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Portugal Company Registry - A Guide to the Process

By Matt Deasy

Published on 12 April 2024

9mins read

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If you’re looking to register a company in Portugal, understanding the Portugal Company Registry process is crucial. This article directly addresses the steps, from choosing a business structure to the final registration fees, ensuring your launch into Portugal’s market is successful. Discover key information, simplify your registration experience, and learn about the aftercare needed once your business is established.

Key Takeaways

  • The Portugal Company Registry is essential for legal business operations, providing two types of registrations: transcription (legal validation) and deposit (document filing without validation), each catering to various business changes and compliance requirements.
  • Business registration in Portugal involves selecting a suitable structure, verifying a unique business name, preparing and submitting necessary documents, and paying the registration fees, with digital services like Rauva simplifying the process.
  • Post-registration, companies must navigate tax and legal obligations, open business bank accounts, and ensure continuous compliance with local laws, including registering with the Social Security System and regular reporting to government entities.

Understanding the Portugal Company Registry

The Portugal Company Registry is a government service that facilitates legal registration for entities and sole traders, playing an integral role in the country’s business landscape. It provides two types of registrations: transcription, legally validated by a registrar or register officer, and deposit, which involves filing documents without legal validation. These registrations cater to different needs – transcription is vital for major company events like corporate body amendments and mergers, while deposit is used for minor modifications such as quota alterations or mandate agreements.

The importance of company registration

Far from merely being a procedural formality, registering a company with the Portuguese Commercial Registry is a pivotal action that secures official recognition from the Portuguese Government and guarantees the business’s legal standing. Upon successful registration, businesses gain enhanced credibility, access to financial support and grants, and a wealth of resources and services.

This validation opens doors to new opportunities and serves as a launchpad for businesses to thrive in the Portuguese market.

Key functions of the Commercial Registry Office

The Commercial Registry Office in Portugal serves as the backbone of the business registration process. It maintains a comprehensive record of all registered businesses, ensuring a well-regulated business environment. One of its key functions is verifying the availability of business names, a crucial step in establishing your unique brand identity.

Moreover, the Commercial Registry Office offers online services for requesting commercial registries and obtaining certificates, facilitating a smooth registration process.

Steps to Register Your Business with the Portugal Company Registry

Now that we’ve demystified the role and importance of the Portugal Company Registry, let’s delve into the practical steps required to register your business. The process involves:

1.Selecting a suitable business structure

2.Verifying and reserving your business name

3.Preparing and submitting the required documents

4.Paying the registration fees

Each step is vital and requires careful attention to ensure a successful and hassle-free registration.

Choose your business structure

Choosing your business structure is the initial action on your registration path. Portugal offers a variety of structures, including a sole proprietorship, partnerships, and limited companies. Each structure has its unique attributes and implications on aspects such as tax obligations and legal liability.

For instance, the Limited Liability Company (LDA) is a popular choice among local and foreign investors, providing financial protection to shareholders who are only liable up to their invested amount. Choosing the right business structure, such as a private limited company or private limited liability companies, is a strategic decision that sets the course for your business’s legal and operational future. As a public or private entity, it’s crucial to make the right choice for your business’s success, considering factors such as unlimited liability.

Verify and reserve your business name

After deciding on your business structure, the subsequent move involves confirming and securing your business name. Your business name is more than just a label; it’s a powerful representation of your brand identity. Therefore, it’s essential to select a name that’s unique, legally compliant, and resonates with your target audience.

To reserve your business name, you’ll need to check its availability and secure it through the Portuguese Commercial Registry. This step ensures that your chosen name isn’t already in use and safeguards your brand identity.

Prepare and submit required documents

With your business structure and name set, you can now start the company registration procedure by collecting the required documents for the formation of your company structure. The required documentation typically includes the Articles of Association, identification documents, and a digital certificate.

The Articles of Association, in particular, is a mandatory document that outlines the rules of operation for your company. Submitting accurate and complete documents is crucial to avoiding any delays or complications in the registration process.

Pay registration fees

The final action in the registration process entails paying the necessary fees. The standard cost to register a company in Portugal is €360. However, additional fees may apply for specific services or if your share capital consists of non-monetary assets.

It’s important to understand these costs upfront to budget accurately and ensure a smooth registration process. Remember, these fees are an investment in your business’s future and legal legitimacy.

A Simpler Alternative: Company Creation with Rauva

While the company registration process in Portugal is reasonably straightforward, it can be time-consuming and intricate for those unfamiliar with Portuguese laws and regulations. Enter Rauva, a service that offers a simpler alternative to company creation. Rauva takes care of the digital setup, eliminating legal fees and streamlining the process.
Even better, company creation is free - aside from the mandatory state fees - as part of their Supercharged package, which includes a certified accountant and business account. With Rauva, setting up a company in Portugal can be an effortless and efficient experience.

Opening a Business Bank Account in Portugal

After successfully registering your company, the subsequent vital action involves opening a business bank account in Portugal. This account is vital for conducting financial transactions, managing your business finances, and ensuring a smooth cash flow. But how do you go about it? Let’s delve into the process, which involves choosing a suitable bank, providing the required documents, and understanding the fees and services offered by your chosen bank.

Choosing a suitable bank

Given the number of banks operating in Portugal, selecting an appropriate one for your business can be a daunting task. Your choice should be guided by factors such as the bank’s fee structure, branch and ATM availability, and the presence of international bank options.

Traditional banks like Banco BPI and Millennium BCP require in-person account opening, while digital banks like TransferWise and Revolut offer features facilitating international payments and integration with accounting tools. Making an informed choice will ensure that your banking partner truly supports and simplifies your business operations.

