Portugal Travel Checklist: Telecommunications and Taxes

Telecommunications

The telephone system in Portugal has undergone tremendous development in the recent years. A state-of-the-art telephone network was established by 1998, which included high-speed broadband capabilities. This new infrastructure has boosted local as well as international communication.

International calls can be made by first dialing the international code of ‘00′ followed by the respective country’s code, the area code and lastly the specific number. The rates for calling long distances are relatively less between 10 pm and 8 am on weekdays and on weekends and public holidays. Helpline numbers assist users with connectivity problems. 009 can be dialed for problems related to European countries, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia and 098 can be dialed for all other countries. Direct dialing facilities are also available, wherein you can call the operator in your country.

The GSM network facilitates standard mobile telephone service in Portugal. This also enables you to avail of roaming facilities. The two GSM service providers in Portugal are TMN, associated with Portugal Telecom, and Telecel.
At the Lisbon Airport, GSM phones are available on rent for non-residents for a minimum period of three days. These are made available by both Telecel and Telerent or TAP. Portugal’s international dial code for mobile phones is 268. Public telephones are spread across most cities and towns and can be used for making national and international calls.

Taxes

In Portugal, the Value Added Tax or VAT is known as ‘IVA’. This can be reclaimed by visitors who do not reside in the European Union, if their stay is less than 180 days. For this, the visitors need to fill in a form called ‘Isencao de IVA’. This form is supposed to be presented to the custom officials before leaving the country.

The IVA fluctuates between 8% for basic items like books and food to 17-19% in case of luxury goods and other items that a foreign visitor purchases in Portugal. The price of almost all the items and services is already inclusive of the VAT. If the tourists from any of the non-euro countries make purchases of a minimum of 60 euros in one shop, they can avail of IVA refund. There are shops, which provide this facility and these display signs such as, ‘Europe Tax-Free Shopping Portugal’.

If you purchase a minimum of 60 euro in one shop, they can avail of the benefit of IVA refund. There are shops which provide this facility and these display signs like “Europe Tax – Free Shopping Portugal “.You can take the help of the staff in the shop for getting the refund. The refund comes usually in the form a check and the administration fees are deducted beforehand. At the airports of Lisbon, Porto and Faro, the visitors are required to display their goods, checks and passport at the customs counter in order to claim the refund in the form of cash, postal note or through credit cards. In case of overland travel, customs at the final EU border point can be contacted for the purpose.