Frequently Asked Questions

Functions of the order

The primary roles are:

a) Regulate the access and practice of the profession;

b) Defend general interests of patients from services provided by members, enforcing citizens right's to health;

c) Represent and defend general interests of the profession, in national territory, ensuring its social function, dignity and prestige;

d) Exclusively assign physiotherapist professional title and professional certificate to its members;

e) Protect the professional title, including handling complaints about illegal practice of the profession, and becoming a part in criminal proceedings;

f) Certify the specialization qualification of a physiotherapist who meets the requirements set by the specialists’ member’s board;

g) Create and keep the professional registration of members updated;

h) Ensure compliance with ethics and professional deontology rules;

i) Use disciplinary power over its members;

j) Awards or honorary titles;

k) Offer services related to professional practice to members, accurate information, professional training and technical and legal support;

l) Collaborate with Public entities in pursuit of public interests related to the profession of physiotherapy;

m) Participate in legislation proposals regarding the profession;

n) Participation in official accreditation processes and evaluation of academic education that give access to the profession;

o) Recognize professional qualifications obtained outside Portugal, according to the Portuguese and European Union laws or international conventions;

p) Provide advice regarding scientific and technical matters, requested by any entity, national or foreign, public or private, when there is public interest for the profession;

q) Support the development of physiotherapy science and education;

r) Any other role committed by law.

According to Law 122/2019, of 30 September, which can be consulted here, the Order of Physiotherapists regulates the profession, defends physiotherapy and protects the citizen against unqualified practice.

The Order has a Jurisdictional Council that examines complaints against physiotherapists and has the power to act against bad practices and unqualified practice, intervening directly and/or indirectly in such proven situations.

No, the Portuguese Parliament or the Government, is the Portuguese legislative organization, it´s responsible for creating laws. The Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas can regulate all relevant aspects of the profession.

One of the attributions of the Order, set out in Article 4 of its StatutesThe aim of the title of specialist is to "confer the title of specialist on physiotherapists who meet the requirements laid down by the competent bodies".

According to paragraph j) of article 26 of the Statute of the Order of Physiotherapists, it is the responsibility of the Board of the Order to propose to the General Council, the creation of the list of professional specialties in Physiotherapy. The preparation of a proposal, to be submitted to the General Council and for subsequent public consultation, is included in the 2023 Activities Plan. 

Member services / support

In accordance with the provisions of article 4 of the Statutes of the Order of Physiotherapists, in point 1, paragraphs d) and f), the Order attributes the professional title of Physiotherapist and respective professional cédula.

Once the specialties have been defined, it will also attribute the title of specialist to those Physiotherapists who meet the requirements set by the competent bodies.

Without prejudice to the promotion of the socio-economic conditions of its members, according to Law 122/2019, of 30 September, article 4, no. 2, "The Order is prevented from exercising or participating in activities of a trade union nature or that relate to the regulation of the economic or professional relations of its members.", so it does not intervene in issues of a labour and/or trade union nature.

No. All issues related to career progression, salary aspects, or others, are not duties of Portuguese Professional Orders, without prejudice to studying the underlying issues, that may be advocated by the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas.

Physiotherapy, as a healthcare service is exempt from VAT. This will not happen if a physiotherapist has any other activity where the VAT is applied.

There may also be cases where some devices connected to physiotherapy may be subject to VAT, regardless of their rate.

Yes. The cost of issuing a duplicate of the cédula can be found in the Regulation of Dues and Fees.

The Order of Physiotherapists is developing a job vacancy exchange, which will be available to all members in the reserved area. The project is ongoing and is expected to be finalised by the end of 2023.

Registration

In accordance with the provisions of article 3 of the Regulation of Registration of the Order of Physiotherapists:

"1- You may enrol in the OF:

a) Have a graduate academic degree in physiotherapy, completed after a program of study of no less than four curricular years, by a Portuguese higher education institution;

b) Have a foreign academic degree in physiotherapy, with equivalence to the program of study mentioned on the previous paragraph;

c) Are a national certified practitioner from EU Member States or European Economic Area whose qualifications have been obtained outside Portugal, pursuant to Article 67 of the Statute of the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas.

