Emigrating to Portugal: Complete guide about the NHR System 2022

In this guide, I’ve summarized my knowledge on the subject of the NHR program in Portugal in 2022.
And let me make one thing clear right at the start:
This is not about half-truths, hypothetical possibilities, or questionable tax tricks.
It’s simply about the current state of affairs, what to watch out for, and what mistakes you shouldn’t make under any circumstances.
Does this sound interesting to you?
Then let’s dive right in.


Why Portugal is a popular emigration destination

More and more people are drawn to Portugal. Find out why and what the NHR system has to do with it in this article. You’ll also get a sneak preview of what this article will cover.


This history-rich country on the Atlantic Ocean has long since developed from a classic insider tip to a sought-after destination for emigrants. This is of course due to the sunny location, the varied landscapes, the living directly on (or at least near) the sea and, last but not least, the relaxed life with that dolce vita flavor.

But Portugal offers even more: Those who live and reside here as emigrants can claim tax advantages that only a few other countries offer. This is made possible by the Portuguese NHR (non-habitual resident) tax regulation. To date, more than 10,000 applications have been filed to obtain NHR status.

Celebrities in Portugal

It is not for nothing that many celebrities are already taking advantage of this special tax status. The list of celebrities residing in Portugal reads like a who’s who of well-known personalities. The names range from John Malkovich and Michael Fassbender to Monica Belluci and Madonna to Eric Cantona and Christian Louboutin.

Content of this article

In the following article, I transparently present all the information worth knowing about the tax advantages you’ll receive in Portugal as an emigrant. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a working individual or a retiree – if you want to emigrate to Portugal, you should read the following very carefully.

I am not concerned with shady tax tricks and the evasion of high tax burdens through activities in the gray area of taxation. Rather, I will show you, based on sound information and data, why Portugal can make good sense from a tax perspective. I will provide you with the background of the NHR regime as well as the requirements you must meet in order to obtain NHR status.

You will also gain deep insights into the topic of international tax law. Last but not least, I will briefly discuss the advantages of Portugal aside from the tax issue. Because in my years of experience I have learned one thing: Tax advantages can be one of the reasons to emigrate to a country, but should NEVER be the initial trigger.

After reading my article you will be able to make an informed decision whether Portugal makes sense for you or not.

Interested yet?

Then let’s get started. You’ll be surprised at the advantages this country in the sunny south has to offer – both in terms of tax benefits and the quality of life in Portugal itself.


Why the NHR tax regime exists & who benefits

Wondering why Portugal created the tax scheme?

Also wondering if you, yourself, can benefit from the NHR scheme in Portugal?

Then read on.


First of all, it is important to understand why Portugal introduced the NHR scheme, because this understanding will allow you to understand why and how Portugal set up its rules regarding the NHR issue and will make it easier for you to interpret the applicable laws.

Portugal enacted the NHR regulation in 2009 has since allowed Qualified Individuals significant tax savings.

Through its NHR tax regime, Portugal aims to attract entrepreneurs, investors and professionals of high cultural and economic value in order to increase the country’s international competitiveness.

Who benefits from Portugal’s NHR system

For this reason, Portugal has chosen the NHR rules in such a way that mainly high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs benefit from the status. Specifically, this means independent business people, business owners, retirees and other professionals of high cultural or economic value.

Although you can, of course, live and reside in Portugal on a smaller budget, it is the tax benefits that are most significant if you have a higher income or a relatively lavish pension.


Basic information on the NHR regime

Questions like:

  • What does NHR stand for, anyway?
  • Can anyone get this NHR status in Portugal?
  • Do certain requirements have to be met and, if so, what are they?
  • How does the application for the NHR program work?

…will be answered in this chapter.


NHR stands for non-habitual resident

Portugal’s NHR status provides special tax conditions for groups of peopleentrepreneurs, individuals, professionals with high added value and pensioners. Each group of people has its own incentives to migrate to Portugal. In the case of entrepreneurs, for example, this means that you do not have to pay tax on foreign income in Portugal. But more about that further on in this article.

General requirements for NHR status

As with any special status, there are certain requirements that you must meet.

In terms of NHR status, the basic requirement is that you must have the right to reside in Portugal. This right comes either through EU citizenship (including for Swiss nationals) or – for non-EU citizens – through programs such as the Golden Visa program.

You must also not have been a Portuguese tax resident for the past five years.

