Register a company in Portugal

Why starting a business in Portugal is the best choice in 2021

Portugal, though small, has a well-developed entrepreneurial structure. There are other reasons why businessmen are drawn here.

Security. Portugal ranks third in the world on the Global Peace Index. It was first on the European Union’s list of peaceful and secure countries at the end of 2020. You don’t have to worry about losing business one day due to strikes or a change of government.

Excellent infrastructure for business development. Those who have already settled here, warn: it makes no sense to open a business in Portugal just for the residence permit. But if you have an idea, a clear plan, a desire to receive a stable income – go ahead. This country has all the conditions. And the residence permit will be a nice bonus.

Encouraging policies towards entrepreneurs by the state. On August 5, 2020, 1,803 startups were registered in Portugal. Considering that the country’s area is barely over 90,000 km2 and its population is almost a million behind Moscow, these are impressive figures that confirm: doing business here is convenient and profitable.

Transparency of operations. In 2020, Portugal ranked 33rd on the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Membership in the European Union. Once you obtain a residence permit in Portugal, you can travel freely throughout the Schengen area.

Low business taxes in Portugal. Income tax is one of the lowest in Europe. The rate depends on the income, for example, if your business generates up to €7,000 per year, you will be charged 14.5%, and if your income exceeds €80,000, the rate rises to 48%.

Developed modern technology. These are not just words: for example, in 2020, Portugal ranked 32nd in Internet speed among 207 countries.

What is the best area to open a business?

Top Universities
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There are many business ideas in Portugal, but everyone implements them in different ways. 

Consider what sectors of the economy are developed in Portugal and where you can invest a foreigner.


Over the last five years, the commercial sector has been developing at a doubling pace. And all because of the growth of the consumer market:

  • Attractive living conditions bring new consumers to the country from abroad.
  • The number of tourists is gradually increasing, especially in Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve, and local and foreign entrepreneurs are drawn to these regions.
  • Integration with the European Union has simplified conditions for the import and export of goods.

All of this has led to an increase in local commerce. The state encourages the opening of bars, catering establishments, industrial facilities, especially those that make textiles and shoes. They are the first to be considered when deciding what kind of business to open in Portugal.

Reselling imported goods is also a good option. Especially locals often buy Brazilian, Chinese, American and French goods.

Other ideas:

  • beekeeping;
  • farming;
  • agricultural activities;
  • fishing.


After the arrival: what to do?
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Because of the favorable economic situation in the country, businessmen from different parts of the world gather together. This is how a huge demand for entrepreneurial consulting services was formed.

If you successfully open your own business, you will also be able to share your experience and earn money from it: provide expert advice, blog, write posts and make videos about business in Portugal for foreigners.

Other consultations are also in demand: legal, accounting, administrative. 

Other promising areas in Portugal:

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  • personal hygiene – the country needs hairdressers, makeup artists, manicurists, tattoo artists;
  • Entertainment – locals like to go to conferences, exhibitions, go to the movies;
  • education and service – in resort areas they are often looking for interpreters.

What are the requirements for obtaining a startup visa? 

You can get a startup visa if you meet one of the conditions:

  • you want to open a company in Portugal;
  • you already have your own business in a non-EU country.

To become a full-fledged participant in the startup program, you must meet the requirements:

  • Be over 18 years of age;
  • have no criminal record;
  • to live in a country outside the Schengen area for a short period of time;
  • to have at least €5,147 in a bank account within one year.

What requirements a business must meet

If your goal is not just to open a business in Portugal, but to get the opportunity to immigrate, open a business that will meet these requirements:

  • technology-oriented;
  • Annual turnover of 325,000 € per year for five years;
  • contributes to the creation of new jobs (at least ten).

Is it risky to buy a business in Portugal during a pandemic?

Why Portugal?
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Yes, it sounds like a crazy idea. It would seem that how can you open a business in Portugal when even local companies are closing down? It’s not as dull as it sounds – let’s explain.

