Although the individual must be deemed a resident of Portugal when he/she submits the application, there is no minimum stay requirement afterwards and it is even possible to stop being a Portuguese tax resident for one or more years without losing
non-habitual resident status.
In order to qualify as a “non-habitual resident”, a Portuguese national or a foreign individual having the right to live in Portugal
must register as a tax resident of Portugal after not having been resident in this country during the previous 5 years or longer.
It should be noted that under the law an unregistered individual will be deemed resident for tax purposes if he/she either spends
more than 183 days in the country during a 12-month period, or has a place of abode in the country, “in a way that may lead to the supposition of an intention to keep and occupy it as a habitual home”. However, there is no minimum stay requirement for a Portugal-registered tax resident.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens have an automatic right to live in Portugal, individuals of other nationalities must obtain a resident permit.
Recognition of non-habitual resident status is not automatic and is granted for a period of 10 years upon successful application to the Portuguese tax authorities up until March 31st of the year following that in which Portuguese residence was taken up.
In order to apply, all that is required is the filing of a request a statement to the effect that the applicant was not resident for tax purposes in Portugal during the 5 years preceding the arrival in Portugal. Only in the event that the tax authorities have doubts concerning the truth of what is stated will they request additional documentation, which may include a tax residence certificate from the previous country and/or a document proving that the vital and economic interests of the applicant were centred in another country during the previous 5 years.
Data processing and hosting specialists;
Investors, directors and managers of companies promoting eligible projects under tax incentive contracts;
IT specialists (other);
Life sciences specialists;
News agency and other information professionals;
Scientific research and development professionals;
Senior management positions, excluding statutory officers (e.g. directors), but including branch managers*;
Theatre, ballet, cinema, radio and TV artistic professionals;
Web developers and designers.
* Although the law does include senior management positions (“quadros superiores de empresas”) among the eligible occupations, the Portuguese tax administration decided by means of a circular letter to give this a restrictive interpretation,
which excludes directors and other company statutory officers from being eligible unless their company benefits from a special agreement with the Portuguese State as promoters of productive investment projects to which tax incentives have been granted.
This circular letter defines “quadros superiores de empresas” as individuals having a management position and the power to bind the company, but then goes on to exclude statutory officers such as company directors from this definition. It follows that a manager who has the power to bind the company, including the manager of a foreign company’s Portuguese branch, is deemed to belong to an eligible occupation, but this is lost if the same manager is appointed a director.