As an applicant, you must be able to prove residence in Portugal through, for example, the purchase of a property or proof of a rental contract of over 12 months.

The application for obtaining NHR status

Do you come from the previously mentioned target groups? In this case, in order to apply for tax residency in Portugal, the first step is to apply or register as still residing abroad for tax purposes. Once this registration has taken place, you will receive a Portuguese tax number. This is mandatory in order to complete residence registration.

It’s due after you have been a Portuguese resident for three months. This tax residency is the determining aspect of whether you have unlimited tax liability in Portugal under the special NHR status. If you want to know more about the requirements, I invite you to read my other article. Under “The Legal Requirements in Portugal” I describe to you exactly what the legal requirements are and how to understand them from a non-tax expert perspective.

Procedure for the NHR application

To obtain NHR status; NHR application

Generally, you must provide proof of habitual residence by December 31 and have submitted the application to the Director of the Taxpayer Registration Service (Serviços de Registo de Contribuintes) before March 31. The application is made online through the tax authorities’ website. After three to four weeks, you will then receive a notice whether you have been accepted into or rejected from the NHR program.

If you are accepted, you will enjoy your NHR status for 10 years from the date of application. In the application itself, you must disclose your income as well as provide a statement that you have not met the necessary criteria to be considered a Portuguese tax citizen in the past five years.


All the benefits of the NHR system in Portugal at a glance

This chapter provides an overview of all the tax benefits of the NHR system. 

Read on to see if you too can benefit from the tax advantages.


The NHR system and DTAs

What does Portugal’s NHR system have to do with DTAs and what implications does it have for you – Keep reading.


You’re probably wondering how the NHR works on Portugal. I’ll tell you – through double taxation agreements (DTAs). First, here’s the general definition on DTAs from the German Ministry of Finance:

“Double taxation agreements (DTAs) are treaties under international law with the help of which states avoid that the same income for the same taxpayer is burdened more than once by similar taxes for the same period of time. This happens when taxpayers are either residents of two countries at the same time, or have sources of income located in countries other than the country of residence. In both cases, each country concerned can assert its own tax claim against the taxpayer. In order to avoid double taxation, the country from which income is derived (source country), on the one hand, withdraws or limits taxation in favor of the country of residence of the recipient of the income, and, on the other hand, the country of residence exempts from its taxation income that which may be taxed in the source country or credits against its tax the foreign tax due on such income.” Source: Federal Ministry of Finance

In simple terms, to avoid double taxation, the country of source of income leaves the taxation to the country of residence. The country of residence, in turn, exempts income from taxation that is taxed in the source country. Most countries choose not to tax the income of non-residents in order to be seen as open to foreign investment.

Under the NHR program, Portugal does not tax most foreign source income because taxation can take place abroad. This allows foreign income to be received tax-free.

Currently, Portugal has 79 DTAs with other countries. For countries without DTAs, the OECD Model Convention applies. Under the following link, you can find a list of countries with which Portugal has a DTA: https://info.portaldasfinancas.gov.pdf.

Chapter 6

Interim conclusion

Yes, I know, that was quite a lot of information all at once, so I’ve taken the liberty of summarizing the most important points for you below.


Tax exemption of income under the NHR regime

  1. Passive foreign income such as interest, dividends, royalties, capital gains are tax exempt (without progression, except in the case of capital gains from real estate)
  2. Pensions are IRS-exempt, i.e. tax-free. From 01 April 2020 they are subject to 10% tax rate.
  3. Foreign income from employment is exempt from taxation
  4. Foreign-sourced income from services are tax-exempt (without progression), provided they are derived from high value-added activities of a scientific, artistic or technical nature


  1. A  DTA with the country from which the income is derived is in effect.
  2. If the country does not have a DTA with Portugal and the country is not on the blacklist of tax havens, the OECD Model Tax Convention applies.
  3. If points (1) and (2) are not met, a flat tax rate of 20% applies to income from employed or self-employed activities – they derive from activities with high added value of a scientific, artistic or technical nature

Benefits for entrepreneurs, individuals and professionals

So, after giving you a general overview of Portugal’s tax benefits, I will now go into more detail about the benefits available to each professional group. This section will mainly focus on the benefits for entrepreneurs, individuals and professionals.


Probably the biggest advantage of the NHR is enjoyed by entrepreneurs and high net-worth individuals. This is because you are exempt from taxation on foreign sources of income for a period of 10 years under certain conditions.

