Company Registration in Portugal - Business Starting & Setup

Want to set up a firm in Portugal? We can assist you in starting a business or in buying a shelf company in Portugal with a full package of necessary documents, legal advice and follow-up support. Incorporation of a firm in Portugal includes provision of a registered office (for at least 1 year in any of our service plans), an apostilled set of constitutional documents, secretarial services and assistance with compliance fee and pre-approval for opening an account in banks of Portugal. The total price of company formation in Portugal includes all necessary fees and charges for the first year of operation, as well as full one-year nominee service (package Optimum).

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Service packages Legislation Tax System Audit Services
Service packages
Company registration
Legal address per year
Secretarial services for the first year
Fees and duties for the first year
Apostilled bound set of incorporation documents
Nominee service per year
Bank Account Pre-approval
7 500 USD

12 400 USD

13 010 USD

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Corporate Information

Legal system

The Portuguese legal system is a civil law or continental legal system, based on Roman law. Portuguese law is mainly influenced by French law. EU law is now a major driving force in many respects, such as corporate law, administrative law and civil procedure.

Basic corporate Law of Portugal is found in the Commercial Code (1888, as amended).

Types of entity in Portugal

Under Portuguese legislation, the following types of commercial entities may be established in Portugal to carry on business:

  • sole proprietor (Empresário em Nome Individual);
  • individual limited liability establishment (Estabelecimento Individual de Responsabilidade Limitada);
  • partnership company (Sociedade em Nome Coletivo);
  • limited partnership company (Sociedades em Comandita);
  • cooperative;
  • limited liability company (Sociedade por Quotas);
  • public limited company (Sociedade anônima );
  • branch of a foreign entity.

The most common type of company in Portugal is limited labiality company (Lda.).


Company name

The usual company name format in Portugal is “Name – Business Activity, Extension”, but the business activity component is now optional and many newly incorporated companies are dropping it. As regards the extension, a quota company must end its name with Lda. If the quota company has a single quota holder, then the name must end with “Unipessoal, Lda”.

In the event you do not have a preferred name, a "pre-approved name" will be adopted. This is a fantasy name from a list that is put together and regularly updated by the company registry office, from which anyone can choose a company name that will not be challenged for being confusable. Names on this list cannot be reserved and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

If a specific name is to be adopted, you can either adopt the name(s) of the main shareholder(s) or a fantasy name of your choice. In the latter case you should provide at least 3 alternative names, as the registrar has to ensure that it shall be unique and not confusable with an existing company name. The name may be any name in any language, but it must in the Roman alphabet and must not be misleading, contain sensitive words, or suggest an activity subject to special authorization (e.g. financial).

Process of a Company Registration in Portugal

There are two ways of starting a business in Portugal:

1) "On the Spot Firm" (Empresa na Hora). This service enables to set up a company in less than an hour at a single contact point:, all the procedures are carried out in one place and as long as the partners have all of necessary documents, the company is set up immediately at one of the desks of the On the Spot Firm, available throughout the country, regardless of the location of the company’s headquarters. Registration procedure includes the following steps:

  • Choose a name from the list of pre-approved names available at the website On the Spot Firm, or check the list that is available at the On the Spot Firm’s desk. The name chosen will only be kept until you come to the desk and start the setting-up process.
  • Choose one of the pre-approved standard memorandum and articles of association packs, available at On the Spot Firm and in the portfolio of packs available at the desks.
  • Obtain a certificate of incorporation, the corporate identification card, the Social Security number, the deed, and a business registration certificate. For tax purposes, the declaration of commencement of activity can be submitted at the help desk, duly signed by the accountant. If this is not submitted right away, it must be done within 15 days of the incorporation.

Incorporation under "Empresa na Hora" costs EUR 360.

2) "Online company setting up” (Empresa Online). This service enables to set up a company through the Internet in 1 to 2 days. The access to the service On-Line Company (‘Empresa Online’) can be made through the Business Portal (

Incorporation a company under "Empresa na Hora" costs EUR 360 if not incorporated with pre-approved by-laws, or EUR 220 if incorporated with pre-approved by-laws.