2 - You can also register if you:

a) Are a Physiotherapist who, in accordance with Statutes and applicable legal provisions, is a certified practitioner;

b) Holders of the professional license of physiotherapist, issued under the terms of Decree-Law no. 320/99, of 11 August.

3 - The registration of nationals of third States whose qualifications have been obtained outside Portugal and to whom the provisions of paragraph 1(c) apply, shall also depend on the guarantee of reciprocal treatment, under the terms of an international convention, including a convention celebrated between the OF and the congeneric authority of the country of origin of the interested party.

4 - The following can also register as members:

a) Professional societies of physiotherapy, including the branches of associative organizations of physiotherapists, created under the law of another country, pursuant to article 68 of the Statute of the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas;

b) Permanent representations in national territory of associative organizations of physiotherapists, constituted under the law of another State, pursuant to article 69 of the Statute of the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas.

5 - Registration to practice physiotherapy may be refused if:

a) You don’t have higher academic training pursuant to points a) to c) of paragraph 1, without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 4, of article 1;

b) The person concerned has been punished with an interdiction or suspension of practice provided by law, or a criminal, administrative or disciplinary infraction.

6 - The recognition required for purposes of point c) of paragraph 1, must be requested by the interested parties.

7- Enrolment in the OF may be made in any of the specialties recognised under the terms defined in the Regulation of Specialties, following their creation."

The enrolment of the Physiotherapist in the Order can be made exclusively through the site of the Order of Physiotherapists, without the need to go to the head office for that purpose.

https://ordemdosfisioterapeutas.pt/inscricao-na-ordem-dos-fisioterapeutas/

Yes, even if you are registered with the ACSS or have a valid registration with APFisio, you will have to register with the Order of Physiotherapists.

Registration in the Order is compulsory and is a necessary condition for the use of the professional title of Physiotherapist and access to professional practice.

If you register you must pay the registration fee. Registration with the Order is a mandatory condition for exercising the activity. The fees for this process are defined by regulation, and no exemptions are provided. Registration with the Order will be relevant to prove your professional qualifications when seeking employment.

If you are unemployed and therefore not exercising the activity, you can choose to delay registration until you effectively exercise the profession, in whatever form, namely liberal. You should, however, provide proof of this situation by sending the Order a statement with the respective supporting document.

The decision to register in the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas and to maintain or suspend this registration is an individual decision, and a right of the person who has the qualifications/ requirements to do so.

However, only those registered can use the professional title of Physiotherapist and legally practice the profession.

The Statute of the Order of Physiotherapists, approved by Law 122/2019, of 30 September, as well as the articles thereof, enable registration as a member of the Order to occur at any time.

This is the principle applicable to those who wish to start their activity, such as young graduates or professionals from other countries moving to Portugal.

However, with the creation of the Physiotherapists Association, the previous registration in the ACSS is no longer sufficient condition for the legal exercise of the profession of Physiotherapist, being now necessary the registration in the Association. Since 13 May 2021 the conditions for the effective registration in the Order are met, and this is a legal condition for the exercise of the profession.

Registration with the Order is obligatory and a legal condition for exercising the profession. Employers are obliged to require their employees to register with the Order, so you should co-operate with your employer to ensure that you and your employees are not in breach of your obligations. In the case of a self-employed professional, exercising the profession without being registered with the Order also constitutes a situation of non-compliance.

Any of the following up to date documents may be accepted for inclusion:

  • Salary receipt showing work address (you can hide the amounts)
  • Declaration of the employer's professional address.
  • Declaration of commencement of activity at the Tax Office
  • Green Receipt with address
  • Declaration of the IEFP in the applicable cases.

Yes. A company that employs physiotherapists must guarantee that all its professionals are legally qualified for the purpose, requiring that all physiotherapists have a valid professional license issued by the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas. The company has the additional responsibility to ensure the registration of the physiotherapists it employs.