In simple terms, this means that income from abroad, such as interest, dividends, royalties or other capital gains, is tax-free (for more information, see the following article: https://www.nonhabitualtaxresident.com/faq/ – although you can also contact me directly so that your situation can be discussed in a personal and confidential meeting).

Why foreign income doesn’t have to be taxed

By now you’re probably wondering how the tax treatment of income from foreign sources works. Let me explain briefly: if the foreign income comes from a country that has a double taxation treaty with Portugal, then the income does not have to be taxed.

Requirements for obtaining NHR status as an entrepreneur

In order to benefit from NHR status as an entrepreneur in Portugal, there are some points to consider, such as that the company must be located in the European Union and the majority of the managers must be of non-Portuguese origin. Also, the company must be registered in a country where, according to the DTA, there is the possibility of taxing dividends in the country of origin.

Furthermore, the income must not originate from tax havens without a DTA, otherwise the tax rate of 20% + 3.5% would apply.

It is possible to be spared from taxation of foreign income under certain circumstances. This can be achieved, for example, by combining NHR status with a Maltese company.

Since Malta is in the EU and – provided that the majority of your directors are not resident in Portugal and the Maltese company does not have a permanent establishment in Portugal – the CFC Rules (essentially the Portuguese Foreign Tax Law) currently applicable in Portugal are not harmful.

In short, by intelligently combining NHR status with an advantageous tax law of an EU country, it is possible to be exempt from the obligation to pay taxes in Portugal. However, there are some really more complex requirements to consider here and each individual case should be analyzed separately.

Incidentally, this also applies to entrepreneurs who are already active in Portugal in some form.

Income from capital gains in Portugal

You also have tax advantages for income from capital gains.

Investors beware: If you emigrate to Portugal, you will also benefit from tax advantages with regard to income from interest, dividends and other capital gains. If, for example, you are tax resident in the Algarve or another part of Portugal and thus have NHR status, you will have to pay a withholding tax of no more than 15 percent in Germany. This is at least ten percent less compared to the regular applicable tax rate on interest and dividends.

Advantages for professionals

Not all professionals benefit equally from the NHR system in Portugal. Only professions of high cultural and economic value receive tax benefits in Portugal. They are considered to add value to Portugal and can therefore benefit from generous tax exemptions.

  • General managers and executives
  • Managers of administrative and commercial services
  • Managers of production and specialized services
  • Managers of the hotel and catering industry, trade and other services
  • Professionals in physics, mathematics, engineering and similar technical professions
  • Doctors, dentists
  • Architects, engineers, geologists
  • Tax consultants, auditors
  • University professors
  • Psychologists
  • Technicians and practitioners of other liberal professions
  • Biologists, archaeologists, researchers, developers, computer scientists, designers and journalists
  • Visual artists such as painters and sculptors
  • Actors and musicians for theater, ballet, film, television, radio, theater or ballet
  • Members of company boards and management
  • Investors
  • Information and service providers
  • Computer programmers Software consultants
  • Computer consultants and related services
  • etc.

Professionals of this type are largely exempt from taxation of foreign income in Portugal under NHR status due to (and to the extent that) DTAs exist.

Employment income related to NHR status.

As an upscale professional, you receive a kind of tax flat rate under the special non-habitual residence status. This means for the corresponding groups of people: you enjoy a tax exemption or a flat reduced tax rate. This is just 20 percent.

I don’t think I’m alone in this positive opinion. After all, the wealthy class in Germany usually has to pay top tax rates of 48 percent and sometimes even more to the tax authorities or the German state.

To anticipate a very frequently asked question: If you have already paid tax on income in a country, you are exempt from taxes in Portugal, provided the country has a DTA with Portugal.

Income from non-self-employment from abroad is tax-exempt

Income from non-self-employment is tax-exempt – as long as it is income from high-level activities. Here, too, there are some further requirements that must be checked in each individual case (https://www.nonhabitualtaxresident.com/faq/).

Income from self-employment

Income from self-employment is taxed normally, unless your activity falls under the category of the above-mentioned professions, in which case you also benefit from tax exemption. This income is then also subject to social security contributions.


Advantages of the Portuguese NHR system for retirees & pensioners

Let’s move on to the last group of people. The retirees or pensioners. For this group of people, too, there is an attractive offer to emigrate to Portugal. 


