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PFC provides a range of services within its mission and competences. For filming purposes, however, we highlight:

  • Promotion of Portugal as a privileged filming destination and, within that scope, active dissemination of the incentive system created by the Tourism and Cinema Support Fund, with the aim to attract international productions to our country.
  • Support to all national and international producers during the permit granting process for filming in Portugal, ensuring the relationship with all entities in the national territory in an effective, informed, and collaborative articulation.

Yes, there are regional and municipal film commissions, which are private structures or incorporated in local authorities’ structures. At the moment, the following film commissions are in operation in Portugal:

The needed licenses will always depend on the type of filming in stake and where it will take place. Cumulative licenses might be in order, to be issued by different authorities (for instance, city councils in matters of public spaces, aviation regulators regarding the use of drones, Infraestruturas de Portugal for the use of major roads, etc)

At the moment you can find here a simulator that will allow you to obtain information on the entities to contact, as well as some sheets containing information on the services of these entities.

For any doubts about the procedures and entities involved, you must contact PFC.

The use of explosives of any kind for cinematographic purposes is not permitted by law. In fact, article 30 of the Regulation on Explosive Products Supervision, approved and indexed to Decree-Law nr. 376/784, November 30th, determines that using explosives is only allowed on construction sites, mines, quarries, or similar work.

For cinematographic purposes, only pyrotechnics can be used, namely on the theatre categories T1 (low risk pyrotechnic articles to be used on stage) and T2 (pyrotechnic articles to be used on stage, exclusively managed by specialised experts), and the use of T2 can only be carried out by a qualified technician.

Such products must be purchased in national territory, in licensed stores (according to the available list here).

To use pyrotechnic products, you must be issued a previous permit, by the Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP – Public Security Police) or Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR – National Republican Guard).

In what weapon use is concerned, whether by assignment of real weaponry, or using props, replicas, or other, it is mandatory that you obtain a license/permit from the Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP – Public Safety Police). This procedure is subject to the payment of fees, duly established.

In case police entity understands that the location does not offer safe conditions to store the weapons, they will stipulate the daily collection of the items to be returned to the police facilities. Police officer(s) will be appointed to accompany them, which is a paid service which costs are to be borne by the applicant.

With regard to the use of airspace for filming purposes, the general operating rules are set out on the website of the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) and access to airspace is possible without the need to request prior authorisation from ANAC, provided the requirements mentioned therein are met.

Operations involving drones must comply with the applicable rules depending on the category in which the operation falls: open category, specific category and certified category.

If the drone operates in the open category, it does not require an authorisation from ANAC, provided the general operational rules applicable to it are complied with:

  • They operate VLOS (in line of sight);
  • They cannot fly in prohibited or operationally restricted areas of airports or heliports (article 11 and Annex to ANAC Regulation 1093/2016 until article 15 of the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 is implemented);
  • Operate up to a maximum of 120m above the ground;
  • Operate at civil aerodromes and heliports, without CTR or ATZ/TRMZ or with ATZ/TRMZ (in uncontrolled airspace) up to 120m above the surface with the authorisation of the Aerodrome Director (no need for ANAC authorisation) as referred to in Article 6 and 7 of ANAC Regulation No. 1093/2016;
  • Gliders can be operated up to 120m above the ground, but never 120m above the remote pilot (remote pilot on top of a mountain operating the aircraft over a valley);
  • They can fly 15m above an artificial obstacle that is more than 105m high, provided it is no further than 50m away from the obstacle and is at the request of the responsible authority;
  • They may fly at night and during the day (without ANAC’s authorisation).

It is advisable to consult in detail and check the possible specificities of the subcategories here.

Not complying with these requirements, the operation will have to obey the requirements of the specific or certified category and will already need a direct and prior Authorization from ANAC. You may consult the requirements on the respective website: specific and certified.

The capture of images for the purpose of dissemination is subject to prior authorization from the National Aeronautical Authority (AAN) and must be requested after obtaining ANAC’s authorization, when applicable.

If the filming takes place in a protected area, such as a Natural Park, a Natural Reserve, or others, you will always need a previous permit by the Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas (ICNF – Nature and Forest Conservation Institute).

In these areas, there may be cases of absolute filming prohibition, or specific situations subject to the terms of the authorisation granted, as shown in the diploma that regulates each of these areas.

You can access the list of the existing protected areas in mainland Portugal here.

The type of permits depends on the site you intend to film.

Using museums, palaces and national monuments with promotional intents, cultural dissemination, filming, and others, is subject to authorization by the “Museus e Monumentos de Portugal” or the “Património Cultural”, whenever they relate to properties that are under the supervision of these governmental bodies.

Check here the Annex II with the list of museums, monuments and palaces under the management of “Museus e Monumentos de Portugal”, as well as the properties allocated to this entity, in Annex III. Here you can check the cultural heritage allocated to “Património Cultural”, in Annex I, and to municipalities, in Annex II.

There are other entities with the authority to permit filming in certain buildings, which may be of a municipal or associative nature, foundations, etc.