There are many conservative entrepreneurs in this country who inherited their businesses. These are the same small companies with a rich history: family hotels, restaurants and cafes. The fact that in the face of the pandemic they have come to an end is not at all surprising:

  • Small business is a family tradition for many Portuguese, not a way to make big profits.
  • Given the attitude of small businessmen, long-term planning is out of the question. There are no clear goals, no strategy.
  • As a rule, such entrepreneurs do not have a financial safety cushion.
  • Because of the owner’s conservative views, the business was unable to convert to an online model.

In Portugal, not every organization has its own website or social network account. As a result, small companies that have not even considered adopting new technologies cannot survive the crisis.

The benefits of buying a business in covid times

If you are an entrepreneur who is conscious about doing business, all these factors do not mean risks for you, but rather opportunities.

Liquidation of old companies will give you such benefits:

  • You will have less competition, which is very important when we talk about business in Portugal. You can have a great café with new renovations and aromatic coffee, but the Portuguese will go to the barely surviving diner next door. There is a lot of nepotism here.
  • You will find a business “to your liking” – because of the current environment offers enough, so there is room to choose.

Now buy a ready-made business in Portugal is cheaper than in pre-crisis times – entrepreneurs who do not know how to translate the business online, trying to get rid of it as soon as possible.

How to buy a business in Portugal

Future plans
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Remember the word “Trespasse” – it means buying a business with all of its tangible and intangible assets (e.g., real estate, name of establishment, equipment, customers, and sometimes even staff). You will need only to open a new legal entity in your own name. The advantages of such a purchase are that you don’t have to:

  • Building a business from scratch in a country where you already have a language barrier and a new culture waiting for you.
  • Looking for channels to find and attract customers (at least for the first time they will be).
  • Looking for and negotiating with suppliers.
  • Buy/rent new space, furniture and equipment.

In general, buying with the “Trespasse” model is an opportunity to rid yourself of the work that the business owner did before you. And what you think is inefficient, you can remove/sell/improve. 

The main thing is to find an object with a good location and a good reputation. Then you will save a lot of time and effort.

Where can I buy a ready-made business?

Hello, this is MoveToCascais and our regular column "Frequently Asked Questions". Today's topic is school education in Portugal.
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To buy a business in Portugal at a profit, regularly monitor listings. Here are some popular sites where you can find them:

  • Trespasse;
  • OLX;
  • Idealista;
  • Imovirtual;
  • Venda de Empresas.

Or search for “comprar negócio pronto”, “comprar empresa trespasse”, “comprar empresa” in search engines and social networks. 

Prices for businesses in Portugal depend on the location of the object and the size of the assets you get with the company. For example, there is an advert for the sale of a boutique hotel in the center of Lisbon for €1,600,000. And a package of two apartments for rent in Porto are offered for 350,000 €. There are also offers for half as much.

How to register a company?

Final Word
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В Португалии нерезиденты могут зарегистрировать компанию двумя способами: через систему Empresa na Hora или Empresa Online. Если коротко, то первый вариант для тех, у кого есть заранее подготовленный пакет документов. Если это компания с несколькими акционерами, все они должны будут присутствовать. А Empresa Online подходит предпринимателям, у которых есть электронный сертификат, удостоверяющий личность.

Let’s take a closer look at how to open a business in Portugal with the help of these services.

Empresa na Hora

With Empresa na Hora you will start your own company within one hour. You can contact any of the offices of the service with this question. To register you will need to go through 4 steps:

  • Choose one of the approved names for the company – you can see it on the Service’s website or on a paper list (usually provided in the office). This name is valid only until registration begins.
  • Choose a pre-approved charter and memorandum of association.
  • Get a package of documents: company registration certificate, commercial identification number, social security number, deed and certificate of business registration. 
  • Submit to the information desk an application to start a company, signed by an accountant – this is necessary for registration with the tax office. The application can be submitted immediately or within 15 days after registration.