Especially pensioners from different European countries have discovered Portugal as an attractive destination for their emigration ambitions. But this is not only due to sun, beach and sea; fiscal reasons give Portugal the edge here. For a long time, pensions in Portugal were completely tax-free. Until May 31, 2020, to be precise.

Since April 1, 2020, pensions and annuities drawn from other countries are now taxed at a flat rate of ten percent under the NHR status. At first glance, the entry into force of this special tax status means a disadvantage for emigrants of retirement age.

But is this really the case?

I have already dealt intensively with this issue at an early stage. That is precisely why I can promise you one thing now: The introduction of this tax in the amount of ten percent leads to sometimes considerable tax advantages compared to the legal situation that applied before. In addition, this regulation is by no means applicable to all retirees who have emigrated to Portugal.

This means that if you already had the NHR status, which is always limited to ten years, before April 1, 2020, this change will not affect you at all. Your pensions drawn from abroad will continue to be tax-free. The same applies to those who were already tax residents in Portugal before this effective date and have applied for usage of the special tax status.

In this context, I will give you a tip:

Even if you have not yet filed such an application, but have nevertheless registered as a tax resident in Portugal before April 1, 2020, you will benefit from complete tax exemption. At least until the end of March 2021, because that is when the deadline for applying for recognition of the special tax status residente não habitual or non-habitual residence expires.

Does this apply to you?

Then you should hurry up and submit your application by the deadline. In this case, the ten percent taxation introduced almost a year ago does not apply. Your pension will remain completely tax-free. The Portuguese tax authorities have placed these so-called old cases under protection.

Have you already filed your tax return for 2020? If you have not yet done so, as a recipient of a pension with tax exemption in Portugal you have the option of choosing whether you want to pay a flat rate of ten percent tax on these pensions on the basis of the new legal situation. If you choose this option, you must indicate this in your tax return for the 2020 tax year.

Are there additional benefits for pension recipients?

I’ve looked into it carefully: There are retirees who benefit from the ten percent tax burden. It’s important here that each case is examined individually and comprehensively. Especially, for example, doctors, architects and other retirees who used to be partially or completely self-employed and now receive benefits from corresponding pension plans are in a better position for tax purposes since April 1, 2020.

In some cases, you can now avoid double taxation

Until this effective date, Portugal refrained from levying a tax under the NHR concept, but instead this group of people had to pay taxes to the German state under so-called reverse taxation. Now, retirees of this type pay ten percent tax in Portugal under the NHR status.

And that’s it. Because according to Art. 22 DBA (double taxation agreement), the German state no longer has the right of taxation.

The favorable tax rate of ten percent in Portugal also has financial benefits for recipients of German pension insurance pensions, for example. As a result of the taxation in Portugal under the NHR status, these pensions are no longer taxed in Germany. As a rule, this means that you pay less tax, as the taxation of pensions in Germany results in a much higher tax burden.

You also benefit from this NHR-advantage as a retiree

In addition, as a retiree with another income taxable in Portugal, you can pay tax on your pension together with other income. In this case, the general rules are applied as a benchmark. For you, this means that you benefit from the progressive tax rate applied in Portugal.


Taxation with cryptocurrency in Portugal

Portugal’s goal of improving the economic situation with the help of tax incentives under the NHR program is also proving successful in the cryptocurrency sector.


Portugal is considered one of the most innovative countries in Europe. Its approach to cryptocurrencies is also forward-looking: Portugal is increasingly opening up to the payment of services using cryptocurrencies. By way of example, Portugal has installed ATMs in various places where it is possible to withdraw cryptocurrencies.

However, this is not the only reason why Portugal is considered a crypto-friendly country.

To attract investors and cryptocurrency traders, the country has created several innovative tax incentives.

Taxation of income from cryptocurrencies in Portugal

 Cryptocurrencies are currently in high demand and are subject to strict regulations.. Moreover, in most countries, taxes are applied to capital gains from the sale of cryptocurrency. This is not the case in Portugal – wherein gains are tax-free. I will explain the legal basis for this in the following.

Handling the profit from crypto sales in Portugal

Let’s take a look at the guidance note published by the Portuguese tax authorities in 2016, which describes the classification of cryptocurrencies by type of income.

Below I have taken the trouble to translate parts of the letter and explain the meaning and summarise the rest of the letter for you.

