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I know how to configure NAT-based port forwarding using the VirtualBox graphical interface (as in the example below).

How can I do the same via the command line?

Port forwarding via VirtualBox GUI

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If the machine is powered off, you may use the modifyvm command:

VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" --natpf1 "guestssh,tcp,,2222,,22"

If it's powered on, controlvm.

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    Thanks for the natfp<nic number> on controlvm. That helps automating the setup of my VMs. – Jari Turkia Apr 18 '18 at 11:28
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on virtual box 6+ , --natpf1 is not supported , @Lyndsy Simon's answer has just one change ('--natpf1' is just changed to simply 'natpf1') , changed command looks like this

VBoxManage controlvm "VM name" natpf1 "guestssh,tcp,,2222,,22"

obviously i am making a change in the running VM so used controlvm if the VM is power off mode , use modifyvm instead!

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