How to open an account in Portugal
If we consider the best and most reliable solutions for opening accounts for non-residents, then Portugal definitely deserves attention. The country is part of the European Union, characterized by a developed economy, offering a favorable environment for doing business. With a modern banking infrastructure in place, Portugal, unlike many other European jurisdictions, continues to remain open to non-resident companies.
Important! Portuguese banks can accept companies from all EU countries, and even from Hong Kong and Singapore. Bankers are ready to enter into dialogue with entrepreneurs, delve into the specifics of the business, look for ways to minimize risks together with the client.
In order to establish constructive communication with bank representatives, and successfully open an account in Portugal for a non-resident , it is worth enlisting the support of experts with relevant experience. You can find such experts among the members of the Lawrange JSC team. Give us a problem and expect a ready-made solution, while you yourself focus on the business!
Peculiarities of Portugal as a financial jurisdiction
The Portuguese government systematically supports the course of attracting foreign capital to the country. For this purpose, a loyal taxation system operates, territories with a special economic status and preferential tax regime are being created, and a profitable program for obtaining citizenship through investment in the economy is proposed.
Note! The efforts of the Portuguese authorities resonate with foreign entrepreneurs. Business registration + account opening is a popular solution that many non-residents have already used. The Autonomous Region of Madeira, the International Business Center of Madeira (IBCM), is especially popular for business registration. At the same time, foreign capital also comes to other regions of the country. This is facilitated by the geographically advantageous position of the country and the resort status of a significant part of the territory.
The Portuguese banking system, administered by the Central Bank, includes a large number of institutions. The European Central Bank has a significant impact on the country’s financial sector. As in other EU countries, Portugal’s currency is the euro.
Some of the main advantages of banks in Portugal:
- stability and reliability, proven over the years;
- loyalty to non-resident applications for opening accounts, both personal and corporate;
- the ability to open a business account without visiting the country;
- a moderate list of requirements for foreigners wishing to open an account;
- lower likelihood of refusal to open an account for a non-resident than in banking institutions in other European countries;
- a wide range of banking products and well-established Internet banking;
- relatively low service fees for corporate accounts;
- in order to avoid a language barrier, the availability of services for foreigners is completely in English.
For your information! One of the strengths of the Portuguese banking sector is the Multibanco interbank system that connects Portuguese banks into a common network. As a result, money can be withdrawn from any ATM in the country without paying commissions. Also, without commission payments, regardless of the bank serving the client, you can pay bills, make contributions to social security and taxes, make transfers, and so on.
For many entrepreneurs and many types of business, a Portuguese bank account is the best option on the way to developing the European market. A favorable atmosphere for the creation and expansion of most types of entrepreneurship is provided by flexible taxation: income tax is 21%, for a free economic zone – 5%.
Despite the fact that the country’s banking sector can be considered one of the most harmoniously functioning in Europe, bankers do not refuse to cooperate with non-residents (subject to preliminary verification and current control during operations).
Particularly noteworthy is the package of registration of a company in Madeira + opening a corporate account for it in a bank in Portugal. When the client successfully passes the identification and proves the legality of the origin of the funds, he manages to gain access to a set of convenient banking services for doing business, both in the EU and around the world.
Requirements and restrictions for opening an account in Portugal
Representatives of some banks in Portugal are ready to consider options for accepting companies registered in the following jurisdictions:
- in all countries of the European Union;
- in the UK;
- in Singapore and Hong Kong;
- in some other states.
Important! The ability to open an account without the obligatory confirmation of economic ties with the country is one of the main advantages of Portugal as a financial jurisdiction.
But this advantage in most cases can be used by foreign companies that do not have members from the CIS. Otherwise, an economic connection with Portugal by banks is requested. Therefore, under such circumstances, the best way to open an account in the country is through the registration of a Portuguese company. Such a company would be associated with local customers, contractors or suppliers.
Bank preferences when opening a business account:
- trade and services, including telecommunications, are acceptable among the types of activities;
- foreign citizens or companies are allowed among shareholders, partners, directors;
- CIS citizens are also considered as potential clients, but they will face more thorough compliance (which sometimes affects the timing of opening an account);
- initially, to open a commercial account, you need only 10 to 500 euros, depending on the bank;
- although banks are loyal to foreigners, most likely they will not cooperate with citizens of states on the OFAC (US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control) sanctions lists;
- bankers pay close attention to licenses for real estate, insurance and financial services.
Warning To open a business account, you need to obtain a Portuguese Tax ID.
Obtaining a tax number in Portugal
Personal tax numbers (Número de Identificação Fiscal, NIF) must be obtained by all owners and directors of the company. Also, a legal entity is required to obtain its own tax number – NIPC (Número de Identificação de Pessoa Coletiva).
Note! For EU residents, including long-term visa holders in Portugal, the procedure for obtaining a NIF is simplified. It is enough just to visit the tax office with a passport. For non-residents, the procedure is more complicated. To pass it, you need a tax representative (representante fiscal) – a Portuguese citizen or a legal resident.
The tax representative assumes responsibility for the interaction between the tax office and the applicant who does not reside permanently in Portugal. If you open an account in Portugal with the support of Lawrange JSC, then resolving the issue with a tax representative is included in our range of services.
In the list of documents for obtaining a NIF:
- international passport;
- proof of address in the country of residence (bank statement or utility bill with Portuguese translation);
- power of attorney for the tax representative;
- consent of the tax representative to act in the interests of the person concerned – Aceitação da representação;
- ID of the representative.
The possibility of obtaining NIF online is now available. The cost of obtaining a tax number is 10.20 € (excluding representative fees). Time of receipt online – from 1 to 7 days.
