This means that if you have not yet obtained your NISS in Portugal or you have one but never got it registered in your file at the Centro de Saúde, you will be asked for your NISS next time you go to the Centro de Saúde. If you are not able to present a NISS, you will be charged around €35 for a consultation.”

Due to some initial confusion from foreign residents, clarification on the situation has been given to The Portugal News by the Association of Foreign Property Owners in Portugal (afpop).

Karina Veira from afpop told The Portugal News “We issued this advice in our latest Briefing, because we were getting calls from members who were being asked for their NISS at their Centro de Saúde and being issued with an invoice if they didn’t have one; these cases started back in November 2023. We thought that this was obviously happening to everyone and we wanted to inform members so they do not get a surprise at their next visit to the health centre. It is important to note, that only recently all foreign residents have been able to obtain a NISS, as before obtaining a NISS was only for people who work and pay contributions to the social security. Some of our members are not working, so there is no reason for them to have a NISS and until recently they did not really need it.”

Michael Reeve, CEO of afpop, shared that it is a fairly easy process. “You can apply for a NISS online by filling in this form and attaching a scanned copy of your valid Identification document: You will then receive an email confirming the NISS was issued and with information on how you can collect the respective document in person at a Social Security office. When you pick up the NISS, you will be asked to take certain documents with you.”

Michael reiterated “To be clear, it is not obligatory to register your NISS at your Centro de Saúde if you are non-active. The problem is, that when you go to your Centro de Saúde and if you don’t have a NISS in their system, it will automatically issue an invoice due to their new computer system. This new system at the Centros de Saúde seems to only be an issue in the Algarve and not with all the Centros de Saúde in Portugal. We have been assured by the Health Ministry that there is no requirement for non-active people to actually record their NISS with the Centro de Saúde, but you can obtain your NISS easily and avoid getting a bill, or into an argument, at the Centro de Sáude.”

For more information on afpop Membership please contact or alternatively, please visit


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes