Lisbon prizes the entrepreneurial spirit and therefore, we know that in the initial stage of any idea, many doubts can arise regarding its completion and implementation as a viable business opportunity. To help you navigate the initial stages of your entrepreneurial endeavor in Lisbon, here are some links that may help you in that process. While it is our purpose to present the most complete and current information possible, setting up a business is a process that will necessarily involve the consultation of official authorities and their most up to date requirements.
Please check the Investors Guides elaborated by some of our Partners:
- Investors Guide - AICEP - Portugal Global
- Investor’s Guide to Portugal - Caiado Guerreiro & Associados
- Investor’s Reports - Cushman & Wakefield
- Guide to Property Investment in Portugal – Cushman & Wakefield, Uría Menéndez-Proença de Carvalho
- A frequently updated website containing advice and properties for sale
- Made of Lisboa - Lisbon's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Setting Up a Business
Setting up a business in Lisbon is easy, fast and straightforward.
See below for a simple, step by step guide to setting up your business*.
Obtain Portuguese Fiscal Number (NIF)
If the person requiring the number is a citizen of the European Union and is present during the act he/she will have to present the following documents
- Identification document (passport, ID cart, …)
- Proof of address
If either the person requiring the number is NOT present during the act or if he/she is NOT a citizen from the European Union he/she will have to issue a power of attorney to someone to obtain the NIF on his/her behalf and also to be his/her fiscal representative.
The fiscal representative must:
- Have permanent address in Portugal
- Accept being a fiscal representative (signed declaration)
- Can be either an individual or a company.
All documents not in Portuguese must be translated and apostilled according to the rules of The Hague Convention (which can be done in any Portuguese embassy).
If the investor is a company , it must register with the Portuguese tax authority, and to do so it is necessary:
- A copy of the commercial registry of the country of origin translated and apostilled according to the rules of The Hague Convention (which can be done in any Portuguese embassy) (except when in English or French
- The person that ask the act of registering the company in Portugal has to have authority to do so (owner identified in the commercial registry, solicitor or someone with a power of attorney) and has to bring identification document (ID card, Passport, …)
The following links may help you to get acquainted with some of Portuguese economic nomenclatures and resources necessary to set up a business:
Portuguese Classification of Economic Activities – NACE
NACE (CAE in Portuguese) is a statistical nomenclature to classify each economic activity. To switch the site to English click “English Version” on the top right side of the site.
On the Spot Firm
The ‘On the Spot Firm’ (Empresa na Hora) helps to create a company in a single office (one-stop shop) no more and no less than an hour. Find more information here
The Company Portal
The Company Portal aims to become a channel to streamline companies’ relationships with the Public Administration throughout its life cycle, with four main areas: creation, management, expansion and extinction.
One can also create a firm, register a brand, obtain certificates and deal with some licensing (e.g. industrial licensing) or simply find out about services necessary for the execution of an economic activity in Portugal.
More information about this initiative is yet to be disclosed by the official authorities in English. You can access the Portuguese website Portal da Empresa (automatic translation feature is available) and contact us if you need further help.
National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) – brand and patents registration
The role of INPI is to grant and protect Industrial Property rights on a national and international level, in collaboration with the international organizations of which Portugal is a member, and also, process and publish patented technical and scientific information. You can obtain more information on the INPI website. If you need further help on this issue you can contact us.
* It is our purpose to present the most complete and updated information possible, however, the information on this page does not dispense the need for consulting the proper legal authorities. Invest Lisboa has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site. However, no rights can be obtained from its texts and no representation or warranty is made regarding the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of the content. Invest Lisboa checks the websites to which links are provided regularly, but cannot be held responsible for the information which these websites contain.
Main sites and documents
- Guide to Business Planning
- Financial Planning Worksheet
- Entrepreneurship glossary (in portuguese)
- YEN Portugal - Young Entrepreneurs Networkers
Business Acceleration Programs
- BET- Bring Entrepreneurs Together
- Beta start (Beta-i)
- Fábrica de Startups
- Founder Institute (Lisboa)
- ISCTE-IUL MIT Portugal Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
- NOVA Entrepreneurship Society (NES)
- Start Up Pirates
- Programa Energia de Portugal
- Global Accelerator Network (+50 Accelerators)
- Ideaspace (University of Cambridge)
- Le Camping
- Startup Bootcamp
- StartUp Chile
Business Plan Development Models
- Business Model Canvas
- Business Model Canvas Tutorial (Steve Blank)
- Business Model Designer
- Business Model Press
- Business Model Toolbox
- Customer Development Tutorial– (Steve Blank)
- Customer Discovery Toolkit (Stanford University Institute of Design)
- Founders Workbook
Workshops ABC (presentations in portuguese):
- APBA – Portuguese Association of Business Angels
- FNABA – National Federation of Business Angels
- IAPMEI – State Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation
- Iniciativa Lisboa – Lisbon Municipality
- Entrepreneur Portal - AIP
Some other public and private institutions, engaged in promoting a wide sponsorship and joint initiatives to support researchers and entrepreneurs in various fields of activity:
Associação Nacional de Jovens Empresários (ANJE)
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)
Fundação Eugénio de Almeida
Fundação da Juventude
Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento (FLAD)
Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional
Santa Casa da Misericórdia
Whether you’re looking for a small office to set up your firm or a large land plot to establish a large industry or corporate headquarter, Lisbon has many solutions available. Here are some of them:
Large buildings or land plots
Virtual Offices (Escritórios Virtuais)
Invest Lisboa’s virtual offices are a cost effective option for companies wishing to set up business in Lisbon, but who do not need an office on a full-time basis.
Lisbon’s network of business incubators.
Offices for rent/sale
Escritórios.com is a website focused on offices for sale.
If you want something urgent, specific or tailored for a special purpose, don’t hesitate to contact Invest Lisboa. We will gladly engage in the necessary diligences to find what you’re searching for.
Citizens of other European Union member states, as well as a few other European countries, can live and work in Portugal without a visa.
Citizens of non-member countries of the EU need a specific visa whenever planning on staying for more than 90 days, to work or study in Portugal. Visas should be applied for at the Consulate or in the Portuguese Embassy of the locale of residency.
- Form and two photographs;
- Copy of passport;
- Criminal record;
- Authorization for Criminal Record consultation by the SEF (model delivered by the consular office);
- Certificate of residence;
- If an investment is the reason for migration, documents proving the constitution of the company and evidence of investment that you want to implement;
- Study of the impact of the investment to prove the importance of investment;
- Bank statement proving livelihood resources for a period of no less than 12 months, according to the decree 1563/2007 and to Law 23/2007;
- If there is a Portuguese partner a letter of intent on business or partnership to jointly develop the investment.
(Foreign language documents must be translated and legalized)
Note: according to each case, the consulate can always request additional documents.
For more information visit:
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs