Gringoes > Legal > Personal Documents in Brazil: The Basics
Personal Documents in Brazil: The Basics

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
January 9, 2016

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If you are a foreigner that wants to live in Brazil, you should know a few things in advance. One of these things is what sort of documents you will need in order to live, work and drive here and how to get these documents. The first document you will need is the CPF, which stands for "cadastro de pessoa fsica". This document is a tax identification number linked to the Federal Revenue of Brazil. This CPF is needed to purchase many goods and services such as a car, a health insurance plan and a house. This document can be obtained through a Brazilian embassy or consulate, or from the Brazilian Receita Federal, which is the local Tax Authority. Getting it through a diplomatic mission requires more work, costs more and takes weeks before you get your number, so doing it through the Receita Federal is recommended.

Another essential document is the CIE (Cdula de Identidade de Estrangeiro). This is a card that contains your RNE (Registro Nacional de Estrangeiro), which is your proof of ID in Brazil that is the equivalent of the Brazilian ID card, the RG (Registro Geral). Important note: this first requires you have an appropriate visa e.g. permanent. In some places you can also use your passport as an ID, but there will be many situations where your RNE number will be needed such as when opening a bank account, buying a car or getting a mobile phone plan. To get this document, you need to fill a form and apply for it at the <a href="http://www.dpf.gov.br/">Federal Police website</a> within 30 days of arriving in the country. It is important to be aware that although some bank workers will tell you that they only accept an RG number they are wrong, as the RNE number can be used as a substitute for the RG in any occasion according to Brazilian law.

You should also have a proof of residence, which may be required when doing things such as getting a job or an internet plan. There are several documents that can serve as a proof of residence, and different institutions might ask for different documents as proof. Some of the documents that are most commonly accepted are condominium bills, electricity bills, bank statements, lease agreements and traffic fines. If you dont have any of these documents in your name, you need to present them along with a document that proves your relationship with the homeowner.

If you want to work here, you also need to get a CTPS (Carteira de Trabalho e Previdncia Social). This document will give you access to labor rights and record information about your employers, jobs and wages. The CTPS for foreigners is issued at the Regional Offices of Labor and employment, and requires you to present a series of documents. The only different between the CTPS for Brazilians and for foreigners is the color of the cover, which is blue for locals and green for foreigners.

As for driving, you will need a CNH (Carteira Nacional de Habilitao), which is the Brazilian drivers licence. If you have a license from the United States, European Union, Australia or South Africa, you can exchange it without having to take a driving test. In order to do this, you need to find an official translator, submit your license to them and wait for it to be returned. If you dont have a license from these regions, you need to contact DETRAN (Departamento Estadual de Trnsito) and go through the process of acquiring your license, which includes a psychological test, classes and a test in driving theory, and practical classes with a final practical test.

Of course, other documents might come handy, but with the ones listed above you should have no problem living in Brazil. We will cover in more detail how to get the aforementioned documents in other articles. As for your stay in Brazil, we hope you enjoy it!

One thought on “Personal Documents in Brazil: The Basics

  1. Have been attempting to secure a Permanent VIPER Retirement Visa for Brazil for the past 2 months and keep running into NEW procedures that I must do each time I complete a task. Is there a “streamline” way to do this? I cannot keep flying back to the US to do one task at a time?? Please advise.

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