How to open a home support service

A Home Support Service (SAD) is a service provided in the homes of physically and/or psychologically disabled individuals who are not sufficiently autonomous to meet their basic needs and who have no family support.

The objectives of this establishment includes the contribution for the improvement of the quality of life and welfare of the users and the support of families to provide such care.

Learn here which steps to follow to open a home support service.

Licence for use

The licence for use (or construction licence) is a general validation of the property as to the conditions, location, functional suitability and compliance with fire safety rules and health and hygiene standards.
This licence can be applied for in your local city council.

Consult the step by step guide for more information.

Operating Licence

The operating licence, or licensing, is the process that legally validates your home support service.
It is granted after an inspection that assesses the adequacy of human resources, the draft of internal regulations, the existence of equipment and facilities appropriate to the activity, the applicant's contributory good standing and the suitability of all those involved.
Submit your licensing request on this portal.

Consult the step by step guide for more information.

How to open a home support service step by step

Step 1: Develop a Business Plan

The business plan is not mandatory, but it is essential for your project to be successful. Do not forget to include:

  • Analysis of the local needs
  • To decide on the legal nature (company, association, IPSS)
  • Services provided
  • Marketing strategy and promotion
  • Financial Plan - costs and revenues
  • Human Resources
  • Space plan
  • Main risks


Step 2: Premises and Licence for use

The home support service can operate on owned or rented property. In any case, a licence for use is necessary. Submit the request to your city council, which, in its turn, will involve the necessary entities:

  • Social Security Institute
  • National Civil Protection Authority
  • Competent health authority

This inspection evaluates:

  • Conditions and location of the establishment
  • Functional suitability of the premises
  • Compliance with fire safety rules
  • Compliance with the hygiene and health standards

The waiting time between the inspection request and the approval may take up to 45 days, corresponding to 15 days until the inspection plus 30 days for the approval.

Equipment specific to the activity may be added after this inspection.


Step 3: Internal Regulation

The internal regulation shall be binding and shall include:

  • Admission conditions, criteria and proceedings;
  • Care and services to be provided;
  • Rights and duties of the home support service, the user or legal representative and the family;
  • Operating hours;
  • Pricing or criteria for determining family co-participations.


Step 4: Human Resources

The hiring of professionals of a home support service follows clear rules without which the activity is not allowed. At the bottom of this page you will find an Administrative Decree on the Operation of Home Support Services that explains how to build your team.

Before applying for the licence, you need to have a staff plan, with the characteristics of each professional.

It is advisable that, before the licensing request, the whole recruitment process is already done, with pre-agreement of the contract. When applying for licensing, you should submit the specific criminal record for working with the elderly for all professionals who interact with the users.

Request the criminal record


Step 5: Beginning of Ativity

The licensing application must be carried out on behalf of the company or management entity, and it is therefore necessary for it to be duly regulated at the time of the application.

Create your company

Open your association

Open your IPSS


Step 6: Request of the Operating Licence

The Request of the Operating Licence can be submitted online or in person in the district Social Security centres.
The waiting time between the inspection request and the approval may take up to 45 days, corresponding to 15 days until the inspection plus 30 days for the approval.
The following documents are required to submit this request:

  • Photocopy of the applicants’ citizen card
  • Photocopy of the tax identification card
  • Simple extract of the entries’ content in force in the commercial registry or the access code to the respective permanent certificate
  • Copy of the articles of association in the case of an IPSS
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Statement of the applicant(s)' contribution status or authorisation for the competent authorities to consult it
  • Proof of ownership of premises or lease agreement
  • Licence or authorization for use (see step 2)
  • Plan of staff with their academic qualifications and functional content
  • Draft of the contract to be entered with the users;
  • Franchising documents, if applicable

All the detailed information on how to open a home support service is available in the Practical Guide for the Licensing of the Social Support Establishments Activity

The rates in force can be consulted on the Social Security portal.


Step 7: Insurance and Complaints Book

O seguro de incêndios (para as frações autónomas e as partes comuns de edifícios em propriedade horizontal) e o livro de reclamações são obrigatórios. Consulte o Guia explicativo do Livro de Reclamações

Administrative Decree no. 38/2013
Decree-Law no. 99/2011
Administrative Decree no. 348/2008
Decree-Law no. 555/99