NGDO Registration Procedure

Recognition and Registration as a NGDO

According to Law no. 66/98 of 14 October, which approved the Statute of Non-Governmental Development organisations (NGDO), they are institutions of Civil Society established by natural or legal persons and having a private non-profit nature, with headquarters in Portugal.

The purpose of NGDOs is to design, implement and support development co-operation, humanitarian and emergency aid programmes and projects and the protection and promotion of human rights.

An NGDO may take the form of an association, a foundation, a cooperative or an organisation established by the church and is not allowed to have a party political, trade-union or religious nature nor to engage in military co-operation activities.

As a rule, NGDOs have the following areas of intervention: education, training and culture; scientific and technical assistance; health, including medical, drug and food; employment and vocational training; protection and defence of the environment; social and community integration; rural development; strengthening Civil Society through support to similar associations and grassroots associations in developing countries; in particular through the dissemination of knowledge about developing countries in public opinion.

NGDO status is assigned by Camões, I.P., through a registration valid for a period of two years. After this period, NGDOs must submit a request for renewal of the status.

The procedure for registering an organisation as an NGDO usually consists of three stages: start-up, formation and decision-making. If the elements in the case lead to a draft decision unfavourable to the applicant organisation, there will also be a fourth phase between the investigation and the decision, namely the hearing of the interested parties.

In the context of the process of administrative modernisation and in order to streamline and contribute to the dematerialisation of processes, Camões, I.P. has implemented an online platform known as the "Balcão Único / Service Desk", to which requests must be submitted.

Recognition of NGDO status

The application form submitted for these cases, and available at Service Desk, must be completed and accompanied by the following documents when uploading the respective cases online:

  • Copy of the deed of establishment;
  • Copy of the articles of association and their successive amendments or, in the case of an organisation established by the church, a copy of the document issued by the competent ecclesiastical authority;
  • Copy of the editions of the Official Gazette or the page of the Justice Portal where the establishment of the organisation was announced, its articles of association and the respective amendments;
  • Plan of activities for the current year;
  • Document showing the means of financing the organisation.


Once the application is received, a preliminary analysis of all documentation is performed. Thereafter, a copy of the file is sent to the Portuguese Platform for NGDOs, with a view to the issue of a non-binding opinion. After the opinion, the draft decision is drawn up. If the draft decision is in for approval, the procedure ends with the decision. Otherwise, there will be a hearing of the interested entity.


The entity is first notified of the draft decision, together with its grounds, with a reference to the time and place of the consultation of the process in order, within not less than 10 days, to give its opinion on the issues that form the subject of the procedure. If it so desires, the organisation may request additional steps as well as attach documents that it deems relevant to the final decision.


After receiving the opinion of the Portuguese Platform for NGDOs or after hearing the organisation, a service report is drafted, indicating the application, summarising the content of the procedure and formulating a proposal for a decision, with a summary of the reasons for it. In the absence of withdrawal of the application, resignation, abandonment, impossibility or superfluity, the procedure is completed by the decision, which will be notified to the requesting entity through an official letter. The recognition of NGDO status must be for a period of two years from the date the application to Camões, I.P. Within six months of the date on which the registration expires, the organisation must apply for renewal of the status.

Renewal of NGDO status

After two years from the recognition of the status and registration as an NGDO, organisations must apply to Camões, I.P. for renewal, and the renewal application (available at the online Service Desk) must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Activity Reports and accounts of the last two years in which the organisation was registered as an NGDO; 
  • Plan of activities for the current year; 
  • Copy of the updated articles of association and their publication in the Official Gazette or in the Justice Portal, if they have changed.

On receipt of the application for renewal and review of the respective documentation, the procedure will be carried out under the same terms as for Recognition, apart from the Stakeholder Hearing and Decision phase.

Expiry of Recognition of NGDO status

After two years from registration as an NGDO, if the entity does not apply for renewal within a period of 6 months from the date on which the registration expires, recognition of the NGDO status of the entity will expire definitively. In order to obtain the status again, it will be necessary to launch a new application for recognition of the status and registration as an NGDO.