As cripto moeda ou “moedas virtuais” não são, tecnicamente, consideradas “moeda” por não disporem de – Cryptocurrencies or “virtual currencies” are not technically considered “currency” as they are not legal tender in Portugal.

curso legal ou de poder liberatório em Portugal, no entanto, as mesmas podem ser trocadas, com – However, cryptocurrencies can be profitably exchanged for real currency (be it real or virtual currency).

proveito, por moeda real (sejam euros, dólares, ou outra), junto de empresas especializadas para o – Cryptocurrencies can be exchanged for real currency (euros, dollars or other) at specialised exchange offices.

The value of the cryptocurrency, compared to real currency, is determined by the (online) demand for cryptocurrencies, according to the guidance note.

The guidance note of 27 December 2016 further states that cryptocurrencies can generate different types of taxable income such as ‘inter alia’:

  1. Profits from the purchase and sale of virtual currencies or exchange on the stock exchange for real currency.
  2. Obtaining commissions for the provision of services related to the acquisition or sale of cryptocurrencies
  3. Income from the sale of products or services in cryptocurrency

Note: The following explanations refer to item 1 and do not consider items 2 and 3.

Item 1 is further broken down into three different categories of income:

  1. Category G: Capital gains
  2. Category E: Capital gains
  3. Category B: Business or professional income

Category G – Capital gains in Portugal

Category G describes capital gains. This, therefore, refers to gains derived from the positive price performance of investment instruments.

According to article 10 of the IRS Code, the following are taxable as ‘capital gains’:

Disposals of shares and other securities for consideration;

  • Transactions in derivative financial instruments, except for the gains referred to in Article 5 No. 2, paragraph q).
  • Transactions relating to certificates entitling the holder to receive a value of a specified underlying asset; transactions relating to certificates entitling the holder to receive a value of a specified underlying asset, other than gains referred to in Article 5(2)(r) Article 5(2)(r).
  • Paid assignment of credits, additional installments and supplementary installments.

According to the legislation, taxation on gains only occurs if they relate to points 1-4.

Since the value of cryptocurrency can be determined by supply and demand, cryptocurrency is not considered a derivative financial product and is therefore not considered as a security.

Consequently, under current legislation, taxation only takes place in Portugal if it fulfills one of the criteria described above. However, as cryptocurrencies do not fall under these category G specifications, cryptocurrencies are therefore not taxable in Portugal.

Consequently, Category G cryptocurrencies are not taxable.

Category E – Capital gains in Portugal

Capital gains are gains from the purchase and sale of assets.

Concerning category E, income is therefore only taxed if it arises from the mere investment of capital. Since the income from the sale of cryptocurrencies is generated by the sale of the right, activities related to cryptocurrencies are not subject to category E and are therefore not taxable under category E.

Category B – Business or professional income in Portugal

Category B concerns the income of self-employed persons.

The first thing to note about category B is that if it competes with any of the previous categories, category B prevails. In other words, if the type of income is assignable to two categories and one of the categories is Category B, Category B taxation applies.

Category B taxes are levied on income derived from the exercise of an activity and not according to the source of the income.

Therefore, taxes are levied on income regardless of whether the income is derived from sales, earnings, or any other type of income, according to paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the IRS Code.

Within this context, the exercise of the activity – according to the letter – is determined by the regularity and the orientation of the activity towards the generation of profits. Thus, if there is a business or professional activity, the taxpayer is obliged to draw up an invoice (or an equivalent document) when selling or providing services.

In concrete terms, this means that you must carefully check whether your activities are considered business or professional activities. If so, you are obliged to comply with the declaration obligations contained in paragraph 6 of Article 3 of the IRS Code (see paragraph above).

As you can probably guess, this has to be examined in each case. In general, it can be assumed that if your crypto activities are your main income, your activities qualify as business or professional activities.

Conclui-se assim que a venda de cripto-moeda não é tributável face ao ordenamento fiscal português, a não ser que pela sua habitualidade constitua uma atividade profissional ou empresarial do contribuinte, caso em que será tributado na categoria B.

In summary, therefore, the sale of cryptocurrencies is not taxable under the Portuguese tax system unless it constitutes a professional or business activity of the taxpayer – in which case it will be taxed under category B.

However, this rule is only the case if you are a natural person. Legal entities holding cryptocurrencies in a company established in Portugal must pay tax on all profits, regardless of whether the company is engaged in trading. Capital gains of registered companies trading in cryptocurrency are taxed between 28% and 35%.

