Segurança Social In Portugal: What Is It And How Might It Help You?

Ah, bureaucracy. It’s not a favourite word for anyone, and that includes expats. The last thing we enjoy doing when moving to a new country is tackling all the paperwork and applications that are necessary to ensure we’re fully covered in every aspect of our new lives. In this guide, we’ll be looking at Segurança Social (the Portuguese social security system) as well as the country’s NISS (social security number).We’ll explain what the NISS is, how to obtain one and how it can benefit you. Unfortunately, the process can be complicated at times, which is why we’ve broken it down into bite-sized chunks.

What Is The Segurança Social?

The Segurança Social is a system in Portugal that guarantees the right to social security. Effectively, it certifies any contributions, tax payments and other social security contributions you have made in Portugal, while entitling you to certain coverage. In order to get a Segurança Social, you will need a temporary or permanent residence permit, or to be a student. European Citizens can obtain their Segurança Social if they present their Certificate of European Resident (CRUE).

It is not mandatory to get your NISS (social security number) if you already have a contract of employment, although it can certainly make your life a little more difficult if you don’t have one. Typically, if you have been offered a job, your employer will register you for an NISS, but do check whether this is the case; do not assume they will handle it on your behalf.

How To Get An NISS

In order to obtain an NISS, you must ideally be working or have an offer of a contract. It’s not impossible to get one without having a job already in place, but it is more complex. If you are self-employed, you should ask for your number directly from the Segurança Social office. If you are a student, you will need to obtain a work or study permit from the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF).

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Required Documents For Application

• A valid passport, with a legal entry stamp in Europe if applicable (this will depend on your passport and nationality), plus you may need a Schengen Area visa. You should also bring a photocopy of your passport, so that officials can check the identification page and your stamp/visa page.
• Your Portuguese taxpayer’s number and a photocopy of the document.
• Your residence permit and a photocopy.
• Your work or study permit and a photocopy.
• A copy of your work contract signed by your employer.

After completing your paperwork and starting the application process, you should receive your NISS number in five to 10 days.

How Does The NISS Benefit Me?

You will need a social security number for various reasons. For example, if you want to benefit from the public health system, you will have to register. This is a requirement for receiving treatment without being charged. It will also cover you if you are off sick for an extended period of time or find yourself unable to work. The Segurança Social is also designed to support families, like the child tax benefit in the UK; some families receive money prenatally and for each child’s education costs. The system even gives a one-off funeral payment in the event of death, so that families can afford the costs of a funeral.


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