How to Get a NISS Number in Portugal: Your Guide to Portuguese Social SecurityIntroduction

Obtaining a NISS number in Portugal is an essential step for anyone working or residing in the country. The NISS (Número de Identificação da Segurança Social) is the Portuguese social security number, which is necessary for accessing various social security benefits, including healthcare, pensions, and unemployment benefits. This guide provides detailed information on how to get a NISS number in Portugal, including the option to apply online.

Understanding the NISS NumberWhat is a NISS Number?

The NISS, or Número de Identificação da Segurança Social, is a unique identification number assigned to individuals for social security purposes in Portugal. It is crucial for:

  • Employment: Required for employment contracts and social security contributions.
  • Healthcare: Accessing the public healthcare system.
  • Pensions: Eligibility for retirement and disability pensions.
  • Unemployment Benefits: Accessing unemployment support.

Who Needs a NISS Number?

Anyone working in Portugal, including expatriates, self-employed individuals, and residents, needs a NISS number. It is also required for non-working residents who wish to access social security benefits.

How to Apply for a NISS NumberApplying in Person

You can apply for a NISS number in person at any local Segurança Social (Social Security Office) in Portugal. Here’s how:

  1. Visit a Social Security Office: Locate your nearest Segurança Social office.
  2. Provide Identification: Bring a valid passport or EU ID card.
  3. Proof of Address: Provide proof of your address in Portugal.
  4. Employment Contract: If you are employed, bring your employment contract.
  5. Complete the Application: Fill out the necessary forms provided by the Social Security Office.
  6. Receive Your NISS: Your NISS number will be issued on the spot or sent to you by mail.

Applying Online

For convenience, you can also apply for a NISS number online. This process is particularly useful for those who prefer to handle the application remotely.

Steps to Apply Online

  1. Access Social Security Direct: Visit the official Portuguese Social Security website (Segurança Social Direta).
  2. Register for an Account: Create an account on the Segurança Social Direta portal.
  3. Submit Documents: Upload scanned copies of your passport, proof of address, and employment contract (if applicable).
  4. Fill Out the Application Form: Complete the online application form with the required information.
  5. Submit the Application: Submit your application through the online portal.
  6. Receive Your NISS: Your NISS number will be sent to you electronically or by mail.

Using Online Services

Several online platforms and agencies offer assistance with the NISS application process. These services typically involve:

  • Registration on the Platform: Create an account and provide your details.
  • Document Submission: Upload the required documents (passport, proof of address, employment contract).
  • Payment of Fees: Pay the service fee, which includes the application handling.
  • Processing Time: The processing time can vary but usually takes a few days to a couple of weeks.
  • Receiving the NISS: Your NISS number will be sent to you via email or through the platform.

Why You Need a NISS NumberEmployment

A NISS number is mandatory for employment in Portugal. Employers use your NISS to report your social security contributions, which fund various benefits, including healthcare and pensions.

Healthcare Access

With a NISS number, you can access Portugal’s public healthcare system. It allows you to register with a local health center and receive medical treatment.

Pensions and Benefits

The NISS is essential for accessing retirement pensions, disability benefits, and other social security benefits. It ensures that your contributions are recorded and that you are eligible for the appropriate support.

Unemployment Support

In case of unemployment, having a NISS number allows you to apply for unemployment benefits and receive financial support while you search for a new job.

Frequently Asked QuestionsCan I Get a NISS Number Before Starting Work?

Yes, you can apply for a NISS number before starting work in Portugal. It is advisable to obtain your NISS as soon as possible to avoid any delays in accessing social security benefits.

Do I Need a NISS for Part-Time Work?

Yes, all employees, regardless of whether they work full-time or part-time, need a NISS number for their social security contributions.

How Long Does It Take to Get a NISS?

If you apply in person, you can get your NISS immediately or within a few days. Online applications may take a few days to a couple of weeks.

Is There a Fee for Getting a NISS Number?

There is no fee for applying for a NISS number through the Social Security Office. However, if you use an online service or agency, there may be a service fee.


Getting a NISS number in Portugal is a crucial step for anyone planning to work or reside in the country. Whether you choose to apply in person or online, having a NISS ensures that you can access social security benefits, including healthcare, pensions, and unemployment support. Make sure you have all the required documents and follow the steps outlined in this guide to obtain your NISS smoothly and efficiently.

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