After incorporation of a company the employers must register with the social security regional center. The employers shall communicate the admission of employees to the Portuguese Social Security services of the area of the employee's workplace, by any written means, or online at, within (i) 24 hours preceding the employment agreement’s entry into force; or (ii) 24 hours following the beginning of the activity. The non-compliance with this obligation implies the assumption that the relevant employee started to work for the company on the 1st working day of the sixth month prior to the occurrence of the infringement. In case the relevant employee is receiving sickness or unemployment benefits there is also an assumption that the employ started to work for the company on the date in which those benefits were granted, whereby the company will be severally liable for returning the whole amounts unduly received by the employee by the Portuguese Social Security. Moreover, the non-compliance with the above mentioned obligation may result in a minor or a serious misdemeanor, depending on its compliance within 24 hours after the deadline or after that, corresponding to a fine from € 75 up to € 4,800.

Local registered office

All Portuguese businesses need a registered office where the authorities can send official letters and claims, as well as where control of the tax forms is executed. All financial and fiscal documents, registers, company papers etc. must be kept at the registered office of the business, but they may be kept in digital format.


Under Portuguese law, a company is not required to have a corporate seal. The standard practice is to have a rubber stamp, but even this is becoming less common.


The redomiciliation of companies either to or from Portugal is permitted.

Company Structure


In Portuguese companies at least one director is required. There are no legal restrictions on the nationality or place of residence of Portuguese company directors. But please note that each of them has to have or obtain a Portuguese taxpayer identification number and that non-EU/EEA entities must have a resident tax representative.

Corporate directors are permitted, but in this case an individual representative of the corporate director must be appointed and registered with the registry office.

It should be noted that under Portuguese law a company director can be personally jointly liable with the company in connection with any company's unpaid taxes and social security contributions that originated or became due during his/her term as a director. For this reason, the availability of nominee directors is very scarce, those available are relatively highly paid and as a rule will not issue general powers of attorney - only specific ones.

There are no requirements to meeting of Board of directors.

Names of directors do appear in public records.


For Portuguese companies, secretary is optional, but it is recommended in the event that the company does not have a Portugal resident director. The secretary is appointed by the general meeting of quota holders. The secretary is appointed for the same term as that of the officers that appointed him/her.

The secretary must be an individual, must hold a “suitable academic degree” and, except in the case of companies belonging to the same group of companies, may not act as the secretary of more than 7 companies.


A Portuguese company must have at least 2 shareholders. There are no legal restrictions on the nationality or place of residence of the shareholders of a Portuguese company and they may be either individuals or corporate bodies. But please note that each of them has to have or obtain a Portuguese taxpayer identification number and that non-EU/EEA entities must have a resident tax representative.

Names of shareholders do appear on public records.

Shareholders must hold General Assembly annually to approve the annual financial statements within 3 months from the close of the fiscal year to which it relates.


In 2017, the Law on the Central Registry of Beneficial Owners was adopted.

BOCR is a database containing information on individuals who own or control legal entities - directly, indirectly or through third parties.

Information on beneficial owners in BOCR is provided online on the IRN website. The information must be accurate, allow to identify the ultimate beneficial owner (name, date of birth, address of residence), and must reflect the nature and extent of his/her participation in the legal entity. The date when the individual became the beneficiary is also indicated.

Using information from the register, the tax authorities will be able to check whether the company applies tax rates on tax treaties reasonably, and will be able to monitor transactions between related persons of the same beneficiary.

Share capital and shares

Since January 2011, there is no minimum capital required for Limited Liability Companies in Portugal. Partners must define a certain amount which is represented by “quotas” (shares), each one with a minimum value of € 1.00 and may assume different values.

Shares in a private company are usually transferred by a written agreement duly registered at the appropriate Registry Office.