Whenever the filming involves this type of buildings, it must be previously determined which entity is responsible for managing that heritage.

Whenever filming takes place in private property, if the owner(s) authorise/agree with it, there is no need for a license/permit, unless:
• There is need to use public parking for the production vehicles
• Public areas must be used to install any accessories
• Filming implies collecting images of public spaces or adjacent areas to the private property
• There is need to make such noise that the neighbourhood’s well-being and rest is affected

To be able to film with animals, you must get a permit by the Directorates of Food and Veterinary Services of the region you are settled in to film.

Animals used for filming must be insured, and all conditions of safety and well-being must be guaranteed. The involvement of animals must not present any risk to health and safety of third parties.
Council services must make a risk assessment of the presence of animals.
A drinking fountain and a feeder should be placed in all places where the animals are to remain.
The company should also provide the immediate collection and packaging of animal waste.

Documentation needed:
• Sanitary documentation of all the involved animals
• Declaration issued by the veterinarian, attesting the good health and accommodation conditions of the animals
• Declaration issued by the production company confirming it complies with all the requirements regarding the animals’ well-being
• Civil Responsibility Insurance
• Proof of licensing of the vehicles used to transport the animals in question

Whenever filming involves temporary occupation of road area or road platform, you should get a permit, license or approval by Infraestruturas de Portugal (Portugal Infrastructures), and/or other entities that might be necessary to articulate with, such as police departments, bridge management bodies, motorway authorities, etc.

In the case of municipal roads, the responsibility for authorisation already lies with the respective municipal authority.

As a non-resident in Portugal and providing the service by direct contract or by means of a contract with the representing company, the tax procedures may be:

a) business and professional income paid by a Portuguese company to a non-resident without a permanent establishment are covered by the IRS tax rules. This type of income is taxed at the rate of withholding tax at a definitive rate of 25% unless there is a Double Taxation Convention or bilateral agreement.

b) if there is a convention to avoid double taxation and exclusive taxation is foreseen in the beneficiary’s country of residence, it will be necessary to activate this agreement to have the necessary effects. The request must be made by sending the beneficiary (service provider) to the payer (Portuguese entity that purchases this service) of the following documents:

– Completed Form 21-RFI, signed by the beneficiary and certified by the tax authorities of your country of residence,
OR
– Form 21-RFI completed, signed by the beneficiary, and accompanied by the beneficiary’s tax residency certificate (attesting to his taxation in the country of residence).

In other words, if it is not possible to certify the 21-RFI model by the tax authorities of the beneficiary’s country, it is also permissible to send this annex, completed and signed, accompanied by a certificate of tax residence and tax liability issued by the tax authorities.

If there is a retention or a waiver is applicable, the payer will have to send the model 30 to the Tax Authority, by the end of the second month following payment.

In case of goods and products not intended for consumption and that will temporarily remain in the country, with subsequent object of re-export, they may enter the country with the application of the temporary import customs regime.

In order to be included in the temporary importation regime, the following requirements must be met: (i) the goods do not undergo any change beyond the normal depreciation resulting from the use made of it and (ii) it is possible to ensure the identification of the goods subject to this regime (the goods must be endowed with marks, manufacturing numbers or other means of identification that allows confrontation in the act of re-export).

This special customs regime is dependent on an authorisation previously requested to the Tax and Customs Authority.

The period established by law and fixed by customs for these goods to be re-exported is 24 months, and, at the request of interested parties, a shorter period may be fixed. In special circumstances, the deadline may be extended, or another customs procedure may be assigned, fixed by customs.

The participation of minors requires a request for authorisation from the Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People (CPCJ) of the respective area of residence of the minor in question (or of the filming area). They should always take into account the age of the minors in question, as well as the number of hours of effective participation. It may, however, be subject to only one communication if the participation takes place within a 24h period and for minors with a minimum age of 13 years old, who have not participated for 180 days in similar activities. The request is made in writing, at least 5 (five) days in advance.

In this case it depends on whether the minors in question will be paid and taxed according to the rules of Portugal and/or by a Portuguese company, or according to the rules of the country of which they are nationals and/or by a foreign company.

In the first case, the participation of minors requires an authorization request to the Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People (CPCJ), being the request made in writing, with a minimum of 5 (five) days in advance; in the second case, they may, eventually, only be subject to the rules of the country of origin, but the situation must be presented/communicated to the CPCJ of the area where the work will take place, as well as the conditions for the provision of the same.

Citizens of the European Union, Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland need only their identification document to enter Portugal. If they are minors, in addition to the identification document, they must also present a parent’s authorisation to travel. For stays of no more than 90 (ninety) days, nationals of third countries* only need to present a passport valid for more than three months after the end of their stay.

