Obtaining a NISS (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social) in Portugal is essential for work, freelancing, or studying in the country. This unique social security number grants access to benefits like healthcare and education.
The application process is straightforward but requires specific documents and an in-person visit to the Social Security office. Our article guides you through the process, ensuring a smooth experience in Portugal for expatriates, students, and freelancers.
What is the Portugal Social Security Number (NISS)?
The Portugal Social Security Number, known as NISS (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social), is a unique identification number issued by the Portuguese Social Security system. It is assigned to individuals who work, study, or engage in other activities in Portugal that require access to social security benefits and services.
If you are employed by a company, your employer will facilitate the process, although you will still need to provide the required documents (outlined below). However, if you are self-employed, you will be responsible for completing the application independently.
Your NISS number is pivotal for the allocation of social security contributions to the Portuguese government, the rates of which are determined by the nature of your work in Portugal. Typically, employers contribute at a rate of 23.75%, while employees contribute at a rate of 11%.
What is the difference between NISS, NIF and SNS numbers?
In Portugal, there are several important identification numbers that residents typically require. The most frequently requested one is the NIF, which you’ll need for almost every purchase or registration. Additionally, there’s the “numero de utente” or SNS number, essential for accessing the public healthcare system. Another crucial identifier is the NISS (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social), also known as the social security number.
Unlike the NIF, which is a necessity for all residents of Portugal, the NISS is not universally required. It becomes necessary when you are actively working in Portugal, whether as an employee, freelancer. If you are retired, for instance, a NISS may not be needed.
The NISS plays a crucial role in ensuring that your social security payments are properly collected. This is not only a legal requirement but also provides entitlement to “segurança social” benefits, such as assistance if you lose your job or are unable to work due to illness.
Portuguese Social Security Benefits
In Portugal, the social security system offers a range of benefits to citizens and residents to provide financial support and assistance in various life situations. Some of the key social security benefits in Portugal include:
Old-Age Pension (Pensão de Velhice): This benefit provides financial support to individuals who have reached the legal retirement age and have contributed to the social security system. The amount of the pension is based on the individual’s contribution history.
Disability Pension (Pensão de Invalidez): This benefit is for individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. It offers financial support to help cover living expenses and medical costs.
Survivor’s Pension (Pensão de Sobrevivência): Available to the surviving spouse or dependents of a deceased individual who was a contributor to the social security system. It provides financial assistance to help cope with the loss of the primary wage earner.
Unemployment Benefit (Subsídio de Desemprego): This benefit offers financial support to individuals who have lost their jobs involuntarily. To qualify, individuals typically must have a history of social security contributions.
Sickness Benefit (Subsídio de Doença): This benefit provides financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to illness or temporary incapacity. It helps cover medical expenses and income replacement during the period of illness.
Family Allowances (Abono de Família): Family allowances are provided to low-income families with children to help with the cost of raising children. The amount of the allowance varies based on family income and the number of children.
Maternity and Paternity Benefits: Parents in Portugal can receive financial support during maternity and paternity leave to help with the care of newborns. These benefits include the Maternity Allowance (Subsídio de Maternidade) and Paternity Allowance (Subsídio de Paternidade).
Healthcare Services (Serviço Nacional de Saúde): Portugal’s public healthcare system provides accessible and affordable healthcare services to residents. Social security contributions often cover access to healthcare services.
Minimum Income Guarantee (Rendimento Social de Inserção): This program provides financial assistance to individuals and families with low income or at risk of social exclusion.
How to request your Social Security Number in Portugal?
Please ensure that you personally submit the required documentation to the Social Security district centers.
Employees: it is mandatory to fill out Form RV1009/2009. For those in Portugal, this completed form should be provided to your employer.
Self-employed individuals are required to complete Form RV1000/2007. This form must be filled out as part of your submission.
Documents required to get your Social Security Number
Please prepare the following documents for verification:
- Passport or identification card
- Residence certificate
- Portuguese tax number (Número de Identificação Fiscal – NIF) or the national insurance number from your home country
- Proof of your address in Portugal
- A certified copy of your employment contract provided by the hiring company, or in the case of self-employment, the relevant business formation documents
Frequently asked questions about Social Security Number (NISS) in Portugal
What is a NISS in Portugal?
A NISS, or “Número de Identificação de Segurança Social,” is a unique identification number assigned to individuals working in Portugal. It’s essential for social security and legal employment purposes.
Who needs to get a NISS in Portugal?
Anyone working in Portugal, whether as an employee, freelancer, or student, typically requires a NISS. It’s not necessary for retirees.
How do I apply for a NISS in Portugal?
To obtain a NISS, you must visit your local Social Security office (Segurança Social) in person. You’ll need to provide relevant documents, such as your identification, employment contract and proof of address.
What documents do I need to apply for a NISS?
You typically need your passport or ID card, residency certificate, a copy of your employment contract, or self-employment documents, NIF number, as well as proof of your address in Portugal.
Is there an age requirement for obtaining a NISS in Portugal?
There’s no specific age requirement; it depends on your work status. You can apply for a NISS when you start working.
How long does it take to get a NISS in Portugal?
The process usually takes one week, but it may vary depending on the local Social Security office’s workload.
What is the difference between NIF and NISS in Portugal?
NIF number you’ll need for almost every purchase or registration. Unlike the NIF, which is a necessity for all residents of Portugal, the NISS is not universally required. It becomes necessary when you are actively working in Portugal, whether as an employee, freelancer. If you are retired, for instance, a NISS may not be needed.
What benefits does a NISS provide in Portugal?
A NISS ensures that your social security contributions are collected accurately, entitling you to various social security benefits, including unemployment benefits and sick pay if you’re unable to work.
What is the cost for getting a NISS in Portugal?
Obtaining a NISS is typically free of charge.