Required documents for account opening

Similar to company registration, opening a business bank account in Portugal necessitates the provision of specific documents. These include a NIF and identification documents of shareholders and relevant company forms. Accuracy and completeness of these documents are essential to ensure a smooth account opening process.

Keep in mind that specific requirements may vary depending on the bank, so always check with your chosen bank before proceeding.

Understanding banking fees and services

Understanding the fee structure and services offered by your chosen bank is crucial for managing your business finances effectively. Banks in Portugal typically charge businesses with monthly account fees, credit card fees, and overdraft fees. However, they also provide a range of services such as internet banking, money transfers, and balance verifications, many of which are provided without additional charges.

Make sure to review the bank’s price list, which details the maximum chargeable fees and usual interest rates, to avoid any surprises and make an informed decision.

The journey doesn’t end with registering a company and opening a bank account. Continuously addressing tax and legal obligations in Portugal demands meticulous attention. This involves obtaining a Company Tax Identification Number (NIF), registering for VAT, and complying with local regulations.

Let’s break down these obligations and discuss how you can navigate them effectively.

Obtaining a Portuguese Tax Identification Number (NIF)

The Portuguese Tax Identification Number (NIF), vital for conducting business activities, is necessary for tax purposes. Whether you’re a local resident or a foreigner, you’ll need to obtain a NIF for your business. This can be done online or in person at a tax office, where you’ll need to provide identification documents and complete the required forms.

Note that obtaining a NIF for individuals is free of charge, removing any financial barriers to this crucial step.

Registering for VAT

The subsequent task involves registering for Value Added Tax (VAT). If your company’s turnover exceeds €10,000, or if you engage in specific activities such as internet retailing or importing products, you’ll need to register for VAT. The process takes around two weeks and involves periodic filing of VAT returns, either monthly or quarterly depending on your annual sales volume.

Foreign companies operating in Portugal are also required to register for VAT and must appoint a local tax representative.

Complying with local regulations

Finally, it’s imperative to ensure that your company, especially private companies, abides by local regulations. This includes obligations such as registering the beneficial owner, maintaining financial records for ten years, and complying with environmental regulations, among others. As a private entity, non-compliance can lead to fines, interest charges on overdue payments, and legal proceedings, not to mention potential damage to your company’s reputation.

Therefore, it’s crucial to stay abreast of local laws and business practices to ensure your operations stand on solid legal ground.

Post-Registration Considerations

After accomplishing the registration of your company, the opening of a bank account, and the navigation of tax and legal obligations, you might consider your tasks complete. But wait, there’s more! There are a few more steps to ensure the smooth operation of your company in Portugal. These include registering with the Social Security System, hiring employees and drafting contracts, and ensuring ongoing compliance and reporting.

Registering with the Social Security System

In Portugal, it’s mandatory for business owners to register with Segurança Social, the country’s social security system. As an employer, you’ll manage social security contributions for both the company and your employees. These contributions cover various benefits including pensions, healthcare, and unemployment.

What’s more, you must report and pay these contributions monthly, ensuring your business meets its social security obligations and your employees are adequately covered.

Hiring employees and drafting contracts

Bringing on employees is a thrilling landmark for any business. Still, it’s vital to bear in mind that it accompanies legal responsibilities. In Portugal, you must comply with the country’s labor code when hiring employees and drafting contracts. This includes submitting a monthly remuneration statement and adhering to regulations concerning wages, treaties, benefits, and working hours.

With these considerations in mind, you can build a strong, compliant, and motivated workforce that drives your business’s success.

Ongoing compliance and reporting

Operating a business in Portugal implies continuous compliance and reporting duties. It’s essential to stay updated on local laws and business practices to avoid any legal complications. From depositing annual accounts with the National Registry of Companies to reporting foreign exchange operations to the Bank of Portugal, these obligations ensure your business operates within the legal framework.

Remember, maintaining compliance isn’t a one-time task but a continuous process that requires diligent attention.


Congratulations! Now you are well-equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the Portugal Company Registry process. We’ve walked through every step, from understanding the company registry to post-registration considerations. Remember, while the process may seem complex, it’s all about taking it one step at a time. With careful planning, diligent attention to detail, and a bit of patience, you can successfully establish your business in Portugal. Here’s to your entrepreneurial journey in this vibrant and promising market!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I found a company in Portugal?

To found a company in Portugal, you need to follow a six-step process including obtaining a tax number, social security number, opening a bank account, naming your company, choosing a business structure, and registering your company. Good luck with your venture!

What is the Portugal Company Registry?

The Portugal Company Registry is a government service that assists in the legal registration of entities and sole traders.

What are the types of registrations offered by the Portugal Company Registry?

The Portugal Company Registry offers two types of registrations: transcription for legally validated documents and deposit for filing without legal validation. Choose the type that best suits your needs.

How do I choose a suitable bank for my business in Portugal?

When choosing a bank for your business in Portugal, consider factors such as the bank's fee structure, branch and ATM availability, and the presence of international bank options. These aspects will help you select a suitable bank for your business.

What are the tax and legal obligations for businesses in Portugal?

In Portugal, businesses must obtain a Tax Identification Number (NIF), register for VAT, and comply with local regulations to meet their tax and legal obligations.

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Written by Matt Deasy

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Rauva is partnered with Swan who will be providing all payment services to Rauva clients. Rauva does not have access to client funds. Funds are kept in accounts provided by Swan, held in BNP Paribas. Swan is an EMI, based in France, supervised, and regulated by ACPR/Banque de France. Swan is authorized to carry out such services in Portugal and registered with Banco de Portugal under the registration number 7893.
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