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Social insurance in Portugal

 This forum has been created so we can discuss the issues that have arisen in Portugal and the registration of social insurance.

It has recently been brought to our attention that there has been some (perhaps local) issues with registering for social security in Portugal.


Can anyone experiencing any difficulties in Portugal please let us know so that we can try to piece together what is happening and then contact the authorities there and arrange a meeting with them if necessary.


In the long history of humankind (and animal kind too)
those who learned to collaborate
and improvise most effectively have prevailed
Charles Darwin’

1 Comment

Hi Simon,

I just now saw this forum opened and also noted that nobody has yet responded, whilst many seem to have either problems or questions on this subject. I have now been based in Portugal for over 2 years. The process of getting registered for Social Security is very complicated indeed (and even more difficult if you don't speak any Portugese, as many of the desk workers claim not to speak english). The first issue I stumbled upon is the fact that our self employment via Storm McGinley can't be recognised by the Portugese authorities. So for registering you need either a Ryanair contract or you need to be a Self Employed person in a Portuguese business.

So far what I did (with the best knowledge I and some of my based colleagues had) is to register as a Freelancer under our own personal name and address in Portugal. This process is what's called to open an Activity at Financas (Tax Office). However this process in theory is incorrect as we become personal liable in this case. Also this activity has the responsibility to officially claim your income with the means of "receipts". These are basically proofs of payments in case you would do a freelance job for a company. Example: you are a Gym Instructor and you provide freelance classes at a gym and you provide the gym with an invoice for your work. Obviously for our situation this is not the case! We will never receive any "receipts" for jobs we do, therefore we can't declare income and the registry at the Tax Office is useless. Also providing that all our income is being declared in Ireland.

However by having registered personally at the Finances as self employed and not filing any receipts, the result is that the Finances is sending out charges to us. (This has not yet happened to e personally yet, as I believe my Financas registry was not yet properly coupled to my Social Security number. So here lies an issue that for sure need clarification. Especially because this whole process (which is not even a correct process) has to be done just to be able to maintain a Social Number.

Furthermore, as many of you will know, as a first registered Self Employed in Portugal you do get an Exemption for Social Contributions. This can be 12 months or more, depending on the moment of registry at the Social Office and dependent on the period of the fiscal year. I believe tho that the Social Office provides you with proof by means of a letter. At least I do have one in my possession.

Now there is one major thing I am currently struggling with and that is getting the A1 form. First of all the bureaucracy is very hard here, and waiting in line for hours and hours is common in these institutions. On top of that they need to know what the exact reason is for giving out this A1 form, and I had no clue.. I told them I at least need it to prove that I am contributing to the Social System as is requested of me by EU law. On top of that I as a Dutch citizen need it to show my Authorities that I pay social contributions in the EU country I work. Only like this I can stop paying for my Health Insurance necessary by Dutch law. Once again this confused the Desk Workers at the Social Office and said that for the latter reason I need an other form. In short no one has any idea of what to do, it is very complicated being Dutch citizen, working and paying tax in Ireland and trying to be legal for Social purposes in Portugal. They have no clue what to do..

I know it's a long story, but this is the case (at least for me), I assume that different issues arise for PT nationals as they have their Social Registry by birth.

I hope this helps, and I hope that I can get some help too from you side.

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