VAT in the European Union

In 2015, the ECJ ruled that the purchase and sale of Bitcoin is exempt from VAT. Due to the “currency” derogation, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the services provided by a Bitcoin exchange when exchanging Bitcoin for a traditional currency are exempt from VAT (source).

Portugal has followed the official EU regulation when legislating on cryptocurrencies: This means that profits from the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies are not subject to VAT.

Interim conclusion

Non-commercial crypto profits are tax-free in Portugal. The commerciality is to be determined from case to case. Almost everyone I have spoken to so far has been commercial. The following link helps determine commerciality: https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/

Portugal has thus created good conditions for those whose income is generated by cryptocurrencies and when such income does not classify as ‘business activity.

Nevertheless, there is some uncertainty as Portugal does not have a crypto-regulatory framework as of 2022. It is expected that virtual assets will be regulated and their tax regime will be specifically defined. In addition, the classification as a financial asset (rather than a currency) could result in a change in definition, which could lead to a change in how taxation is treated.


The beauty of Portugal

As I mentioned at the beginning, tax advantages may be part of your decision-making on a new residence, but they should never be the main reason. Therefore, I will now give you a brief overview of the beauty of Portugal.


Even though this text is primarily about the tax advantages for emigrants to Portugal, I would like to take this opportunity to once again – regardless of the tax issue – emphatically discuss the country at the westernmost point of continental Europe. Because the beauty of Portugal fascinates me every time anew. Emigrating to Portugal – tax advantages are one of the draws, but the varied scenery also offers compelling arguments.

It is not without reason that the country is considered one of the most popular destinations for emigrants from all over the world due to its beautiful coastlines and beaches, its climate, the varied landscape and also its island groups around Madeira and the Azores.

Would you like to live by the sea? Then your new home should be in the south.

Primarily known internationally is the south of Portugal, which consists of the three regions Algarve, Alentejo and Terras do Sado. Faro, Portalegre, Beja and Évora are the largest cities in the south of Portugal. In these southern areas, expect lots of sun, lots of sea, lots of beach life and a dry, hot climate.

While the sun-drenched Algarve, with its fine sandy beaches, imposing cliffs and dreamy, romantic villages, is dominated by tourism, the sparsely populated Alentejo offers extensive olive groves, grain fields and cork oaks. Sheep farming is also omnipresent in this region.

Numerous meadows are used for this purpose. In summer, these meadows provide a visually impressive play of colors, when they are covered with a true flowering splendor.

Do you prefer hilly or mountainous terrain?

Then you should look more intensively at Central Portugal. The Serra de Estrela range is enthroned in the middle of this region, a mountain range that is especially famous for its numerous hiking opportunities and winter sports.

In addition, you are virtually at the source here: the entire region, with its immensely fertile soils and favorable climate, is one of the best wine-growing areas in all of Europe.

For a city trip with historico-cultural intentions, Lisbon, Viseu, Leiria, Sintra, Coimbra and Castelo Branco and Santarém are also ideal.

Northeast Portugal is where it gets really mountainous

The northeast of Portugal is even more mountainous. Here lies the region of Trás-os-Montes, which literally means “behind the mountains”. From a landscape perspective, this name reflects the general policy here. Mountains, hills and comparatively sparse vegetation dominate the scenery. Extremely hot summers and very cold winters are also characteristic of northeastern Portugal.

Living in Portugal’s garden of Eden – another possibility

The north of the country is attracting increasing numbers of emigrants. Although life here doesn’t have that dolce vita feeling as in the Algarve or the southern regions, you’re living here in Portugal’s own garden of Eden.

You’ll encounter highly developed vegetation, a comparatively cool and humid climate and the most densely populated area in all of Portugal. Characteristic for this region are the numerous rivers and river valleys, on whose slopes wine is usually cultivated.


8 valid reasons for Portugal

Finally, I have summarized for you what I consider to be Portugal’s most compelling advantages in 2022 in an infographic.

Digital Nomad Portugal EN I consider Portugal to be the optimal emigration destination due to its advantages in terms of quality of life and economics. I would be interested to know: What do you think, after reading this? If you have any questions or even suggestions on the subject, feel free to write in the comments or use the contact form.

FAQ - Frequently asked questions & answers

Read the most frequently asked questions about taxes on Portugal and the NHR system. 


