Guidance

Portugal: providing services and travelling for business

Guidance for UK businesses on rules for selling services to Portugal.

Read this page in combination with the guidance for EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The authoritative source for Portugal’s market regulations is the Portuguese government. This guidance links to official Portuguese sources wherever possible.

Trade and services regulations in Portugal

If you are a UK business providing services in Portugal, you need to follow Portuguese regulations about:

  • getting authorisations or licences to provide a service
  • complying with specific local business regulations
  • EEA nationality requirements which could prevent you from providing services in some sectors

The Portugal e-government portal for service providers (website in Portuguese) can help you to:

  • check what you need to know about providing services in Portugal
  • understand local regulations
  • complete the relevant administrative procedures online

Consider appointing an English-speaking lawyer in Portugal to help you comply with specific regulations.

To check if EEA nationality requirements apply to you, contact the appropriate competent authority.

Trade reservations

To sell or provide services to customers in Portugal, you must follow local laws. If in doubt, you should get professional advice.

Reservations are part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. They reserve the right of each party to keep or make new laws restricting investment, or the sale of services, in ways that would otherwise breach the rules in the agreement.

Check which reservations apply to the sale of services from the UK to Portugal. This includes an interactive tool to find reservations that are already in place.

VAT on sales of digital services

To use the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to declare sales of digital services to EU consumers, businesses need to register for MOSS in an EU member state.

Find out more about paying VAT on sales of digital services.

Ownership of companies registered in Portugal

If you have a UK business, you might face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a registered company in Portugal.

For information about setting up and running a business in Portugal, visit the ePortugal website (in Portuguese).

See our guidance on establishing and structuring your business in the EEA and Switzerland.

UK legal professionals who have investments in law firms in Portugal should contact the Portuguese Bar Association (in Portuguese) for information.

Business travel and entry requirements

UK business travellers and service providers may need a visa, work permit or other documentation. Check if you need a visa or permit for Europe.

The Official Website of Portuguese Immigration has more information about:

  • visas including intra-corporate transfers
  • work and residence permits
  • supporting documentation
  • other conditions

Check which actions travellers visiting Europe need to take.

Social security payments for employees

Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Portugal.

Recognition of professional qualifications

To check what you need to do in Portugal, read our guidance on professional qualifications in the EEA and Switzerland.

If you need to secure the recognition of your professional qualification in Portugal, these sources can help you:

The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UK CPQ) provides practical assistance and advice to:

  • professionals who qualified overseas and are interested in working in the UK
  • UK professionals seeking to practise overseas

UK statutory auditors working in Portugal

For UK statutory auditors, the Comissão do Mercado de Valores Mobiliários Portugal (website in Portuguese) should be able to provide further information.

UK lawyers working in Portugal

If you are a UK-qualified lawyer working in Portugal, using either a Portuguese or UK professional title, you should contact the local bar association in the region where you are working or the Portuguese Bar Association (website in Portuguese) for specific advice.

Data transfer and GDPR

As part of the wider UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the free flow of personal data from Portugal to the UK will continue after 1 January 2021 for no longer than 6 months, until adequacy decisions come into effect.

As a sensible precaution during this 6 month period, it is recommended that you work with organisations in Portugal who transfer personal data to you to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.

Read guidance on using data in your personal business or other organisation.

Published 4 March 2019
Last updated 11 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Trade reservations' guidance. Updated 'Recognition of professional qualifications' with new UK contact point.

  2. Updated the following sections to reflect the changes created by the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement: overview, trade regulations, VAT on sales of digital services, business travel and entry requirements, social security payments for employees, recognition of professional qualifications, and data transfer and GDPR.

  3. Guidance for ‘Recognition of professional qualifications’ and ‘Social security payments for employees’ updated

  4. Change to title to include travelling for business

  5. Update to 'Business travel and entry requirements' section

  6. First published.