Small and Medium Enterprises and Innovation (IAPMEI) has produced a guide to setting up a company in Portugal. You can find guidance on setting up a business in Portugal on the IAPMEI website – Opens in a new window.

Licences and permits

You must have several licences and permits before you start trading in Portugal, including:

  • validation certificate
  • company identity card
  • start of activity declaration
  • foreigner’s identification number

You must also register for income tax, social security and VAT.

You can get help with starting a business from any of the following:

  • local Citizens Shops – Loja do Cidadãos
  • Business Formality Centres – Centros de Formalidades das Empresas
  • a paperwork specialist – despachante – who will charge for their services

Legislation and regulation

You must comply with a range of legislation and regulations, including:

  • environmental legislation
  • social legislation
  • regulations for expanding your business

You can find out about important areas of Portuguese business legislation on the European Commission website

You can read about regulations affecting businesses in Portugal on the UK Trade & Investment website

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