The NHR system is Portuguese tax legislation designed to attract foreigners with high value-added potential, such as entrepreneurs, high net worth individuals, as well as professionals and retirees.

NHR stands for non-habitual resident (also known as residente não habitual – RNH) and refers to a tax status granted by Portugal. Specifically, it means that foreigners with a non-habitual resident status can benefit from certain tax rates.

Tax relief is realized under the NHR program. The NHR status is valid for 10 years from the date of application.

In principle, any adult citizen with an EU residence certificate can apply for the NHR program.

However, only the following groups of people are suited to the program: entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals, professionals of cultural or economic value, and pensioners or retirees.

  • Non-resident tax legislation in Portugal applies to citizens who are at least 18 years old
  • You must have the right to reside within the EU
  • You must not have been a Portuguese citizen for the last 5 years
  • You must be able to prove a residence in Portugal
  • You belong to one of the categories of persons to whom the NHR system applies.
  • If you live in Portugal for more than 183 days (with or without interruptions) in any 12-month period.
  • For a shorter stay: if you own (or rent for at least 12 months) a property in Portugal that indicates an intention to keep and use it as a residence
  • You were a member of a ship’s crew or an aircraft on December 31, provided that the company has its actual residence in that territory
  • You perform functions or activities abroad on behalf of the Portuguese state

Yes, if you are not able to prove your tax residency.

  1. You must register as a non-resident taxpayer
  2. You have to present a certificate of residence
  3. You must register as a tax resident
  4. Then you can apply for non-habitual resident NHR status here: https://www.acesso.gov.pt

First, you must have registered as a Portuguese resident. Then you must request a password on the Finanças portal: www.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt.

To do this, click on “Registar-se” and fill out the form. After registration, the password will be sent to your address. With the help of this password, you can now apply for NHR registration on the Finanças portal.

You must follow these steps to do so: Cidadãos > Serviços > Dados > Cadastrais > Residente Não Habitual > Entregar Pedido de Inscrição.

The NHR application can only be submitted after you have applied to become a resident in the Portuguese territory. You can apply for resident status at any local tax office or citizen service center.

The application must be submitted by March 31. Please note that you must have submitted proof of habitual residence by December 31.

You can make an inquiry about the NHR system at the following site:  https://www.acesso.gov.pt/v2/loginForm

Case I: You have received NHR status

If your NHR application has been accepted by the Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira, you can view the proof through the finanças portal at the following link: Cidadãos > Serviços > Dados Cadastrais > Residente Não Habitual > Consultar Pedido de Inscrição

Case II: You have been rejected

If your application has been rejected, you will receive a rejection letter from the Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira. In the rejection letter you will receive information about the reasons for the decision. You are free to appeal the decision.

The main advantages of the NHR program are

    – Tax exemption on foreign source income

    – 20% flat tax rate for certain professions and self-employment

    – No gift and inheritance taxes to immediate family members

    – No wealth tax

    – Free transfer of funds to Portugal

    – Country on white tax-list within the EU

    – No minimum residence required

If you receive income from a country that has a double taxation treaty with Portugal, then you do not have to pay tax on your income. If the country your income comes from is on the blacklist of tax havens, then a flat tax rate of 20% applies – as long as you come from high-value-added activities.

Under the following link you can see the countries that have a DTA with Portugal: https://info.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt/

Yes, as an entrepreneur it’s possible to enjoy the benefits of the NHR status in Portugal under certain circumstances. One solution would be to combine the NHR status with a Malta Limited company. You can find more details in this article:

Since solutions vary greatly from case to case and are highly complex, you should seek advice on this and not choose a one-size-fits-all solution.

Yes, through programs such as the Golden Visa program.

  1. Earned income (either tax-free or flat tax rate of 20% if it is not from one of the permitted high value-added professions)
  2. Income from self-employment (provided it comes from a recognized profession and there is a DTA with the country of origin or the OECD model convention applies)
  3. Royalties and income from financial assets
  4. Real estate income and capital gains
  5. Pension income

If the country does not have a DTA with Portugal and if the country is not on the blacklist of tax havens, the OECD Model Tax Convention applies.