Bearer shares and shares with no par value are not allowed.

Frequently Asked Questions about Company Registration in Portugal

Can a foreigner register a company in Portugal?
Yes, a foreigner can register a company in Portugal. There is no legal restriction on foreign ownership of companies in Portugal, and the process of registering a company is straightforward and similar to the process in many other countries. To incorporate a company in Portugal, you will need to follow a set of legal and administrative procedures, including choosing a company name, preparing and submitting the articles of incorporation, registering the company with the Portuguese Commercial Register, obtaining a tax number and registering for tax, and obtaining any necessary licenses or permits. It is important to note that the specific requirements and procedures for starting a company in Portugal may vary depending on the type of company you wish to establish and the nature of your business. Therefore, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of a local lawyer or accountant to ensure that you comply with all relevant regulations and procedures.
Is Portugal tax heaven country?
No, Portugal is not considered a tax haven. While the country does offer some tax benefits for residents and non-residents, it is not considered to be a tax haven because it is transparent and compliant with international tax regulations. The Portuguese government has made efforts to promote Portugal as an attractive location for foreign investment, but it does not offer the same level of tax secrecy or low tax rates that are often associated with tax havens.
What is the company tax rate in Portugal?
The standard corporate tax rate in Portugal is currently 25%. However, some companies may be eligible for special tax regimes that provide for a reduced rate, such as the "Innovative Company" regime, which allows for a rate of 10%. There may also be specific tax benefits for companies operating in certain industries, such as the film industry. It's important to note that in addition to the corporate tax rate, companies in Portugal are also subject to other taxes, such as value-added tax (VAT) and payroll taxes. Additionally, some companies may be subject to specific taxes based on the type of business they engage in, such as real estate taxes.
How much is the VAT in Portugal?
The standard value-added tax (VAT) rate in Portugal is 23%. There is also a reduced VAT rate of 6% for certain goods and services such as food and beverage products, books, and cultural events, among others. There may be changes to the VAT rates in Portugal, so it's always a good idea to check with the relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information.
How much does it cost to register a company in Portugal?
The fee for setting up a company in Portugal depends on the type of company to be registered and the type of activity you will be engaged in. The minimum package of services costs USD 9090 and includes: registration of a Portuguese company "turnkey", lease of the legal address for a year and secretarial services, payment of all necessary duties and fees, as well as apostilled translation of the founding documents.

Core Services and fees for the formation of a company in Portugal

— Incorporation

Price7 500 EUR

including incorporation tax, state registry fee, NOT including Compliance fee

— Annual government fees


Stamp Duty and Companies Registry Office incorporation fee

— Corporate legal services

Price6 500 EUR

including registered address and registered agent, NOT including Compliance fee

—Delivery of documents by courier mail

Price250 EUR

DHL or TNT, at cost of a Courier Service

— Apostilled set of Statutory documents

Pricefrom 600 EUR

Basic set of documents for setup of a company in Portugal

Company Card / Cartao da Empresa

Certificate of Incorporation / Certidao Permanente

Articles of Association/ Contrato de Sociedade por Quotas

Compare Jurisdictions

    Local Director Services

    Pricefrom 4 900 EUR

    Manager Services

    Pricefrom 2 800 EUR

    Compliance fee in Portugal

    Compliance fee is payable in the cases of: incorporation of a company, renewal of a company, liquidation of a company, transfer out of a company, issue of a power of attorney to a new attorney, change of director / shareholder / BO (except the change to a nominee director / shareholder), signing of documents


    Price350 EUR

    simple company structure with only 1 physical person

    For legal entity in structure under GSL administration

    Price150 EUR

    additional compliance fee for legal entity in structure under GSL administration (per 1 entity)

    For legal entity in structure not under GSL administration

    Price200 EUR

    additional compliance fee for legal entity in structure NOT under GSL administration (per 1 entity)

    For client with high risk Status

    Price450 EUR

    Signing of documents

    Price100 EUR

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