The SIMPLEX programme’s streamlining of public service procedures and the widespread development of e-government has produced a large number of benefits for individual Portuguese citizens. I’ll just summarise a few of those that will be most relevant to you when you get your Portuguese passport.
The most significant innovation regarding everyday life is the Citizen’s Card. Before this was introduced, in 2006, people were required to have an identity card plus cards for accessing various facilities; such as the national health service, social security, taxation departments, and voter registration. Now the Citizen’s Card combines all these functions in one. It enables you to use online public services and to sign documents electronically. And should you be unfortunate enough to lose it, or have it stolen, there is the “I Lost My Wallet” counter to help you replace it with minimal fuss.
The “One-stop House” service is what your legal representatives will use when making the arrangements for you to buy your property. It enables them to pay the relevant taxes, draft and sign contracts, register properties, arrange municipal tax exemptions, etc., all at one counter.
Also, the electronic pre-filled income tax return has made this rather tiresome business a lot easier. In a nutshell, the tax authorities send you the forms already filled in with all the information they have about your profile – name, taxpayer ID number, local tax office code – and about your income – salary, pensions, deductions to taxes and social security – so all you have to do is check it.
And should you wish to extend your family some time, the “Born Citizen” service allows you to register a newborn baby directly from the maternity unit; so there is no need to attend the registry office.