Business Formation

Register at the one-stop shop (Empresa na Hora)

Agency: One-Stop Shop (Empresa na Hora)

There are two ways of starting a business in Portugal:

“On the Spot Firm” (Empresa na Hora)

This is currently the most common way to register a business. This service enables to set up a company in less than an hour at a single contact point. As long as the partners have all of necessary documents, the company is set up immediately at one of the desks of the On the Spot Firm offices, available throughout the country, regardless of the location of the company’s headquarters.

The first step is to choose a name from the list of pre-approved names available online or to submit a name of its choice and obtain a company name certificate. This certificate can be requested online and it is valid for 3 months. If the name of the company is composed by the name of its shareholders, it may be approved at the moment of incorporation of the company at the one-stop shop.

Then entrepreneurs need to choose one of the pre-approved standard company deeds, available at Empresa na Hora. The company founders need to present their identification cards.

At the service desk, it is possible to get both the articles of association and commercial registration. Partners will receive a temporary code to access the certificate of incorporation, the corporate identification card, the Social Security number, and the original by-laws.

“Online company setting up” (Empresa Online)

This service enables to set up a company through the Internet in 1 to 2 days. The access to the service On-Line Company (‘Empresa Online’) can be made through the Business Portal (

The costs are the following:

  • Incorporation under “Empresa na Hora”: EUR 360;
  • Incorporation under “Empresa on-line”: (i) EUR 360 if not incorporated with pre-approved by-laws, or (ii) EUR 220 if incorporated with pre-approved by-laws.

Since Ordinance no. 233/2018 of August 21: Regulates the Legal Regime of the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership (Legal Regime of the RCBE) was approved by Law no. 89/2017, of August 21, the shareholders must declare the local company’s ultimate beneficial owner (“UBO”) at the time of its incorporation.

Time and cost: 1 day, EUR 360 or EUR 220

Open a bank account and obtain a Bank Identification Number (IBAN)

Agency: Bank

Business founders must open a bank account and obtain a Bank Identification Number (IBAN).

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

File the declaration of commencement of activity with the Tax Authority and register for VAT

Agency: Tax Authority

The declaration of commencement of activity has to be submitted at the Tax Authorities’ Offices along with evidence that the company was incorporated. Business founders must provide the Tax Authority with their Bank Identification Number (IBAN) and their corporate identification card. VAT registration can be done when submitting the declaration of commencement of activity.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Register with Social Security

Agency: Social Security Agency

The employers shall communicate the admission of employees to the Portuguese Social Security services of the area of the employee’s workplace online at within (i) 24 hours preceding the employment agreement’s entry into force; or (ii) 24 hours following the beginning of the activity, whenever – due to exceptional and duly justified reasons in connection with the conclusion of very short term employment agreements or due to shift work – such notice cannot be served within the set out deadline.

The non-compliance with this obligation implies the assumption that the relevant employee started to work for the company on the 1st working day of the sixth month prior to the occurrence of the infringement. In case the relevant employee is receiving sickness or unemployment benefits there is also an assumption that the employ started to work for the company on the date in which those benefits were granted, whereby the company will be severally liable for returning the whole amounts unduly received by the employee by the Portuguese Social Security. Moreover, the non-compliance with the above mentioned obligation may result in a minor or a serious misdemeanor, depending on its compliance within 24 hours after the deadline or after that, corresponding to a fine from € 75 up to € 4,800. Pursuant to the enacted Law No. 83-C/2013, of 31 December 2013, the above mentioned communication will now have to be made online.

Time and cost: 2 days, no charge

Register for the workers’ accident insurance at a private insurer

Agency: Private Insurer

In order to guarantee an effective compensation of damages arising from work accidents covering employees, trainees and paid managers, the Portuguese legislator requires from the employer the transfer of all its responsibility to insurance companies, before the entry into force of the relevant agreements. In case not all the responsibilities are transferred by the employer to the insurance company, the first one will be solely responsible in the extent of the non transferred responsibilities.

Furthermore, the non-compliance with the above mentioned obligation may trigger a very serious misdemeanor, implying the payment of a fine between € 3,264 and € 19,380.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge

Register employees with the Labor Compensation Funds (FCT and FGCT)

Agency: Labor Compensation Funds (Fundo de Compensação do Trabalho – FCT and Fundo de Garantia de Compensação do Trabalho – FGCT)

According to the Portuguese labor law (Law 70 of August 30, 2013), employees shall be registered in two Labor Compensation Funds (Fundo de Compensação do Trabalho – FCT and Fundo de Garantia de Compensação do Trabalho – FGCT). Registration at FGCT takes place automatically once one registers with FCT online.

The contribution to these funds is intended to enable the payment of part of the compensation eventually due in case of termination of the employment agreement. The employer is responsible for the monthly payment of the amount of 0.925% to FCT and of 0.075% to FGCT, both calculated on the amount of base salary and seniority premiums due to each employee.

Time and cost: Less than 1 day (online procedure), no charge