If you have not yet received your professional cédula, it may be sufficient to present a provisional declaration issued by the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas.

The data provided by Physiotherapists will be under the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD), which you can consult here.

In accordance with the General Regulation of Data Protection (RGPD), all data provided are treated in strict confidentiality and will not be provided to any external entity. They will be stored in the institutional system under the responsibility of the Data Protection Officer of the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas.

Yes. All physiotherapists who perform acts which are part of the professional exercise of physiotherapy must register in the Order of Physiotherapists.

No. Your registration number is assigned automatically when you submit your application. In turn, the cédula number will be assigned after review of your file by the Secretariat, the Technical Admissions Committee and the Board of the Order and after final payment of the registration fee of €100.

The cédula number is attributed by an automatic process, when the administrative process of admission is concluded, when the provisional cédula is issued.

The number of the ballot paper will not coincide with the number of the submission, as the processes may have different rhythms of analysis and deliberation, and some may even have a negative decision, and the corresponding ballot paper will not be issued.

The admission process begins with the submission of the application on the platform, and has the following steps:

  • Confirmation of the submission, and assignment of a sequential identification number for the process;
  • Confirmation of payment of the registration fee - the process analysis time begins;
  • Start of the analysis of the conformity of the process by the Secretariat of the Technical Commission for Admission (CTA). It may be necessary to modify or complete the dossier. In this case the applicant is notified and the examination time is suspended until the situation is resolved by the applicant.
  • Confirmation by the TAC Secretariat that the case is ready to be examined by the TAC. The case is allocated to a member of the TAC to start drafting the opinion.
  • The CTA shall make a detailed analysis of the file, and submit to the Order a reasoned proposal for a decision on whether or not to accept the applicant's registration.
  • The Order shall consider the proposal of the CTA and shall act in conformity (or otherwise) with the proposal of the CTA.
  • The applicant is informed of admission to the Order and asked to pay the registration fee.

With confirmation of payment of the registration fee, a provisional cédula is issued, which certifies admission to the Order. In this process, the sequential number of the respective cédula is assigned.

The Order decided, internally, to recommend to the services of the Order that the period between the confirmation of payment of the registration fee (50 euros), and the deliberation of acceptance or not of the registration, should not exceed 30 consecutive days.

This time limit does not include, of course, the periods of time stopped for updating or complementary submission of data by the applicant, when requested by the Secretariat of the Order.

You can follow the progress of your process by logging back into the Order's website, in the same place and with the same identification sequence by the mobile digital key that you used in the process of submitting the application for registration.

When you enter your process, you will immediately have an indication of the stage it is at.

The CV allows to document the "relevant professional experience", which is a requirement of the application form, in particular in the case of mobile professionals coming from other countries.

Although the Regulation of Registration of the Portuguese Order of Physioterapists does not explicitly indicate the need to provide a CV, its presentation facilitates the process of examining applications.

The level of detail of the description of this professional experience will, at this stage, be at the applicant's discretion and under his/her honour. The applicant is also informed that this field will be available for updating, at any time, and on his/her own initiative, in the respective personal area, accessible through the site of the Order of Physiotherapists.

The date of completion of the course, in particular the course that gave you access to professional practice, which appears on your diploma or qualification certificate, is relevant for the overall calculation of your length of professional practice (seniority).

It should not be confused with the date of issue of the diploma or certificate itself, which is normally issued at a later date.

In the case of a duplicate Diploma, the difference will naturally be even greater.

The date you should put on the form is the date of completion of the initial course.

The date of completion of the course, in particular the course that gave you access to professional practice, which appears on your diploma or qualification certificate, is relevant for the overall calculation of your length of professional practice (seniority). If your original course did not lead to a degree but you have subsequently obtained an equivalent qualification, the date you must put on the form is the date on which your original course ended.

Example: For a course from 1985, which was the subject of a formal equivalence in 1999, the date on the form should be 1985.

You must, however, submit both documents: the one of the initial training and the one of the formal recognition of the academic degree. As there is only one field in the form for submitting these two documents, you should make a joint copy, in a single PDF.

