Legal requirements of buying a property in Portugal for foreigners

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What do I legally need to buy a house in Portugal?
2 February 2018, Redaction

There’s always loads of legal stuff involved in buying any property, but as a foreigner in Portugal you’ll have extra paperwork to do. The purchasing process in Portugal is fairly straightforward, so here’s a complete list:

Passport/Cartão de cidadão: For all legal and bank transactions such as signing the contract or applying for a mortgage, you’ll need some sort of identification. That means your Passport or a Cartão de cidadão, a Citizen’s Card.

Número de contribuinte: Like a National Insurance number in the UK, you’ll need this número de contribuinte to make any transaction and pay taxes. It’s also needed to open a bank account, apply for a mortgage or even install water and electric facilities in your home. To get one, you’ll need to show your passport and proof of address in the local department of Finanças.

Bank account: It’s not strictly necessary to open a bank account in Portugal to be able to buy a house, but it’s recommendable for several reasons. Many international banks operate in Portugal and can help you with transfers, paying bills and even working with companies that will rent out your house for you when you’re not there, if you like. Bear in mind, though, that some banks require proof that you are employed or have sufficient funds, so as well as the documents stated above, you should also take copies of your payslips and contract just in case.

What others can do for you

Estate agents and notaries: It’s crucial that you use only a certified and trustworthy estate agency with an AMI number, as they will take care of the purchasing process for you. The notary will verify that all the processes and documents are legal and that the state of the property matches the details on the Property Registry. It may also be worth your while to hire an English-speaking Portuguese lawyer to help you with translation and general guidance.

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