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Decree Law No. 48/2011

Publication: Republic Diary No. 65/2011, Series I of 2011-04-01
  • Issuer: Presidency of the Council of Ministers
  • Diploma Type: Decree Law
  • Number: 48/2011
  • Pages: 1882 - 1904

Summary in plain english

What is it?

This decree-law simplifies opening and altering certain businesses through a simplified scheme called Zero License, created for their setting-up and operation.

With this new framework, licenses, permits, inspections and other authorizations necessary to open and run some businesses will no longer be required. They will be replaced by strict monitoring and owner accountability.

What will change?

Until now, restaurants, snack-bars, bars, workshops, laundries, hairdressers, butchers and other businesses needed several licenses before opening.

With Zero License, business owners no longer need to wait for these licenses. They only have to notify the Balcão do Empreendedor (Entrepreneurs Service Desk) and file a declaration stating a commitment to comply with all legislation concerning their business.

This notification may also include information on:

  • use of public spaces (for instance, canopies, esplanades, platforms, flower pots, displays, ice cream refrigerators and bins)
  • business opening hours and any changes to them
  • changes in the type of business, name of the company or its owners
  • closing down the establishment.

Once this declaration has been made and all fees are paid, they can immediately open their business or make changes.

Entrepreneurs Service Desk

The Entrepreneurs Service Desk is available online, through Portal da Empresa (an online one-stop shop for businesses) or one of several Lojas da Empresa (face-to-face service centers for businesses) across the country. This service may also be available at some local councils or other public or private entities (for example, business associations) that wish to provide it.

There, entrepreneurs can find:

  • the rules that apply to their business, written in plain language
  • information on fees and how they are calculated.
Activities that no longer need a license or to be reported

The following activities do not need any license, nor to be reported to the Entrepreneurs Service Desk:

  • posting and writing adverts related to the activity of the establishment (as long as they respect the rules of use of public space)
  • ticket sales for shows
  • auctions in public spaces.
What happens if an entrepreneur does not comply with the rules

Zero License requires entrepreneurs to take more responsibility in complying with the rules that apply to their businesses.

If they fail to present the necessary information at the Entrepreneurs Service Desk, or if it proves to be false, they may face fines of up to:

  • 3,500 euros, if they are individuals
  • 25,000 euros, if they are a company.

If the infraction is considered serious, authorities may close the establishment or forbid the owners to do business (for a period no longer than 2 years)

What are its advantages?

This decree-law is intended to:

  • reduce bureaucracy for businesses
  • encourage entrepreneurship.
When does it come into effect?

This decree-law comes into effect on the first working day of the month after being published.

During the first year, the new rules will apply in stages to different types of businesses (see Portaria n.º 131/2011, of 4 of April). All businesses not yet covered by the new rules will follow the old ones.

Original Version


  • Legal translator is the translation of texts within the field of law


Legislative consolidation integrates the various amendments and rectifications made into an original legal diploma in order to make its consultation more accessible to the citizen.