Yes, the first cycle of the Bachelor's Degree in Physiotherapy was, at the time, sufficient qualification to exercise the profession of Physiotherapist, and registration to obtain the respective professional card. It will be sufficient to present the certificate proving this qualification.

Taking into account that the first cycle of the Bachelor's Degree in Physiotherapy was, at the time, the sufficient qualification for the exercise of the profession of Physiotherapist, and registration for obtaining the respective professional card, this will be the reference qualification for statistical purposes.

On that basis, the date of completion of the Bachelor's degree will be the one we will use to count your professional seniority.

If you have not requested this certificate of completion of the Baccalaureate, you must submit a declaration of honour, with the respective date of completion.

To facilitate, we exemplify the text that your declaration should contain: "I, (name), declare on my honor that I concluded the Bachelor's Degree in the XXXXXX Institution with completion date XXXXX". The declaration must be signed, according to the identification document.

In the defence of consumers/users of physiotherapy services, the Order, as a public entity, has to guarantee that its members meet the legal requirements necessary to exercise the activity, without restrictions, both in terms of professional qualifications and in terms of disciplinary/criminal issues related to the activity.

In this case you should access the platform and press the "manual login" button.

To proceed, you must have a PDF copy of your lifetime ID with you, to submit on the platform.

Following this submission, the Order's Secretariat will review your request and send you a reply email in due course.

In this case you should access the platform and press the "manual login" button.

To proceed, you must have a PDF copy of your ID document with you, to submit on the platform.

Following this submission, the Order's Secretariat will review your request and send you a reply email in due course.

Whether your application will be forwarded will depend on the country in which you obtained your qualifications and whether or not you are already registered with the ACSS. 

If your qualifications were obtained in Portugal, the ACSS no longer has jurisdiction in their recognition for professional practice. It is now the Order of Physiotherapists, so your request may be accepted and you will be given access to fill out the online form.

If your qualifications were obtained outside Portugal, but you are already registered with the ACSS your application may be accepted, and you will also be given access to complete the online form.

If your qualifications were obtained outside Portugal, but were obtained in one of the European Union countries, you should apply for a European Professional Card, at https://europa.eu/youreurope/

If your qualifications were obtained in a third country, your application may be accepted, and you will also be given access to fill out the online form, but you must first obtain specific recognition of your qualifications (Licentiate Degree in Physiotherapy) in a Portuguese Higher Education Institution.

You only have to register in the Portuguese Physiotherapist Association if you wish to practice the activity of Physiotherapist in Portugal. This assumes, in principle, the possession of a Portuguese fiscal identification number (NIF), and an address associated with that NIF.

It is mandatory to have a professional address in our country. This address is essential for the allocation to a regional delegation, and for sending official correspondence from the Order.

The professional address may be the "family home"/house of residence, duly certified, if you do not have a link with an institution that can issue the corresponding statement.

If the applicant does not have a Portuguese TIN, he can exercise in Portugal and keep his tax situation regularized in another country. However, he must always have a professional address in our country, in accordance with nr. 2.

Yes, as long as it respects certain conditions.

Registration and subsequent payment of fees are only compulsory if you wish to practice your profession in Portugal, even if you maintain your residence abroad.

However, for registration and to exercise the profession in Portugal you must have a professional address in the country. This address is essential for allocation to a regional delegation, and for sending official correspondence from the Order.

You must provide one of the usual proofs of this address.

If you do not have a regular address in our country, you may indicate an address of a relative or someone to whom you entrust the responsibility of forwarding the correspondence (namely the address allocated to obtain the national NIF).

Proof may be provided by a sworn statement from the person who has that address, in which case you should attach one of the usual proofs of residence of that person confirming the address.

Although you are living abroad, to practice Physiotherapy in Portugal you must have a professional domicile of reference. If you have a Portuguese NIF, you should present the domicile associated with that NIF (family address house) indicating the tax office number that corresponds to your NIF. If you do not practice in Portugal, you can only register for the purposes of recognition for practice in the effective country/member state of the practice.

