When is the Niss compulsory in Portugal?

In Portugal, the Social Security Number (NISS), also known as the Número de Identificação da Segurança Social, is a unique and important identifier for accessing various social services and benefits. It is often required of residents and non-residents in various situations. Here are the details of these situations.

Understanding the NISS

Before deciphering the situations in which the NISS is mandatory, it is important to understand its role:

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unique identification: the NISS uniquely identifies an individual within the Portuguese social security system;

access to rights and obligations: it is a prerequisite for access to a wide range of social benefits, such as health, retirement, maternity/paternity leave, unemployment benefit, etc;

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social security contributions: the NISS is essential for the payment of social security contributions, which finance the above-mentioned benefits.

Obtaining the NISS

The process for obtaining the NISS varies according to the individual's situation. Portuguese citizens generally obtain their NISS at birth, while foreigners must follow a specific procedure. Find out more here https://anchorless.io/blog/healthcare/niss-portugal-complete-guide.

Situations where the NISS is compulsory

The NISS is compulsory in many situations in Portugal.

Salaried employment

Anyone working as an employee in Portugal must have an NISS. This enables the employer to declare the employee's social security contributions and the employee to receive the associated social benefits.


Self-employed workers must also obtain an NISS in order to pay social security contributions and receive the corresponding benefits.

Permanent residence

Foreigners wishing to reside permanently in Portugal must obtain an NISS in order to access public services and social benefits.

Temporary residence

For certain types of temporary residence, such as students or seasonal workers, the NISS may be required to access certain social benefits.

Other situations

All applications for social benefits, such as unemployment benefit or pension, require presentation of the NISS. The NISS is also generally required when buying a property in Portugal. In addition, some banks may require the NISS to open a bank account.


The Social Security Number (NISS) plays a crucial role in Portugal, enabling access to a wide range of social services and benefits. This knowledge is essential for residents and non-residents wishing to fully integrate into life in Portugal.