Documents for opening a bank account in Portugal
Registration of a bank account is carried out within 15 days from the date of company registration (if you have requested a package of services “company registration + account opening”). The prospect should first obtain prior approval from the bank.
Important! In order to obtain preliminary approval, the bank is provided with certain information (by filling out a questionnaire). The following must be specified:
where the funds will be credited to the account – from an individual or legal entity, from another banking institution;
origin of funds;
directions of the company’s activity – geography, contractors, main contracts.
Submission of original documents is made after obtaining prior approval. In the bank documentation package:
- corporate documents with apostille or consular legalization, not older than one year: – Certificate of registration;
- Memorandum of Association;
- Articles of Association;
- Minutes of the meeting of participants, appointment of a director or secretary;
- Shareholder resolution;
- Good Stading or Certifcate of incumbency (not older than one year);
- A summary of company information held by Companies House (for UK incorporated companies not older than one year);
- identity cards of directors and owners of the company, signatories to the account (scanned copies of spreads of passports), as well as proof of address in the country of residence (Utility) – utility bill or bank statement not older than three months, document confirming tax number in the country of citizenship;
- Tax ID for individuals (NIF): account owners, directors and signatories;
- Tax ID Company (NIPC);
- optional – confirmation of business ties with Portugal;
- CV of the beneficiary / director, certificate of the position held on company letterhead.
– All documents should be submitted as good quality scanned copies.
– Banks handle documents in Portuguese, English and Spanish.
– If the document is in another language, a legalized translation into English will be required.
Opening a corporate account with Novo Banco SA
As a matter of priority, Lawrange offers its clients to consider the option of opening an account with the Portuguese bank Novo Banco SA, since this institution provides a number of advantages for non-residents. Bank Novo Banco SA is our trusted and reliable partner, where a current account can be issued without personal presence . Our lawyers fill out pre-approval forms, and then prepare and submit the required documentation package directly to open an account.
The main advantages of Novo Banco for non-resident companies:
- the client is not required to have a minimum account balance or deposit, there are no restrictions on the number of transactions during a month or a year;
- the client can change the daily payment limit;
- the duration of transactions does not exceed two days, urgent transfers are available;
- pre-check is carried out within one working day based on a short questionnaire;
- the description of the company’s activities is to provide information on the field of activity and partners;
- a relatively small list of documents that should be sent to the bank to open an account – only scans of a standard set of corporate documents, as well as documents and information on directors, partners, shareholders;
- sending corporate documents in paper form is not required, both at the stage of preliminary consideration and after opening an account;
- account can be opened remotely in just two weeks , this does not require a power of attorney for a representative, interviews, visits to the consulate or a notary for certification signatures on bank forms;
- availability of a convenient and free for the first two years of client-bank in Portuguese, Spanish and English;
- favorable rates:
– opening an account – free of charge;
– the cost of using a client bank after two free years – 10 EUR per month;
– incoming payments – free;
– outgoing calls by SEPA free of charge up to EUR 100,000, more – EUR 20;
– outgoing SWIFT: up to 150 EUR – 12 EUR, from 150.01 to 12 500 EUR – 29 EUR, from 12500.01 EUR – 0.25% (minimum 41 EUR, maximum 110 EUR).
- while the account currency is EUR, in addition, accounts can be opened in: USD, CHF, CNY, GBP, CAD, HKD, JPY, TRY, CZK, DKK, RUB, PLN, HUF, AUD, MXN, NOK, NZD, SEK, ZAR.
*** Note: The pre-check questionnaire can be found in the attachment. Recently, it has become much smaller, which contributes to a comfortable and quick filling.
Important! In view of these advantages, the offer from Novo Banco can be considered one of the best in Europe. The main thing is that the bankers of this institution are ready to delve into the specifics of the business of entrepreneurs from the CIS, if necessary, to consider options for reducing risks and reaching compromises. For a Western European bank, this is an uncharacteristic strategy.
Other options for opening an account in Portugal
The country is characterized by an extremely ramified financial system, which includes dozens of institutions of various types. These include private national and international banks, regional cooperative and state retail banks, as well as investment banking institutions, savings banks and online banks. But at the same time, only a few institutions are loyal to non-residents. In addition to Novo Banco, you can consider Millenium (BCP) Portugal, Caixa Geral de Depositos, Banco BPI, Banco Santander Totta for opening a business account.
Millenium (BCP) Portugal
One of the largest and most reputable banks in the country. He entered the market in 1985. Now it serves more than 4.3 million customers worldwide, includes more than 900 branches in the structure.
- service – once a quarter 18 EUR;
- transfers via SEPA – up to 50,000 EUR free of charge, then from 1 to 20 EUR depending on the amount (commission for urgent payment – 19 EUR);
- transfers via SWIFT – 0.2% (minimum EUR 19, maximum EUR 106).
Caixa Geral de Depositos
A public banking institution that is the second largest in Portugal. Corporate clients are offered service packages to choose from Conta Caixa Business and Conta Caixa Business + with some differences in tariffs and monthly service fees.
- service – 10 EUR monthly;
- initial deposit – at least 500 EUR.
Portugal is a promising financial jurisdiction for non-residents. A rather difficult, but quite realistic option is to open an account for companies with foreign registration, up to Singapore and Hong Kong.
The experts of JSC Lawrange recommend to their clients to consider the possibility of registering a company together with opening an account in one package. In particular, the Madeira Free Zone is ideally suited for this.
Our team is ready to carefully study the specifics of your business, in order to then build constructive communication with Portuguese bankers, and 100% use the opportunity to open an account. We have accumulated experience in solving problems of varying complexity, so we are ready to act even in the event of unforeseen obstacles and complications. Our goal is a successful result for the client and a commitment to long-term cooperation in the future.