To practice Physiotherapy in Portugal you must have a professional domicile of reference.

In case you have a Portuguese NIF, you should present the domicile associated to that NIF, indicating the tax office number that corresponds to your NIF.

If you do not have an autonomous professional domicile in the Member State of effective exercise, you must indicate the domicile as if it were the one where you have your residence, in case the legislation of that Country does not prohibit it.

If you are a citizen of a country outside the European Union you must have a legal authorization to reside in Portugal and give as a reference the address associated with that authorization.

In all cases, the issue of the professional card will depend on the proof of possession of a Portuguese professional domicile.

No. As the qualification is obtained in Portugal, the ACSS no longer has jurisdiction in the recognition of these qualifications for the professional exercise, which is now the Order of Physiotherapists.

As of 15 December 2021, the Order is also the Competent Authority for the purposes of the Directive 2005/36/ECso all necessary declarations will be issued by the Order.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 10 of the Registration Regulations:

"Membership in the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas is cancelled for members who:

  1. a) Are subject to the disciplinary measure of expulsion;
  2. b) They voluntarily cease to exercise their professional activity and who so inform the Board."

Your registration may lapse if it is not completed within 180 days, as stipulated in Article 4(7) of the Registration Regulation. In this case, if you wish to re-register, you will have to complete a new registration process and pay a new fee.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 9 of the Registration Regulations:

"Members are suspended from the OF who:

  1. a) Are subject to the disciplinary suspension measure;
  2. b) Require it when they want to temporarily interrupt the practice of Physiotherapy, as long as they liquidate outstanding fees, if any;
  3. c) Are in a situation of incompatibility with the professional practice of physiotherapy, "

Membership fees

With the award of the provisional professional card. If the final payment of the registration fee of €100 is made in the first fortnight of the month, the obligation to pay membership fees begins in the same month. If it is made in the second fortnight, the obligation to pay membership fees begins the following month.

 The value of the membership fees is defined in the Dues and Fees Regulations of the Order in forceThe monthly fee is €12.00 (twelve euros). It can be changed annually, with the preparation of the budget for the following year.3. How often do I have to pay the membership fees?

Three intervals are available for the payment of membership fees: monthly, half-yearly and yearly.

Yes. If you choose to pay half-yearly, you will receive a discount of 5% for the January-June and July-December blocks. If you choose annual payment, the discount will be 10%. These discounts do not apply to outstanding amounts.

No. As membership fees are paid according to the calendar year, the monthly option is always available, the half-yearly option is available from 1 January to 31 July and the annual option is available from 1 to 31 January.

Yes, you can. Just choose the new frequency you want the next time you pay your membership fees.

The available means are: Multibanco Reference, MB Way, Credit Card and Direct Debit. It should be noted that in the monthly quota payment option, only Direct Debit and MB Way are available.

Yes, you can. Simply choose the new payment method you want the next time you pay your membership fees.

Access your "Reserved Area":

  • Choose the option "Dues". You will be shown the last dues paid and the amount to be paid;
  • Click on "Pay Dues";
  • Choose the Payment Frequency. Please note that depending on the month you are in, not all may be available;
  • Choose the Payment Method: Direct Debit, ATM Reference, MB Way or Credit Card;
  • Enter the details for issuing the invoice;

- Confirm and proceed

Yes. The information system has a set of alerts that notify via e-mail.

Late payment of membership fees may result in interest being charged on the amount owed, calculated at the supplementary legal rate. The interest rate for late payment is defined by the Treasury and Public Debt Management Agency - IGCP, E. P. E. and published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Portugal. E. and published in the Official Gazette.

From the 1st day of the second outstanding month. If, for example, the last quota paid corresponds to May, interest on arrears will be charged from 1 July.

No, because the amount of the membership fee is defined through the budget approved for the following year. Therefore, the payment of membership fees is made according to the calendar year.

Yes. As part of the 2023 Activity Plan, the Order of Physiotherapists applies a 50% reduction in the amount of membership fees for the first 6 months for new graduates who register within four months of completing their degree.