  • General managers and senior executives
  • Managers of administrative and commercial services
  • Managers of production and specialized services
  • Managers of hospitality, trade and other services
  • Professionals in physics, mathematics, engineering and similar technical professions
  • Doctors, dentists
  • Architects, engineers, geologists
  • Tax consultants, auditors
  • University professors
  • Psychologists
  • Technicians and practitioners of other liberal professions
  • Biologists, archaeologists, researchers, developers, computer scientists, designers and journalists
  • Visual artists such as painters and sculptors
  • Actors and musicians for theater, ballet, film, television, radio, theater or ballet
  • Members of company boards and management
  • Investors
  • Information and service providers
  • Computer programmers Software consultants
  • Computer consultants and related services
  • etc.

Employment income

Portuguese earned income is generally taxed at a standard progressive tax rate. If the income is derived from high value added employment, a 20% rate may be applied.

Income from employment

Income from employment is generally taxed at a standard progressive tax rate. If the income is derived from high value added employment, a 20% rate may be applied.

Real estate income and capital gains

Rental income is taxed either at a 28% tax rate or at the normal progressive tax rate. Net capital gains are taxed at a rate of 50% at the normal progressive tax rates.

Pension income

Pension income is taxed at the normal rates.

If so, please use the contact form. I am looking forward to your questions! 


The above-mentioned article is simply based on independent research carried out by Philipp Sauerborn and cannot constitute any form of legal advice. If you would like to receive further information, please contact us for an appointment.

You can find more information here

In closing: Do you have questions or need advice?

I know: It’s a lot of input!

A lot of work went into this overview and I hope it was helpful to you.

Is anything still unclear? Or do you need more information on a specific topic?

My offer to you: Book an initial consultation with me in the adjacent form.

I’m looking forward to your inquiry. Until then, with sunny greetings from Malta, I am

Philipp Sauerborn

About Philipp M. Sauerborn

Philipp Maria Sauerborn is a certified tax advisor and expert in International Tax & Blockchain. As CEO of Dr. Werner & Partner in Malta, he has already advised over 3000 clients on their tax situation.

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8 Responses

  1. Hi Phillip,
    Very informative article on NHR, thank you. I am considering a move to Portugal, but am not sure if it’s right for me.

    One question I have is related to gifting of property. If living in Portugal as an NHR, what would be the tax implications in Portugal of gifting a foreign property (eg holiday home located in France or UK) to my children. They say there are no gift taxes, but would I be liable to any Capital Gains tax based on the value of the property I am gifting?

    Thanks for any advice this.

  2. Hi Philipp,
    Interesting and detailed guide, thanks!
    I have just moved to Portugal and started a job in what I believe is a high value added activity. I qualify for NHR.
    Is the 20% tax rate applied “upfront” where my employer uses a tax code to withhold 20%, or is it “retrospective” where my employer deducts the normal tax and then I claim back the difference when I complete the IRS declaration at the end of the tax year?
    Many thanks,

    1. Dear Pete,
      thank you for contacting us, the 20% in regard to Income Tax get usually deducted directly by your employer through their accounting software, there is a particular code that considers NHR accordingly as well as the social contributions that apply to you, in case you want assistance with the NHR application we look forward to hearing from you.

      1. Dear Pete.

        I have a question. For those who are freelancers and have clients from outside Portugal (EEUU and EU countries..). As I understood, there’s the 20 % flat rate but.. ¿how much are the social security contributions?

        Look forward to hearing from you

  3. Hi, I am about to negotiate a contract with an employer who will pay me via Deel. The employer is based on the UK but they are paying me via a company called Deel: http://www.letsdeel.com. The job profession I will will have with them as Solutions Consultant of an AI matchmaking platform.

    On top of this I am a company director of a UK company and want to look at the best set up for me personally to be tax-efficient, I understand that under NHR I can make dividend payments to myself from the UK company.

    Both myself and my partner are UK citizens but with Portuguese residency, we each are registered for Tax in Portugal with fiscal numbers.

    We have a rental agreement for our property whilst we look for a property to purchase.

    Look forward to hearing from you.


    1. Dear Neil,

      The NHR Program is usually quite interesting in a scenario like yours but as you are already registered for Tax in Portugal with fiscal numbers, you won’t be able to join the NHR Program for 10 years once a personal tax number is issued towards you in Portugal, sorry to have to say that the benefits won’t be available like this to you.


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The above-mentioned article is simply based on independent research carried out by Philipp Sauerborn and cannot constitute any form of legal advice. If you would like to receive further information, please contact us for an appointment.

You can find more information here

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