If the workers stay for a period exceeding 90 (ninety) days, they may apply for a residence permit for cultural activities, under the terms of no. 2 of art. 90 of Law no. 23/2007, of 4 July (reference should be made to the provisions of article 4 of Law no. 4/2008, of 7 February, pursuant to which “For the purposes of the law that defines conditions and procedures for the entry, stay, departure and removal of foreign citizens from Portuguese territory, it is assumed that professionals in the performing arts and audio-visual perform highly qualified activities.”)

* You can consult the list of third countries that need a visa to enter Portugal here

They must meet the following requirements:
• Be the holder of a travel document that is valid for at least 3 months after the intended stay
• Have sufficient means of subsistence for the period of the stay
• Not being registered in the Integrated Information System of the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF – Borders and Foreigners Service) or in the Schengen Information System

Visas are granted according to the purpose and duration of the stay, according to the following requirements:

  • Schengen or short-stay visas
  • Airport scale visa
  • Airport transit visa and short stays – can have a maximum validity of 90 days for each semester, with 1, 2 or multiple entries
  • Long-stay visas (or national visas)

More information on the different types of Visas is available here.

Portugal has created one of the most competitive incentive systems in Europe. A Cash Rebate which applies to cinema and audiovisual, with the minimum production costs carried out and taxed in Portugal (QPPE – Qualified Portuguese Production Expenses) of 500,000.00 € for fiction and animation and 200,000.00 € for documentaries and post- production.

All production expenses, relating to individuals or companies, qualify as QPPE if they are subject to tax obligations in Portugal. Production expenses related to production activities carried out in Portugal, but contracted in another EU Member State, qualify as QPPE, up to a limit of 20% of the total QPPE. Expenses related to development and post-production qualify as QPPE.

For feature films, eligible expenses must fall under the following budget lines:

• Above the line: copyright and royalties; production rates; realization rates; main actors.
• Below the line: technical team; artistic team; social charges; travel, accommodation, and transportation; scenography; technical means; image and sound support; imaging laboratory; film editing; insurance; producer costs; etc.

The incentive is automatic and based on the expenses. However, project eligibility and support rates (25%-40%) are assessed through an analysis grid, in terms of cultural and economic testing.

The Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual (ICA – Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual) will analyse the scripts to evaluate the content items.

All applications and documents (including scripts and other copyrighted material) are processed internally only by ICA employees, who are bound by public service rules on the reservation and confidentiality of all documents.

No other content considerations apply, except for films with content such as advertising, propaganda, pornography, as well as films that intentionally promote racism, xenophobia, violence or other values manifestly contrary to the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and the Universal Declaration of Rights Humans.

In this case, the applicant should submit their request to the APA – Portuguese Environment Agency (through the respective ARH – Hydrographic Region Administration), which is the competent authority to authorize the filming.

When filming involving drones, the limitations of the respective POC – Coastal Zone Programmes should also be considered, as these may include some specific rules for overflying with drones.

The Harbour Captaincies authorise and license the filming / photographic sessions in all the Public Maritime Domain under their respective jurisdiction (on beaches, on the banks, underwater, with drone, on a boat, etc.).

However, Law no. 50/2018, of 16th August, approved the framework law for the transfer of competencies to local authorities, and DL 97/2018, of 27th November, established the framework for this same transfer in terms of maritime, fluvial and lake beaches.

Therefore, currently and in most cases, whenever we are facing beaches under concession and the so-called bathing beaches, the competence to authorise filming is in the sphere of the respective City Council, although the Captaincy must always issue an opinion regarding safety. In these cases the request for filming should be requested to the respective Town Hall, which will liaise with the Captaincy, thus avoiding the payment of double fees.

In all other areas of the beach (other than authorized bathing beaches) the competence remains with the respective Captaincy.

You can consult the jurisdiction of each captaincy here.

The authorisation request must be addressed to the Harbour Captain, accompanied by information about the activity to be performed:

  • Complete identification of the production company (including the company legal number)
  • Indication of the name and contact for the person responsible, for coordination and security purposes
  • Exact location of the filming, with illustrative image
  • Approximate number of people involved as well as the dates and times of filming
  • Purpose and summary of the action
  • Indication of the need for people to enter the water (ensure the presence of two properly trained lifeguards, equipped and ready to intervene in case of need)
  • Indication of the use of vessels (send copy of booklets) or drones (need authorisation from the National Aeronautical Authority)
  • Placement of any type of equipment or removable structure (indicate the size of the areas to be occupied)
  • Indication of the need for vehicles to circulate on the beach
  • Indication of the need to interrupt road traffic (due to the matter, the competent police body is the PSP / GNR)
  • Indication of limitation on public fruition of the location

Captaincies will issue a dispatch indicating the safety conditions the applicant must comply with in order to proceed with the proposed activities, including, or not, the need for policing to be carried out by the Maritime Police (dismounted or by ship).

The request must enter the respective Captaincy with a minimum of 3 weekdays before the date of the activity. In case of non-compliance with the established deadline, an urgency fee will be applied, as predicted by the services chart provided by the Bodies and Services of the Maritime Authority (RESAM), approved by Ordinance No. 506/2018, of 2 October