The obligation to pay membership fees ceases only in situations of suspension or cancellation of membership, whether voluntary or coercive.

Yes, you can. When you pay your membership fees in your reserved area, under "Billing details", choose one of the following options: Own; Own sole proprietorship; Employer where you practice as a physiotherapist.

You can, as long as you do it within the same month in which the invoice to be changed was generated. To do so, you must make the request in your reserved area, under "Support" and "Support Request".

Your invoice will be sent to your email inbox and will be available in your reserved area.

Yes, you can. Physiotherapists who carry out the activity on behalf of others must declare the amount of the quotas paid, in Table 4C of Annex A, of the IRS Model 3 Declaration, with the expense code 422 (Quotations Professional Orders).

Physiotherapists who are self-employed and are covered by the simplified regime do not need to declare; if they have organised accounts, they should inform their Certified Accountant.

The Physiotherapist who still practice or intends to keep his professional card, must pay fees. If you do not intend to maintain the qualification to practice, you can suspend your registration with the Ordem dos Fisioterapeutas.

Pedro Maciel Barbosa

Specialist physiotherapist at the Matosinhos Local Health Unit Sub-coordinator for Primary Health Care, Matosinhos Local Health Unit Visiting Assistant Professor at the Porto School of Health Member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Health - SNS Member of the General Council of the Order of Physiotherapists

Carlos Sand

Carlos Areia has been a physiotherapist since 2013, and has worked in various hospitals, clinics and clubs in both Portugal and the UK. He began his academic career at Oxford University in 2016, where he led a clinical trial comparing physiotherapy vs surgery in anterior cruciate injuries in 32 hospitals in England. In 2018 she moved to the neurosciences department, where she developed her own studies on remote monitoring of vital signs, which were implemented during the pandemic. Here he discovered his passion for data, and in 2022, he joined Digital Science as a Data Scientist. He completed his PhD earlier this year, and has more than 60 publications in journals such as The Lancet, BMJ, Cochrane, among others. He is also an honorary lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and a consultant in clinical research.

Eduardo José Brazete Carvalho Cruz

PhD in Physiotherapy from the University of Brighton, UK. Post-Doctorate in Epidemiology from the National School of Public Health at the New University of Lisbon.
Coordinator of the Studies and Planning Office of the Order of Physiotherapists. Coordinating Professor of the Physiotherapy Department of the School of Health of the Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal (ESS-IPS). President of the ESS-IPS Technical-Scientific Council. Coordinator of the Physiotherapy Department at ESS-IPS. Integrated Researcher at the Comprehensive Health Research Centre (CHRC) (a partnership between FCM-UNL, the National School of Public Health, the University of Évora, the Lisbon Institute of Global Mental Health and Santo Espírito Hospital, Terceira Island, Azores).

Sara Souto Miranda

Sara Souto Miranda has a bachelor's and master's degree in physiotherapy from the University of Aveiro, and a postgraduate qualification in adult respiratory physiotherapy from the same institution. In 2023 she completed her double doctorate in Rehabilitation Sciences/Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at the Universities of Aveiro and Maastricht (Netherlands) and is currently working as a technical-scientific advisor to the Studies and Planning Office (GEP) of the Order of Physiotherapists, and as a guest lecturer at the Piaget Institute in Vila Nova de Gaia. As a member of the Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation Laboratory at the University of Aveiro (Lab3R), she has carried out applied research in which she has assessed and treated patients with respiratory pathology, having taken part in 6 research projects. Throughout her career she has published 19 scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals with an impact factor, 1 book chapter and more than 50 abstracts in conference proceedings. She was a research volunteer at the Ciro rehabilitation centre (Centre for expertise in chronic organ failure) in the Netherlands, and is currently a member of the Guideline Methodology Network of European Respiratory Society. She was honoured by European Lung Foundation e European Respiratory Society for carrying out patient-centred research, by the Directorate General for Higher Education with a merit grant for his master's degree, and by the Ciro Centre with a grant to support research abroad.

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