Empresa Online

Thanks to Empresa Online, you can register a company from the comfort of your home. 

However, in this case the procedure will take 1-2 days. For this you will need the website The cost of the service depends on certain conditions:

  • 360 € for a company registered without articles of association and memorandum of association;
  • 220 € with pre-approved articles of association and memorandum of association.

According to Portuguese law, employers must register with the regional social insurance center within 24 hours before the employment contract between employer and employee takes effect, or one day after the start of the company. Failure to do so will result in the employee being considered to have begun work six months prior to the violation. In addition, you could be fined between €75 and €4,800.

If you are going to hire locals, don’t think they will turn a blind eye to this. The Portuguese know their rights very well. Their laws protect workers more than employers. 

Plan of action for opening a business in Portugal 

Portugal's strengths
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You will need:

  • make a business plan;
  • get a tax number in the name of the founder of the company;
  • to open a bank account;
  • draw up a Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company;
  • prepare a list of documents to the registry: information about each director/shareholder of the company (copy of passport in Portuguese); corporate documentation; proof of domicile.
  • choose a company name;
  • rent an office and a legal address, which will be used in the constituent documents and to receive correspondence;
  • to pass information about the opening of the company to the tax and social authorities in Portugal;
  • to deposit the minimum capital (1 euro);
  • Optimize tax payments – with many countries Portugal has an Agreement on avoidance of double taxation, there are preferential rates.

What else is important to know when immigrating to Portugal

Registering and doing business in Portugal is not a problem for Russians. Migrants to do it even easier and more profitable than the Portuguese themselves: the state makes every effort to attract foreign investors. .

For owners of small, medium and large businesses the registration procedure is slightly different. For example, if you take part in the program “Golden” or “Business Visa”, you can quickly get a residence permit and later citizenship. But the Business Visa is more suitable for owners of medium and large businesses, whose priorities from the beginning include:

  • access to the world market;
  • opening an account in a European bank;
  • gradual opening of branches in the European Union.

What to do for those who want to run a small business

You can choose one of the options:

  • Individual entrepreneurship – to register you will need to go to the tax office and provide a package of documents. With the IP you will be able to work as a driver, consultant, interpreter, guide, etc.
  • LLC or LDA – you can register a limited liability company with one or more founders. What you need to do for this and what documents to prepare, we wrote in the previous block. This option is suitable if you want to engage in production, trade, construction, open a restaurant or hotel, etc.

What about medium and large businesses?

Medium and large businesses include enterprises whose activities are related to production, international and industrial purposes. For such cases, the legal form of a “Public Company” is perfectly suited. There are a few things to know about it:

  • The company must have at least 5 shareholders. And these can be both legal entities and individuals.
  • The minimum amount of the authorized capital (transferred to the bank account of the company) – 50 000 €.
  • After registration, you need to keep accounting, conduct audits and submit reports on time.

If opening a business in Portugal interests you because of the opportunity to expand your partner and client base in Europe, a branch or representative office will suit you better.

How a businessman can get a residence permit

So, you have solved all the issues with the documents and company registration, and you want to get a residence permit for starting a business in Portugal. According to the amendments in the Portuguese legislation, you are entitled to “Golden Visa“. In order to obtain it, you need:

  • have a Schengen visa when entering Portugal;
  • apply for an investment visa within 90 days from the first day of entry into Portugal;
  • to engage in investment activities – to fulfill at least one of the conditions:
  • to invest in a Portuguese business from 1 million €;
  • create at least 10 jobs;
  • to buy real estate worth 500,000 €. or more.

To immigrate to Portugal, you must be engaged in investment activities for 5 years from the date of obtaining a residence permit.

You can apply for a residence permit online, at one of the Portuguese missions in your country or at the office of the Migration Service in Portugal.

We hope that we have answered all your questions. And if anything remains unclear to you, call us – we will tell you how to open a business in Portugal for Russians, and help you gather a package of documents.